Breastfeeding Art Expo
Local artists are working with community members from diverse backgrounds to share their experiences and perceptions of breastfeeding. Through a public exhibition, the Breastfeeding Art Expo aims to use artistic expression to encourage new policies and cultural understanding of the health, economic, social and environmental benefits associated with breastfeeding.
Central Okanagan Foundation, Province of BC, BC Arts Council, the Hamber Foundation, First Nations Health Authority, Interior Health
Despite the important health impacts that breastfeeding offers, there are social and historical barriers that get in the way of more widespread practice. Art provides a dynamic format for encouraging social change by elevating the importance of breastfeeding in a new and interactive way.
The Breastfeeding Art Expo aims to increase dialogue on healthy child development through a range of artistic activities in BC communities. With the support of 15 local artists and a broad-based group of community organizations in the Okanagan, work will be created – from dance to film to traditional Aboriginal art – to highlight the vital role that breastfeeding plays in overall child health.
Creating the space to discuss healthy child development
Art can help identify and break down norms and practices that have adverse impacts of the health of communities, empowering participants and raising consciousness.
The inspiration and form of the Breastfeeding Art Expo is driven by the collaboration between community members and artists
Many benefits of breastfeeding are backed by scientific evidence, yet not enough public education is offered to ensure that it is widely embraced. This project specifically links community organizations that serve diverse populations with artists, health practitioners and education institutions to increase community-wide support for breastfeeding.
The project is based on an evidence-based model of art as a means to support health outcomes and change social norms. Concrete outcomes are outlined in the project's logic model including reducing food insecurity among infants, supporting policy implementation in the region, and encouraging new ways of thinking about health through art.
Sharing breastfeeding benefits across the region and beyond
The inspiration and form of the Breastfeeding Art Expo is driven by the collaboration between community members and artists. Knowledge sharing is a major focus of the project, and several resources are being developed alongside the art works. An art catalogue, teacher’s guide, and other materials will be produced and shared widely online, in print, and via the Expo itself during a tour of five locations across the Interior Health region.
Success will be measured through ongoing evaluation with artists, partners and participants throughout the project. An overall assessment will be performed at the end of the Expo on long-term outcomes. Learning from this project will contribute to the international body of evidence-based research on the role of art in improving the health of a vulnerable population.