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Research – art and creative practice

See also Compassionate, Creative, Co-productive Community Hubs: pilot project in research – communities



Creative Practitioners in Schools: Pembrokeshire School, Lord of the Flies (2016)

This Lottery-funded action-research project was undertaken with a class of GCSE Set D pupils in Pembrokeshire. After a classroom-based discussion of personal barriers to learning, pupils were taken out of the classroom to study their set text ‘Lord of the Flies’ in the local woods. Through immersive experiences which related directly to the text, they co-produced their learning, overcame many of the barriers to learning that had been holding them back, and co-created a creative ‘revision path’ that fellow pupils (Set A) were invited to engage with.

Outcomes include better relationships with staff and peers, increased confidence among the pupils involved, increased learning and examination results that in a majority of cases exceeded both staff and pupils’ expectations. A year later the benefits of the project continue to be felt.

Keywords: barriers to learning, immersive experience, co-creation, action research

Video report

Arts4Wellbeing website:

Contributed by: Mike Hotson, Sara Wentworth – Arts4Wellbeing Innovation CIC



The Creative LifePath (ongoing)

The LifePath programme is a co-learning, co-production model of immersive creative learning. We work with a range of people – grandparents with caring responsibilities, the long-term unemployed, people on probation or with mental health problems – with the intention of re-motivating and re-engaging them in their lives and their own creativity.

Many participants are socially isolated when they join the programme so there is also a focus on building networks within and beyond the group. The creative co-production and increasing confidence within the groups led to participants becoming Creative Buddies, offering support to more vulnerable people. Individuals are given the opportunity to participate in a peer-mentoring course which further develops their inter-personal skills and sense of self-worth.

Keywords: co-learning, co-creation, immersive experience

Video report

Related projects: Examples of creativity co-production workshops in communities, Hywel Dda University Health Board Annual Report 2014/15

Arts4Wellbeing website:

Contributed by: Mike Hotson, Sara Wentworth – Arts4Wellbeing Innovation CIC




Productive Margins: Regulating for Engagement (April 2013 – July 2018)

Productive Margins: Regulating for Engagement was a five-year co-produced research programme involving community organisations and social enterprises in Bristol and South Wales and academics from the University of Bristol and Cardiff University. It was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

The title and its ways of working embodied an understanding that people and communities excluded from participation in the regulatory regimes that impact upon their daily lives have expertise, experience and creativity that can be politically productive. It was a programme that sought to co-produce research projects that mattered to the community partners that participated.

The seven projects were diverse and emerged from a research forum which allowed projects to emerge slowly through the discussion of current concerns about the regulatory processes that create forms of social and economic marginalisation. Many of the projects also involved artists in the design process, in the generation of research data and in the dissemination of findings.

Co-production was at the heart of the process with funding available to facilitate the participation of community organisations in the research process at programme and project levels.

A book about the project will be published later this year (2019).

Keywords: regulation, co-production, activism, arts informed research, marginality

Outputs include:

  • Life Chances – a novel written by families in poverty living in south Riverside in Cardiff and the Single Parent Action network
  • young people’s activism in Merthyr Tydfil (which also directly influenced inclusion of statutory healthy relationship education in the curriculum – as well and influencing the design of teaching materials)
  • a series of monologues (written and performed by older people) on loneliness and isolation and older people (to engage with publics and health and social care staff)
  • an arts exhibition hosted by the Senedd for two weeks on the nature and hidden value of community anchor organisations.


Contributed by:

Morag McDermont, Angela Piccini, Tim Cole – Bristol University; Eva Elliott, Martin Innes, Emma Renold – Cardiff University; Gabrielle Invinson – Manchester Metropolitan University; Sue Cohen.




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