Last week we ended our Bangladesh Victory Day Project with a celebration of 50 years of Bangladeshi independence. Our participating families put on an amazing shadow puppet performance. They used puppets they had designed themselves to share information about type 2 diabetes. They also incorporated a range of art techniques that they explored in our workshops.
It was a real pleasure to see their hard work during a challenging time of Covid restrictions and uncertainty come together in such a striking way!
Health messaging through art
We started the Bangladesh Victory Day Project back in October. It was a Birmingham City Council arts and health commission with the aim of raising awareness of type 2 diabetes. We worked specifically with the Bangladeshi community due to their higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes (Diabetes UK).
Our families had a lot of fun exploring ways of sharing health messages through art. We explored the different causes and warning signs for type 2 diabetes. Our participants came up with inventive ways to share this information with others, becoming active ambassadors of good health.
NHS 5 Steps to Wellbeing
Our workshops incorporated the NHS 5 steps to wellbeing (learn more about here). Participants:
- Connected with others through the working together on art activities
- Learnt new skills such as marbling and making shadow puppets
- Gave to others by complimenting each other’s work
- Practiced mindfulness through art activities
Wellbeing and community benefits
The effects on their confidence were amazing. We had girls who started the project saying they were “no good at art”. Over time they gained the confidence to take part in our final performance. Some even asked the school’s art teacher if they could go back and do their work experience in the art department!
Emma Lacken, the Specialist Art Teacher at Rookery School, noticed an increase in both skill and confidence among her art pupils. “One year 5 pupil in particular has made significant progress in Art over the last 10 week. He often remarks upon how much he has improved, showing great pride in his learning journey and enthusiasm for the subject,” she said.
Emma told us, “[Parents] have made lasting connections with others in the school community. I have also observed certain individuals really thrive and grow in confidence as they have been able to take ownership of the project and shape the outcomes. In short, it has empowered them.”
The project raised awareness of type 2 diabetes, but it also strengthened our participants’ sense wellbeing and community. Our participants will continue to share information about type 2 diabetes and healthy eating as Sugar Shielders. Many of them are excited to work with us again in upcoming arts and health projects!
We are excited both to have them back and to welcome new families in our upcoming projects. You can join our mailing list for information about getting involved.
Type 2 Diabetes resources
- Read the NHS’s 8 tips for healthy eating here: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/eight-tips-for-healthy-eating/
- Find out your risk of Type 2 Diabetes here: https://riskscore.diabetes.org.uk/start
- See Diabetes UK’s guide to understanding food labels here: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/enjoy-food/food-shopping-for-diabetes/understanding-food-labels