20 Oct 2021 Case Study: Exploring our Relationship with Food through Art
This case study forms part of the social movement lever of the Healthier Place, Healthier Future project. In May 2021, Food Active worked with the Civic Arts Centre and Theatre in Oswaldtwistle, (Hyndburn) to develop a creative project shaped and driven by young people – the project is called #HyndburnGetsHangry.
How did the #GetsHangry campaigns start?
#DarwenGetsHangry began as a youth-led campaign responding to the issues of food poverty in the surrounding area, supported by Food Power. Food Power aims to strengthen the ability of local communities to reduce food poverty, through solutions developed in partnership and with the support of peers from across the UK. Their support helped the group to contribute towards the Children’s Future Food Inquiry, along with numerous other local and national activities, and the End Hunger UK conference in Westminster.
The aim of the #HyndburnGetsHangry project was to develop a campaign similar in spirit and empowerment to #DarwenGetsHangry. The project ran for over four weeks in May 2021. The result of this was a four-week creative project in partnership with the Civic Arts Centre and Theatre, Social Sense, and the Healthier Place, Healthier Future project. The thematic focus for the project looked at healthy eating and exploring our relationship to food in an artistic way. The group of young people were able to achieve their Bronze Arts Award through this project. The rationale behind this project was to test the effectiveness of public sector and creative institutional partnerships to engage and empower children and young people.
Learning about food through creative experimentation
#HyndburnGetsHangry utilised creative methods of engaging children and young people in the food agenda, built confidence in research and design skills, and offered the space for new friendships. The overall aim of the project was to support young people in their knowledge of ‘food for health’ and develop an artwork that represents this. The project included a final evaluation via an online survey to gain insight on key learnings from the group.
The #HyndburnGetsHangry project supports the overall ‘whole systems approach’ used in HPHF. The collaborative process of working across the different third sector and arts organisations highlighted how multi-stakeholder partnerships allowed for a rich programme of delivery and the opportunity to learn key skills for the participants.
The #HyndburnGetsHangry project will be documented in the form of a toolkit. This toolkit will capture the learning from the campaigns which can be utilised by partners across Pennine Lancashire and beyond. It is hoped that this will inspire and inform further #GetsHangry campaigns and be relevant for LA’s outside of the Pennine Lancashire area and other stakeholders.
Supporting a whole systems approach
The #GetsHangry project is a key output of the social movement strand of the HPHF programme, also known as ‘The Great Big Junk Food Debate’. The aim of the social movement is to utilise and support community action and engagement to improve the food environment in Pennine Lancashire and beyond. The movement hopes to give residents a voice and the opportunity to support change. The Great Big Junk Food Debate includes a broad range of interventions, campaigns, actions, and acts as an umbrella to encompass the fantastic existing work currently going on across Pennine Lancashire and the new workstreams borne out of the trailblazer. Further, the project touched upon other ‘levers’ of HPHF, discussing the availability of healthy options in supermarkets or takeaways (businesses).
Achieving the arts award – personal and professional development
HPHF instigated the partnerships involved in the #HyndburnGetsHangry project through existing knowledge of the Civic Arts Centre and Theatre from the ‘Discovery Phase’ of the HPHF project. Civic Arts Centre and Theatre set up the sessions through an ‘open call’ that was sent to parents and children who already attend other sessions at the theatre. Civic Arts Centre and Theatre – The Civic Arts Centre and Theatre in Oswaldtwistle, situated in the heart of Hyndburn, is a centre for all forms of arts including dance, drama, music, musical theatre, singing, crafts, photography and much more. The Arts Award is a range of unique qualifications that supports anyone aged up to 25 to grow as artists and arts leaders, inspiring them to connect with and take part in the wider arts world through taking challenges in an art form – from fashion to digital art, pottery to poetry.
The Bronze Arts Award is the first of 3 award levels and is followed by silver and gold. To achieve a Bronze Arts Award, young people collect evidence in an individual arts log or portfolio of their experiences of:
- developing their interests, knowledge and skills through actively participating in any art form;
- experience of at least one arts event/experience as an audience member and their review of that event/experience;
- researching the career and work of an artist or craftsperson that inspires them;
- experience of passing on an art skill.
What were the key outputs?
- Delivery of a four-week creative project with a group of seven young people.
- Achievement of the Bronze Arts Award by each individual in the group.
- A mural that used inspiration from famous artists to fuel the fruity design which has now been placed on the exterior walls of the Hippings Vale Community Centre
- Increased reported awareness of healthy eating and concerns over levels of people living with obesity within the evaluation (taken from an online survey).
- Reported enjoyment of researching artists, learning new things, and meeting new people.
- Increased awareness of the need to support the environment by reducing food waste.
- A toolkit developed on key learnings from the #GetsHangry campaigns and recommendations for local authorities who wish to create similar campaigns.
- Local media coverage of the project in Lancs Live and Lancashire Telegraph.
How will we continue the project?
- Sustainability: we aim to create a ‘Pennine Lancashire’ group for the #GetsHangry project, bringing the different working groups together to discuss next steps.
- Continue communications about the project – e.g., through social media, podcasts, developing a toolkit, blog posts, asking group participants to speak at national events.
Things that worked well:
- The group highlighted that they had learnt about the rising levels of children living with obesity in the UK, were able to experiment and taste new fruit and vegetables, and the importance of the environment in supporting healthy diets.
- This project highlights how public health and creative organisations can create engaging and meaningful projects, this could also work in a social prescribing setting.
- Allowing the local organisation and the group to direct the project meant that the project was enabled by the group themselves. Further, the size and placement of the mural will provide a legacy for the HPHF project and for those involved in its creation.
- Working on the project with a wider footprint may have allowed for a more diverse range of voices, however, travel time and cost may provide an issue for younger people.
- Stakeholders reflected that it was interesting to see young people talk and explore issues around food. The creative approach allowed the young people to be more open and expressive, rather than if they were simply asked about their relationship with food.