This project brings together an exciting team of artists, public engagement practitioners, researchers and community partners. We are working together to design and make a sculpture. We aim to facilitate public engagement in the Better Start Bradford Project.
Better Start Bradford is a 10 year project which will implement 22 services in 3 Bradford wards. The aim is to improve young children’s health; social and emotional well-being; communication; and diet. Community engagement is central to the project.
We were awarded funds from the University of Leeds ‘Inspiring the Public about Biomedical Research’ small grant scheme. The funding has allowed us to get together a cross-disciplinary team and discuss the sculpture idea with members of the Bradford community. We have gained valuable feedback regarding the location and look of the sculpture. We were also able to pilot some arts based activities with our target age group. This includes making hand and foot casts; collecting children’s’ drawings and emergent hand writing; and creating a large hand printed mural.
Artist Deborah Gardner has created small scale, pilot versions of the sculpture. We are currently writing a funding application for stage 2 of the project – making and sighting the permanent sculpture!
Through this project, I’ve seen how making and viewing sculpture can act as a starting point for conversations about health. I was particularly struck by how well this worked with some of the very young children involved.
I’m working closely with Bradford Trident, Maria Bryant and Deborah Gardner. It’s the first time I’ve ever been involved in a sculpture project and I’m learning lots from working in a new area. It’s also great to be able to share my experience of community theatre work with an artist from a different field.