The Hangleton and Knoll Project (HKP) and the University of Brighton formed a partnership and used a novel methodology to train local people as participatory researchers who went on to co-produce a study on the arts and wellbeing in an area with high deprivation.
The project identified arts and culture interests and needs for the Hangleton and Knoll area. The trained participatory researchers discovered that the arts are highly valued locally but there is a perception that low status activities, such as crafts, dominate. A key finding from the research was that local people would like to have a centre for the arts locally – in part, because it is prohibitively expensive to go into the centre of the city and because of the importance of art activities for improving wellbeing. This research has created impacts as key stakeholders are now seeking to increase community involvement in the arts in deprived communities and its role in supporting a range of health issues. In addition, the partnership research has initiated a conversation between the community partner and a housing developer about the potential for a dedicated arts space locally. The community partner described the combination of academic support and research carried out by local people as ‘gold dust’ in terms of convincing key stakeholders in the city to act on the findings.