Exploring Informal Medicine in India
Trick or Treat was pitched as a project that would look at informal medicine in India, and represent it through relatable, sometimes quirky formats to showcase its plurality and diversity to young, urban audiences.
The project was conceptualised for Wellcome Trust as part of their ‘Public Engagement Fund’, which offers support to initiatives that relooked the way health and biomedical research could engage with urban audiences in order to make it more people-centred and relatable.
The project started with a phase of research that explored different cases of informal medicine across the country in an attempt to develop a deeper understanding of the subject of informal healthcare as it stood in different geographies and contexts. This phase led to the realisation of the actual vastness and incredible richness of the healthcare landscape in India, as well as the exclusion of many practitioners who were deemed illegitimate by authorities.
The findings from research were showcased through the modes of seminars, performances, comics, and art installations, each of which were taken to different geographies and platforms. Seminars brought together experts in different schools of medicine to deliberate the future of healthcare and the role of informal medical practice in this ecosystem, while performances leveraged entertainment-based spaces as a form of engagement. The comics and art installations were more visual-based outputs, and took an imaginative approach to acquainting audiences with the research that was undertaken.
The project helped start conversations around the subject of healthcare and what it means to different people in India with new audiences. Its various activities brought about awareness of lesser known forms of medical treatment from across the country.