142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Data Murals - using art to build community engagement, increase data literacy and increase public conversation about local health concerns

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 : 1:10 PM - 1:30 PM

Emily Bhargava, MA , Connection Lab, LLC, Somerville, MA
Rahul Bhargava, MSc , The Media Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Civic Media, Cambridge, MA
Ethan Zuckerman , MIT Media Lab, MIT Center for Civic Media, Cambridge, MA
Increasingly, decisions about community health are data-driven and evidence-based.  While this can increase the impact and efficacy of interventions, it leaves many community members out of conversations and out of the decision-making process.  Data murals use collaborative art to bring conversations about local health back into the public sphere and prepare community members without a background in data analysis to participate actively in the creation and public presentation of data-driven public health messaging.  

Five data murals have now been created, focusing on food security, global health, youth safety, and childhood obesity prevention. Each mural was designed through a three-part process. First, community residents of all ages came together for a “story-finding” workshop in which they looked together at information collected by their own community or organization and found a story that they thought was important to tell publicly.  They then participated in hands-on collaborative art activities to design a mural that tells their story.  Last, they painted the design as a public mural, inviting even more community residents to participate, to continue the conversation and reach a large audience with their message.  

By using non-academic language, a hands-on, playful approach to data analysis and a collaborative design process, community members are able to participate actively in the translation of data into public health messaging.  The process of collaborative data analysis, design and painting increases community engagement, establishes new partnerships, increases public awareness of the issues being discussed by decision-makers, and builds capacity for community engagement in health policy decisions.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Communication and informatics
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Discuss an innovative model for using art to build community capacity Define elements of a successful community-academic partnership Identify components of a collaborative art activity that can be applied to a variety of health and development topics

Keyword(s): Health Promotion and Education, Community Health Planning

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As the Director of Connection Lab LLC I am one of the developers of the Data Mural process and have facilitated the creation of each of the existing data murals.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.