Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods
Sefydliad Ymchwil Gymdeithasol ac Economaidd, Data a Dulliau Cymru

Navigation :: Home> Research> WISERD Social Care, Health & Wellbeing> Current Projects> Representing Communities: Developing the creative power of people to improve health and wellbeing

Representing Communities: Developing the creative power of people to improve health and wellbeing

Funder: AHRC

Funding: £1.5 million

Start Date: 1st July 2013

End Date: 31st March 2017

Research Team

Professor Gareth Williams, Cardiff University (Principal Investigator)
Dr Eva Elliott, Cardiff University
Dr Pete Seaman, Glasgow Centre for Population Health
Dr Qulsom Fazil, Birmingham University
Dr Clare Barker, University of Leeds
Dr Roiyah Saltus, University of South Glamorgan
Dr Issie MacPhail, University of the Highlands and Islands
Dr Joanna Skelt, Birmingham University
Dr Ellie Byrne, Cardiff University
Dr Claire Mckechnie-Mason, Glasgow Centre for Population Health


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

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?).

There are 5 case study areas

Representing North Merthyr

  • Explore existing cultural representations of the community and neighbourhoods
  • Engage three generations of residents living in North Merthyr
  • Challenge negative images of the area through digital media projects

Representing Dennistoun

  • Explore through creative practices multiple perspectives on the recent transformations in the area
  • Discover and record different narratives of place and community history in the area
  • Inform action to improve health and wellbeing and to inform regeneration activity

Representing Butetown, Cardiff:  The Caribbean Elders Project

  • Capturing the histories & experiences of Caribbean elders in Cardiff
  • Using creative arts practices to co-produce multiple representations of Butetown that are of value to the local people.
  • Exploring the dynamics of migration and ageing as linked to place, racialisation, and wellbeing
  • Informing policy in order to promote health and wellbeing

Representing Hodge Hill (Birmingham)

  • Explore the relationship between ethnicity, health and well-being in a multicultural inner-city area
  • Collect the stories of local residents and health providers as the basis for a creative output
  • (Re)present the Pakistani community’s multiple ways of living in contemporary, multicultural Birmingham

Representing Cromarty

  • What words best describe life in Cromarty?
  • If you had to choose a picture; a tune; a photo; a poem; a song and a story that says ‘Cromarty’ for you – what would they be?
  • Hard times; sad times; mad times; good times; bad times; party times; times of loss and times of joy; times of health and times of illness…. every life is a strange patchwork of these things…
  • How has life in Cromarty helped and hindered you in achieving good times and good health or in coping with the very opposite?

Further information

For further information please visit the CISHEW website or contact Mel Evans (




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