Engaging with diverse audiences to raise awareness about childhood eczema: reflections from two community events
Anna Gilbertson, Matthew J. Ridd, Eileen Sutton, Lyn Liddiard, Julie Clayton, Amanda Roberts, Jonathan Chan, Alisha Bhanot, Rosie Wellesley & Shoba Dawson
Background: Eczema is a common childhood condition, causing dry and itchy skin which can be difficult to manage. We have been undertaking eczema and food allergy research to address previously prioritised research questions. We obtained funding to trial novel approaches to reach diverse audiences to raise awareness of childhood eczema, research, and public involvement in research. Methods: This paper reflects on two public engagement events held in collaboration with stakeholders in two settings of ethnic diversity in East Bristol, UK. We invited parents and children to attend the events by public display of posters. We created novel activities related to the research and involved artists to engage parents/carers and children about eczema and the research we are doing into its management. Results: Attendance at the first event was lower than expected. Lessons learned were incorporated into the second event, to use a more structured approach and attract greater numbers of parents/carers from more diverse backgrounds. Creative approaches such as using artists at both events made the subject more accessible for diverse audiences, including children. Conclusion: We successfully delivered two public engagement events. The success of the events has generated individual interest in PPI and enquiries about future events from neighbouring community groups. Reflections from the events have also been fed back to inform the research.