Being Me with IBD: It’s pants to talk about poo

In this blog, we reflect on how we worked with illustrators to run a creative and interactive Being Me with IBD engagement activity at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

Alder Hey Children’s Hospital has been an active partner in the Being Me with IBD study and with a large and busy atrium space it made the perfect venue for an activity to engage children, young people, parents and professionals in talking about Inflammatory Bowel Disease and friendships. Our one-day pop-up exhibit had the dual aims of engaging the public in conversations about IBD while also talking about how chronic conditions may impact on friendships.

What did we do?

Good friend activity

We had a display with lots of IBD materials and resources. We also used a paper-based activity to encourage people to think and tell us about what they thought made a good friend and how they might support a friend who was poorly. All these ideas were pegged to form a ‘washing-line’ of friendship ideas. The Being Me with IBD team were on hand to talk with young people, parents and health professionals about the study, our early findings and our plans for disseminating our work.

Getting visual and working with illustrators

Poorly friend activity

We worked alongside James and Rowan –  amazing illustrators from www.mistermunro.co.uk/ – who started the day by creating sketches on large pieces of paper that summarised key points from our research findings and then created drawings inspired by the activities and discussion with children, young people, parents and health professionals. The end result was a fantastic combination of pictures and text that summed up people’s ideas in a very clear and engaging way. Some of the children and young people ‘posed’ for the illustrators and their outline image was captured alongside their words and thoughts, much to their own and their parent’s delight.

What were the benefits of the approach?

We wanted something visually stimulating and enticing in the busy atrium to encourage people to stop, look and talk to us on their way to meetings and appointments. We were impressed by the number of people who stopped to look at what we were creating and who then shared their views, opinions and experiences.

How has this impacted on the study?

Visual notes

The engagement activity allowed us to talk to children, young people, their parents, and health professionals about our study and our early findings. It also allowed us to raise awareness of IBD as a hidden and poorly understood long-term condition. What’s more, talking through our data with the illustrators before the event gave us, as a group of researchers, time to explore our thoughts about the initial findings in a very different way to our usual more text and word-based approaches.

The activities and responses from people during the day also set in motion ideas for an animation for which focuses on young people, IBD and friendships – but more on that later.

Thanks for your interest in our study

The Being Me with IBD Study Team

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