Creative insights:

Developing a participatory approach for exploring young people’s perspectives on health inequalities

The social and structural causes of inequalities in population health are well established in population health research. Qualitative findings around UK public understandings of health inequalities suggest complexity and contradictions in citizens’ narratives on the causes and consequences of these unfair differences. Public engagement with discourse on the social determinants of health is cited as a precursor to effective policy action. Young people’s perspectives on health inequalities are less researched, and their perspectives on potential policies to address health inequalities are not well understood.

Creative Insights brings together researchers with young people and creative organisations Impact Arts in Glasgow and Leeds Playhouse and Opera North in Leeds. Glasgow and Leeds are both major centres of population in the UK where reducing health inequalities has been identified by local governments and health boards as a priority. Initially a site-based project, hosted through a series of creative workshops, Covid-19 social distancing measures led to the development of a wholly online project.

Across six, 4-day workshops, a total of 39 young artists engaged with evidence, discussed ideas and responded creatively to potential policy solutions for health inequalities, pursuing those issues which they prioritised as most important and most relevant to their lives, communities and peers. In-depth and thoughtful discussions informed the production of a range of visual and performance art pieces. Analysis is ongoing.

The project is supported by Economic and Social Research Council and the Arts and Humanities Research Council [ES/S001913/1].