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Open Access Nain, Mam and Me: Historical artefacts as prompts for reminiscence, reflection and conversation about feeding babies. A qualitative development study

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Historical artefacts can act as distancing objects, encouraging neutral discussion around sensitive topics that involve personal decision-making. Infant feeding is an example of a sensitive topic where strong emotions associated with infrequently shared experiences often underlie present beliefs and values. An exhibition of historical artefacts designed to generate discussion around the topic of infant feeding was piloted at the Welsh National Eisteddfod 2015 as part of a qualitative development study. The study indicated that the exhibition was perceived as a safe space for discussion regardless of prior beliefs and experience, and that artefacts acted as effective prompts for reminiscence and reflection. Follow-up interviews identified areas of intergenerational change that impact on intergenerational support – changing hospital practices, expert advice and attitudes towards breastfeeding in public places. The exhibition indicated the potential of historical artefacts to facilitate intra- and intergenerational conversation around sensitive public health topics.

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Keywords: COMMUNITY-BASED INTERVENTIONS; EXHIBITION; GRANDPARENTS; HEALTH; INFANT FEEDING; PROMOTION; SOCIAL HISTORY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2017

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  • Research for All is a peer-reviewed journal focusing on research that involves universities and communities, services or industries working together. Contributors and readers are from both inside and outside of higher education. They include researchers, policymakers, managers, practitioners, community-based organizations, schools, businesses and the intermediaries who bring these people together. The journal highlights the potential in active public engagement for robust academic study, for the development of involved communities, and for the impact of research. It explores engagement with different groups and their cultures, and features theoretical and empirical analysis alongside authoritative commentary to explore a range of themes that are key to engaged research including the development of reciprocal relationships, sector-specific communication and participatory action research. The journal is co-sponsored by the UCL Institute of Education and the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement.

    Research for All is supporting the 16th International conference for Public Communication of Science and Technology being held in Aberdeen, Scotland, UK, 26–28 May 2020. Authors of contributions presented at the conference are invited subsequently to submit papers to Research for All for a special feature on Public Communication of Science and Technology.

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