Project Details


NIHR Programme Development Grant application to develop innovative, inclusive and diverse public partnerships in research.

Plain English Summary:

Project aim – To make time and space, for researchers and learning disabilities/autism communities to learn together creating equal partnerships to develop future research whilst working in an enjoyable way.

We have involved the public from the beginning with a workshop with the Hertfordshire University Public Involvement in Research group (PIRg).

We discussed:
1) who were underserved by health research and services?
2) Ideas about how we could work in new ways to encourage people to want to be involved.

From the workshop came the idea of working with people with learning disabilities/autism as an underserved group as many of those present had links.
Creative arts approach is an innovative way to engage with the public, making research more accessible and enjoyable. Breaking down barriers between universities/researchers and the public to include more diverse, previously underserved populations, proving anyone can help designing and carrying out research in partnerships with universities.

Using arts can explore important questions or barriers to health and social care. Arts includes painting/drawing, music, dance, poetry, writing, drama, growing plants, photography, video and much more. Learning continuously what works and what does not whilst creating partnerships. We will use “you said, we did”, finding out how to make changes to benefit all partners in health and social care.

We have talked to staff at two Mencap organisations and held a workshop with Barnet Mencap members with learning disabilities/autism. They helped co-design this project.
The project team will find and read literature about using creative methods in health and social care with people with learning disabilities/autism. We will talk about what we find in an accessible way with the Mencap groups, so we learn together.

We will hold workshops at the Mencap organisations, that focus on:
A) ‘Getting to know you’ sessions where we join in with existing activities – followed by workshops to grow ideas.
B) Sharing ideas, bringing the two groups and others interested in learning disabilities services together. Show and perform art.
C) ‘How did it all work’ sessions led by Mencap members to discuss what next to improve future partnership working. What would they like to research with us?
D) Start to design future research producing logic models. A logic model is a way of showing what is needed to create a desired outcome. We will be testing the idea of growing things to uncomplicate logic models for this community and hopefully others too.

We will share our learning and create a plan for working together as equal partners in future research.
Effective start/end date1/06/2331/08/24


  • PPI
  • learning disabilities
  • autism
  • public engagement


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