New art installation at Bristol Uni marks global fight to defeat meningitis

27 Sep 2021
New art installation at Bristol Uni marks global fight to defeat meningitis
A new mural, by Bristol artist Cai Burton, has been installed at the University of Bristol’s Cantock Steps this weekend to mark the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Roadmap to Defeat Meningitis, which will be officially launched September 28th. Commissioned by Bristol-based charity Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF), the 12-metre mural is located near the Biomedical Sciences building in recognition of the research conducted at the university towards defeating meningitis.

“I was very proud to create this mural, which aims to motivate and inspire the public to join the fight against meningitis,” said artist Cai Burton. “It’s amazing to think that it will be viewed by influential leaders and policy makers from around the world at the Global Roadmap launch this Tuesday – as well as thousands of university students over the coming months.”

The WHO Global Roadmap to Defeat Meningitis is a world-first initiative. Despite great progress against meningitis in the UK, the disease continues to be a major public health issue globally. It is estimated to kill about 250,000 people annually, and leaves 1 in 5 of those affected with life-long after effects such as limb loss or deafness. WHO Director-General Dr Tedros will officially launch the global roadmap, which sets forth a vision and strategy to defeat meningitis by 2030, on September 28th.

The colourful mural, which was painted at Bricks Bristol before being moved to the University, depicts motifs that represent factors involved in defeating meningitis – such as vaccines, diagnostic testing, and partnership.

“Bristol is an ambitious, global city, so what better place to mark the ambitious global fight against meningitis? Several Professors at the University have contributed significantly to meningitis research over the years,” said Rob Dawson, Director of Communications, Advocacy & Support at MRF – the Bristol-based charity which commissioned the mural.

“We’ve worked with families impacted by meningitis in Bristol and beyond for many years, so we’re confident that the city of Bristol is just as determined to defeat meningitis as we are. Cai has done a fantastic job of expressing the hope and determination of the Global Roadmap to Defeat Meningitis.”

The mural will remain at the bottom of Cantocks Steps indefinitely, situated between the Biomedical Sciences building, the Faculty of Engineering, and the School of Chemistry. The location was chosen to honour the University’s significant contribution to the fight against meningitis.

Jo Elsworth, Director of Cultural Collections at the University of Bristol, said: “The installation of this mural represents a celebration of the work that has been achieved by Bristol University staff and students. We’re proud to host this here, and whole-heartedly support the WHO Global Roadmap to Defeat Meningitis.”

Professor Judith Squires, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost at the University of Bristol, said: “The University of Bristol has made a profound contribution to the fight against meningitis. We are delighted to host Cai Burton’s piece at the university, and hope that it inspires many others to join the fight against this deadly disease.”

With thanks to:
- Cai Burton, artist and illustrator 
- The staff of the University of Bristol, particularly Jo Elsworth, Martha Crean, Andrew Pearce and Alan Stealey, for hosting the piece
- Jo Kimber and Jack Gibbon at Bricks for providing studio space
If you have a question or concern about meningitis, contact our support helpline

The MRF Membership and Support team are here for you for any questions you might have about meningitis and septicaemia and their effects on you or your family and friends.

You don’t need to face meningitis and sepsis alone
MRF Chief Executive Vinny Smith explains how we're going to defeat meningitis by 2030.
Media contact
Elaine Devine - Director of Advocacy, Communications & Support
Tel: 0333 405 6248