Arts projects can be used in conjunction with other methods and formats, and can be really good to elicit input when engaging with people who are reluctant or unable to express themselves verbally.
Storytelling via poetry, theatre, film and music can effectively capture people’s personal experiences and, as a result, influence change in a fun and imaginative way.
In a discussion group present an open question to your participants, for example ‘what would improve inpatient mental health care?’ Create an outline of a tree trunk and branches on a large sheet of paper and display it on the wall next to the open question. Cut leaf shapes out of green card or paper and ask participants to write their ideas or wishes onto the ‘leaves’ with flipchart pens and then attach these to the ‘tree’. This technique can be used to help participants to think about the most important point they have or to prioritise ideas at the end of a focus group. A wishing tree can also be used to stimulate ideas early on in a process.
Be Creative and use your imagination, discussions can take place in a variety of venues and feedback recorded in a wide variety of ways. For example when talking about the barriers to a problem you could give participants paper cut outs of ‘bricks’ and get them to blue tack them onto a wall to create a visual aid.
Think about what would make your discussions interactive and engaging, taking part should be meaningful, informative and most of all fun.