'Got it?' A Health Literacy Collaboration 

Got It? A Health Literacy Collaborative Arts Project

A collaboration with artist Rowena Keaveny, who both believe that a picture combined with readable type may counteract information overload to allow focus on healthcare narratives. They aimed to test this

hypothesis by asking 'What is the best way to clearly communicate necessary healthcare information?’. The common response emerged, ‘Too much information crammed into leaflets and not everyone can read the font.’ Even for the most capable person, health information can be particularly difficult to understand and act upon. Julie and Rowena collectively activated a space for critical thinking with older people about challenges for everyday living within the context of health information.

The artists consulted with interested parties and advocates for older people in the community, Age Action, Age NI and Age and Opportunity, Offaly Public Participation Network and Offaly Older Persons Forum. Attended Age Friendly Strategy Offaly, the Healthy Offaly Strategic Plan County launch and Community Foundation for Ireland Network Meets. Participants, staff and group leaders came from Birr Active Retirement Group, the Irish Wheelchair Association, Active Age Groups - Ballinagar, Ballycumber,

Birr and Crinkle, Riada House Residential & Day Care, Clara Day Care and Birr Mental Health Group.

In consultation with older peoples groups, networks and agencies, they responded to repeated concerns about how health information is communicated badly to elderly people within health systems and care facilities. The artists facilitated advocacy for older people with creative workshops, by deep listening with artistic exchanges, without defined art outcomes.There were presentations, networking events and a collective conversation as an active practice for engagement, self expression, critical thinking, creative place making, personal narratives and a voice for older people.

The project culminated in a series of artworks informed by collaborative expression with participants during workshops and involved print making, stencilling, graffiti, portraits, painting, collage, the written word, reminiscence, music, dance and movement. The artwork and printed outcomes were exhibited at Áras an Chontae, Tullamore in October 2018 and working with Offaly and regional libraries will be on show during 2019. Reassembled walls of art collages that demonstrated collaborations, interactions and conversations, life size Music & Dance collective mark making templates, 50 postcard dialogues, Collaborative artistic imagery for 100 postcards packs of 10 with outcomes and project information and 5 A0 art posters.

The outcomes are disseminated in the Anam Beo Annual Report 2018 and the Midlands Arts and Culture Magazine, regional/local papers, regional radio, facebook, Midlands Art and Culture Magazine, Instagram, VAI, artsandhealth.ie, Regional Libraries, Packs of postcards for all involved and at exhibition sites. When we get older, our learning and memory may affect our ability to absorb content,

and therefore the way information is presented needs to accommodate the cognitive

and physical changes that often accompany the ageing process.

© 2018 Julie Spollen