Biomedical and public health approaches to health and wellbeing are crucial, useful, and impactful. However, at times, it is essential to look at factors to do with human behaviour, with communities, and with culture, in order to make sure we do all that we can to contribute to positive health outcomes. Cancer is about more than cell division; it is something that happens to a person, to a family, and within a specific culture. Likewise, how we behave as individuals, groups, and communities impacts on antimicrobial resistance, and our beliefs and value systems bleed, inevitably and irrevocably, into the mental health and wellbeing of everyone.
Some notice health and wellbeing only when we experience its absence. However, health is something that transcends hospital walls and policymaking. At the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health in Exeter, we have been working with the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe to develop the Behavioural and Cultural Insights Knowledge Hub, to highlight how we can bring to light the essential behavioural and cultural parts of our lives that positively or negatively impact health.
As part of this work, the Centre and WHO’s BCI group have developed a website around behavioural and cultural research, which we now intend to promote through an exhibition of artwork that reflects this topic. Artworks submitted to the exhibition will end up being displayed on the website, although the form in which this will take is dependent on the works chosen.
The WCCEH is calling for submissions by artists which explore the theme of how behaviour and culture impact upon health. We are calling for visual artists working in any 2D media (painting, print-making, illustration, drawing, photography). This can be artwork that was created alongside research through a process of information exchange, or artwork that speaks to this theme. The selected artworks will be exhibited at the ‘Behaviour, Culture and Health’ exhibition, taking place across multiple localities in 2023. This could include a travelling exhibition to UN City in Copenhagen, where the WHO Regional Office for Europe is based.
Practitioners may specialise in any of the above specified artforms, and may choose to explore the topics in any way they see suitable, as long as it is relevant to the centre’s vision, and to the research being carried out within the field of behavioural and cultural insights. We ask artists to pitch their suggestions (which can be new pitches/ideas or already-created artworks) within one of the below themes:
We encourage submission of a series of artworks within the same collection, but would also be interested in works that share cross-cutting themes across several of these categories.
The exhibition will take place in May 2023, with a series of artworks to be displayed in line with the themes described above.
The exhibition will initially be displayed at Exeter University, and will then tour different universities in the UK, and may be exhibited at UN City in Copenhagen.
Artists will be invited to take part in a one-off ‘conversation’ session held online, where they will be introduced to researchers in the field, and may be able to work together to explore how behaviour and culture contribute to health outcomes in one of the above themes, as well as explore future directions.
Interviews with the artists will take place, and transcripts will be displayed on the BCI Hub, along with other outlets.
For the submission of existing work, the budget for each artist is £1,500. For the creation of new work, the total budget for each artist is £2,500.
Roughly 5 focus areas from the above list will be displayed in the final exhibition, depending on the submissions we receive.
Artworks will be printed onto display boards, with explanatory text and credit/acknowledgement overlaid in the bottom corner(s).
If submitting artwork that has already been created, please submit images of up to 8 pieces of art within the series, and a description of up to 500 words explaining how the art could fit within a specific theme, and within a ‘Behavioural and cultural insights’ exhibition more broadly.
If proposing to create new art specifically for the project, please submit images of up to 8 works that show your practices, and a proposal of up to 500 words explaining the idea, and explaining how the art could fit within a specific theme and within a ‘Behavioural and cultural insights’ exhibition more broadly’.
The deadlines for submitting proposals is 28th February 2023.
The selection panel will consist of staff at the WCCEH and the WHO.
Artworks will be judged against the below selection criteria:
We are looking for artworks that demonstrate how behaviour and culture have an impact on one of the above themes/health areas, or how attention to behavioural and cultural elements can illuminate how we approach, conceptualise, and address these health areas. Artwork, and artwork descriptions, must reflect this.
Rich ideas and creative potential for artists to get their teeth into, moving beyond an expectation of artistic contribution as purely a communication tool.
Work must be 2D so that it can be printed onto display boards, for portability.
Artists will be invited to travel to the exhibition launch (this will include interviews with artists) in Exeter in Spring 2023. Funding for travel within the UK will be provided.
Deadline for submissions –28th February 2023
Selected artists announced – 31st March 2023
Deadline for all work (new and existing) – 30th April 2023