Employing the arts for knowledge production and translation: Visualizing new possibilities for women speaking up about safety concerns in maternity.

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES

This project used animated film to translate research findings into accessible health information aimed at enabling women to speak up and secure professional help for serious safety concerns during pregnancy and after birth. We tested as proof of concept our use of the arts both as product (knowledge production) and process (enabling involvement).

BACKGROUND

Emergencies during pregnancy and birth, while unusual, can develop rapidly and unexpectedly, with catastrophic consequences. Women's tacit knowledge of changes in their condition is an important resource to aid early detection, but women can worry about the legitimacy of their concerns and struggle to get these taken seriously by staff.

DESIGN

Arts-based knowledge translation. A user group of women who had experienced complications in the perinatal period (n = 34) helped us develop and pilot test the animation. Obstetricians and midwives (15), clinical leads (3) and user group representatives (8) helped with the design and testing.

FINDINGS

The consultation process, script and storyboard enabled active interaction with the evidence, meaningful engagement with stakeholders and new understandings about securing help for perinatal complications. The method enabled us to address gender stereotypes and social norms about speaking up and embed a social script for women within the animation, to help structure their help seeking. While for some women, there was an emotional burden, the majority were glad to have been part of the animation's development and felt it had enabled their voices to be heard.

CONCLUSION

This project has demonstrated the benefits of arts-science collaborations for meaningful co-production and effective translation of research evidence.

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