So how do you get the findings of your research to those that are going to be most interested? In EST we have been thinking about this for some time. In one of our Creative Communications Seminars, we listened to a fantastic talk by Alke Gröppel-Wegener on how to turn your research into a board game, and the benefits this can bring in helping people to understand your research. What a great idea we thought! It so happened that we had just finished bringing together the findings of our Petroc systematic review : a systematic review of the qualitative and quantitative evidence about pet therapy in care homes. How were we going to share our #Petroc findings?

And the seed of an idea was sown: maybe care home staff would be interested in playing a game whereby they not only learnt about the challenges of pets in care homes, but also the positive findings about the benefits that pets and animals can bring. Our thoughts went something like this

…it could be like ‘snakes and ladders’ with the benefits of having animals in care homes forming the basis of ladders and the challenges of the pets being snakes

…but what about the lovely quotes that we found from the research – where would we put them?

…and we thought – we could have some cards with the quotes on

…it could be like Community Chest and Chance cards from Monopoly…but instead we can have ‘Paws’ cards (where you pause to reflect on challenges) and ‘Treat’ cards (where you hear from residents and staff about the benefits of pets)…

And there we had it – Pet Purrsuit was born!

With funding from the University’s ESRC Impact Acceleration Accounts (IAA), we were able to work with the amazing Matt Buckett from InkPot Graphics

Matt is an independent artist and designer. He has a degree in fine art, and twenty year’s experience in designing for businesses and clients from all areas of industry. He specialises in traditional painting and creating designs that combine these traditional skills with digital media for a contemporary approach to graphics. Matt took our basic drawings and ideas, and they were basic…

And developed them into a proper wonderful board game!

We asked Matt what it was like working us. He said:

Working with EST has been an absolute pleasure! I have really enjoyed developing the project with all involved because the team have been so enthusiastic and receptive to my ideas. We have worked closely on designing a board game that stands out as a unique body of work, and one that they have allowed me to drive creatively. I often work with clients who know what they want, then change their mind when you deliver that… however EST have always been keen to see what my creative input is and we have worked together to achieve the end result.

I would love to work with EST again, and in any artistic/creative capacity as I can see there is a need for my skills within their arena. I feel we work together well and that they have a clear vision about their work and its impact. I am excited to see what they come up with next, and hopefully that there will be a role for me in there somewhere.

And it has certainly been amazing for us to work with Matt. His enthusiasm for the project was clear from the very start and nothing has been too difficult. Not only has it been great fun, but it’s been really rewarding to see him transform our basic ideas into something so impressive and professional.

What next for Pet Purrsuit?

We will be taking Pet Purrsuit to four care homes in Devon so that care home staff can play the game and tell us if it works for them as a way of understanding our research and how or if it can be improved. We are also taking it to the Social Research Annual Conference Research Gallery to see what people think of it there.  We will let you know what everyone thinks. Watch this space….

PP paws