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Representing Communities

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Representing Communities Representing Communities: Developing the Creative Power of People to Improve Health and Wellbeing

What? Explores how community representations produced through creative arts practices can be used as forms of evidence or knowledge to inform health-related policy and service development as well as social action.

Why? Official representations of places with poor health are partial, usually negative and top-down. Participatory Creative arts can provide a co-produced space to illuminate the everyday contexts through which people strive to maintain good health and wellbeing. They can also give a voice to those who have been silenced.

Where? North Merthyr, Wales (Post-industrial) Butetown, Cardiff, Wales (African-Caribbean Diaspora) Hodge Hill, Birmingham, England (Pakistani-Asian Diaspora) Dennistoun, Glasgow, Scotland (Inner-city) Cromarty, the Black Isle peninsula, Scotland (Deep rural).

The aim of this project is to establish how community representations produced through creative arts practices (e.g. story-telling, performance, visual art) can be used as forms of evidence to inform health-related policy and service development.

This study will develop methods for using creative art forms as a mode of communication and knowledge exchange. The project will take place across five distinct case-study communities in Wales, Scotland and England and connect these to relevant policy-makers, researchers and arts practitioners in each country.

This project will consider how perceptions and experiences of community health and well-being vary across time and changing circumstances, and how communities and the people living in them are represented in relation to key differences and divisions relating to gender, class, ethnicity and age.

The research will critically analyse existing representations (both artistic and ‘formal’) of each community, with a focus on the factors that influence health and well-being, in order to develop frameworks and methods for integrating these analyses into qualitative research and policy discourse.

We will be looking at how representations vary in their form and content, and we will also be looking at the fields of production (who created it?), the fields of reception (who is seeing it?) and the field of interpretation (how do people respond to it?).

The Project is funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Communities, Cultures, Health and Wellbeing Research Grant.

Funded by:  AHRC

Main contact:  Dr Claire McKechnie-Mason


Keywords: ClassCreative WritingCreativityHealthLiteraturePerceptionScotlandWelfare

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