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Students create innovative arts and health interventions

Posted on 27/07/2017

The winners of the first ever King's Arts and Health Cultural Challenge have been selected from a host of creative and ambitious healthcare interventions submitted by students from across the university. 

KCL Arts Health Hack-136Pavandeep Kaur and Mandeep Singh, from the Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine at King's, impressed the panel of judges with innovative proposals that were grounded in the real-world challenges each have witnessed in their respective fields. In recognition of their proposals, Mandeep and Pavandeep have been offered paid internships with Challenge partners, Science Gallery London and Breathe Arts Health Research.

All applicants were responding to the following task: 
'Propose a new Arts in Health intervention within your area of clinical practice. Outline how you would test your idea, its long-term potential and how you would measure its impact.'

Pavandeep Kaur’s proposal Meet the Dents!, outlined the creation of a dental health story telling app to encourage young children to brush their teeth twice a day. Beyond existing apps that use music or movement as motivation, Pavandeep considered that encouraging high levels of energy before a child's bed time might be problematic. Instead, Meet the Dents! Consists of a two-part story which is told as a child brushes their teeth for two minues, twice per day. The Dent family are faced with an obstacle or challenge in the morning (leaving the child on a cliff-hanger), with the resolution only able to be uncovered if the child brushes again in the evening. Alongside the idea itself, Pavandeep clearly laid out how the app could be trialled, tested and expanded.

Pavandeep explained how excited she is about working alongside the Science Gallery London team and is looking forward to further exploring the role of the arts in health and science while considering the wider context of the how creative interventions can improve medicine. She hopes that working in a new environment and developing different skills may allow her to become a better-rounded doctor in the future. 

KCL Arts Health Hack-144The second Arts and Health Cultural Challenge winner, Mandeep Singh’s project, Narrative Audits, proposed the creation of a series of short stories recounting real-life patient encounters by healthcare professionals, which would be located in waiting rooms throughout a healthcare trust. Available in the languages of minority groups, the presence of these stories aims to turn a currently underutilised and often mundane pocket of time into an opportunity to enhance clinical communication and doctor-patient rapport. Grounded in the reality that healthcare professionals rarely have the time to relate to patients in the ways that they desire or expect, this simple initiative could enhance communication and understanding on both sides.

Mandeep will be completing his internship with Breathe Arts Health Research later this year. Both Science Gallery London and Breathe Arts Health Research are organisations working to break down perceptions of disjunctions between science and the arts, and instead encourage productive cross-disciplinary opportunities and collaborations.

With all of the students that attended the inaugural King's Arts and Health Cultural Challenge showing a clear interest in and talent for creative thinking in the arts and health sphere, the university is making plans for further cross-disciplinary Challenges in the 2017-18 academic year and will stay in touch with the winners of this year's Challenge to find out about their experiences on the internships.

Further Information about Arts & Health at King’s.

King's research informs major All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Arts, Health and Wellbeing.

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