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We are living in complex times where we are facing ethical dilemmas that relate to genetic screening. The statistics tell us that the average person is a carrier of at least one inherited genetic condition, yet many people are unaware of this. Associate Professor Dr Felicity Boardman undertook extensive interviews with families affected by the most common inherited genetic conditions including Cystic Fibrosis, Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Fragile X Syndrome, Thalassemia and Haemophilia. iDNAKnowing is an online interactive storytelling experience, which shares these real experiences and thoughts around genetic screening. These voices disrupt an otherwise sterile and orderly environment and put the player in the position of deciding how much they really want to know and what constitutes knowledge.

iDNAKnowing has been created by Artist Esther Appleyard-Fox with digital developers BRiGHTBLaCK.
Esther Appleyard-Fox says, “My arts practice encourages audiences to talk about difficult issues they might otherwise not feel comfortable discussing. In particular the ethical dilemmas of genetic screening. I’ve worked with Felicity before and this new collaboration with BRiGHTBLaCK has been a fantastic opportunity to bring together art, digital gaming and medical research to explore real people’s life experiences”.

Dr Felicity Boardman says, “This project brings science and arts together in an innovative and engaging way, encouraging us to reflect on the consequences of genomic medicine as it becomes part of NHS care. Through the stories of others, iDNAKnowing invites us to reflect on ourselves, and question how far we would be willing to delve into our own ‘genetic baggage’, whilst considering what this might mean for our future lives, identities, health, relationships as well as the societies in which we live.”

iDNAKnowing has been funded by Wellcome Trust and compliments a major new touring installation piece, I:DNA, created by STAMP and designed by Deborah Mingham at Entify. I:DNA will tour a variety of venues and science festivals over the next year, opening in Warwick at the British Science Festival. iDNAKnowing will enable audiences who cannot see the I:DNA installation to experience an equally powerful journey where ultimately they will need to decide how much the want to know. You can play the experience at www.iDNAKnowing.com and take part in the discussion #iDNAKnowing

Tour dates


13 Sept
British Science Festival
Unit 6, FarGo Village, Coventry

26-28 Oct
IF Oxford
The Sanctuary, Oxford OX4 1BN

1-7 Nov
Coventry Cathedral
Coventry CV1 5FB


18 Feb – 3 March
Millennium Point
Curzon St, Birmingham B4 7XG

Dates tbc
Wellcome Sanger Institute
Cambridge, CB10 1SA

July-Sept tbc
Leamington Spa Gallery
and Museum
CV32 4AA