Cultural animation in health research: An innovative methodology for patient and public involvement and engagement

Mihaela Kelemen*, Emma Surman, Lisa Dikomitis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
171 Downloads (Pure)


Background: A significant challenge in Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPIE) in health research is to include a wide range of opinions and experiences, including from those who repeatedly find themselves at the margins of society.

Objective: To contribute to the debate around PPIE by introducing a bottom-up methodology: cultural animation (CA). Cultural Animation is an arts-based methodology of knowledge co-production and community engagement which employs a variety of creative and participatory exercises to help build trusting relationships between diverse participants (expert and non-experts) and democratize the process of research.

Design: Three CA full-day workshops for the research project “A Picture of Health.”.

Participants: Each workshop was attended by 20-25 participants including 4 academics, 5 retired health professionals who volunteered in the local community and 15 community members. Participants ranged in age from 25 to 75 years, and 80% of the participants were women over the age of 60.

Results: The CA workshops unearthed a diversity of hidden assets, increased human connectivity, led to rethinking of and co-creating new health indicators and enabled participants to think of community health in a positive way and to consider what can be developed.

Discussion: Cultural animation encourages participants to imagine and create ideal pictures of health by experimenting with new ways of working together.

Conclusion: We conclude by highlighting the main advantages to PPIE as follows: CA provides a route to co-produce research agendas, empowers the public to engage actively with health professionals and make a positive contribution to their community.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)805-813
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Expectations
Issue number4
Early online date12 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2018


  • arts-based methodologies
  • collaborative research
  • cultural animation
  • empowerment
  • health research
  • participatory research
  • patient and public involvement and engagement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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