Representing Communities: Developing the creative power of people to improve health and well-being


Principal Investigator: Prof Gareth Williams
Co-investigators: Dr Eva Elliott, Cardiff University; Dr Clare Barker, University of Leeds; Dr Qulsom Fazil, Birmingham University; Dr Sarah-Anne Munoz, University of the Highlands and Islands; Dr Roiyah Saltus, University of South Wales; Dr Peter Seaman,Glasgow Centre for Population Health
Collaborators: 3 Gs Development Trust; Birmingham City Council; Butetown History of Arts; Cardiff Council; Centre for Regeneration Excellence Wales; Glasgow Life; NHS; Greater Glasgown and Clyde; NHS Highlands; National Theatre Wales
Duration: From 2013 to 2017

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. We 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, focusing 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?).