The art of Patient and Public Involvement: exploring ways to research and reduce air pollution through art-based community workshops – a reflective paper

Publication authors

Shahid Islam; Rukhsana Rashid; Maria Bryant; Holly Schofield; Rosemary R.C. McEachan


In this reflective paper we outline and discuss our art-based Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) approach.  This exercise held two broad objectives. Firstly, to assist policy makers in understanding the types of interventions communities will find acceptable to address the problem of poor air quality, and secondly, to ascertain community views about our research plans to explore the impact of the planned interventions on neighbourhoods.  We reflect on both our approach and the emergent conversations from the PPI activity.

Attendees contributed to the process and stressed the importance of not burdening poor neighbourhoods with costly charges as that would ameliorate one health problem but generate others as a consequence of additional financial burden.  Equally, they stressed the need to conduct research on matters which they could connect with such as the impact of clean air plans on young children and how information about air pollution is disseminated in their neighbourhoods as and when research findings emerge.

This paper offers a conceptual analysis of the art-based PPI method and uniquely draws a connection to the philosophical traditions of Ludwig Wittgenstein.  Specifically, we demonstrate how art is conducive to creating a dialogue which is specifically helpful for PPI purposes for both researchers and implementers, and conversely, why traditional conversational approaches may have fallen short of the adequacy mark in this regard.