PhD project title and outline, including interdisciplinary dimension:
Developing an art-based methodology to improve healthcare in pregnancy
This multidisciplinary project focuses on the development of a pioneering arts-based methodology based on a modified version of Augusto Boal’s model of educational theatre directed towards improving healthcare in pregnancy. The technique will involve scripted scenario performances, translations and discussions proved effective for engaging with hard-to-reach ethnic minority group populations such as the Roma. Our recent pilot study with Roma mothers uncovered attitudes to pregnancy, which reinforce health inequalities, and present significant challenges for improving the health of marginalized populations. This pilot underlined the importance of building trust through holistic approaches to working with hard-to-reach populations through the creative arts. Engaging with minority groups on healthcare issues is important for the well-being of any community. Existing health inequalities among Roma have recently been documented in relation to pregnancies due to low attendance at the ante-natal clinics, higher obesity rates which show a higher rate of low-birth weight, preterm birth and infant mortality. The Fellow will get an opportunity to engage with the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust Public Health team, particularly with Health Improvement, Community Development and Arts in Health team, which will facilitate the development of skills in a different professional context. In addition, student will be able to work collaboratively with the University of Belgrade and the Clinical Centre of Serbia. Serbia has the greatest proportion of Roma people outside of the European Union. The student will also be able to get exposure to various non-governmental organisations in Belfast and in Serbia and the work they do in community. Overall, through this interdisciplinary and international project, the student will be able to develop innovative forum theatre methodology which will then be validated as a health intervention in cohorts of Roma and other women in Belfast and Belgrade.
Primary supervisor: Dr Paul Murphy (Arts, English and Languages)
Dr Lana McClements (Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences)
Dr Lisa Smyth (Social Sciences, Education and Social Work)
External Partner/Organisation: Belfast Health and Social Care Trust (BHSCT)