PULSE: Innovative health promotion exhibition engaging families

Science museum concept
Children and adolescents need to be aware of the importance of their weight, eating and drinking habits and physical activity to be able to make informed choices and avoid becoming the type 2 diabetes patients of tomorrow.

The PULSE project is a research-based, action-oriented exhibition-development project that takes place at a science centre in Copenhagen called Experimentarium.

Families with children aged 6-12 from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds will participate in developing new types of innovative exhibition concepts with the aim of leading to improved health in the families and their local communities. In order to involve socio-economically less advantaged families, we will initiate activities in different areas of the capital region, which are linked to the exhibition at Experimentarium.

The project objectives are

  • To develop a user-driven, innovative, exhibition concept that includes activities in the homes and in the community, and which encourages families to take action on lifestyle changes and to improve their health and well-being.
  • To generate research-based evidence and methodologies on a participatory approach to developing health exhibitions and activities in science museums and local communities and knowledge about their impact on family health.
  • To explore intergenerational approaches to health promotion (Industrial PhD, Julie Bønnelycke) (please also see reference to Industrial PhD project “Intergenerational Health Promotion” by Julie Bønnelycke which is a part of the PULSE project).

Design/method and theory
PULSE’s innovative approach to health promotion and prevention is based firmly on specific methodological and theoretical concepts as well as empirical evidence from health promotion research.

Consequently, PULSE operates in accordance with a number of key educational principles such as the Action Competence approach (Jensen, 2000, 2004). The principles are central in the development of the exhibition as well as the associated activities in local communities, including:

  • Participation and action competence.
  • A broad and positive health concept.
  • Multiple approaches for multiple settings.
  • Equity in health – reaching new target groups.

Drawing on these educational principles as well as action research, design-based research, and user-driven innovation, PULSE’s overall research and development strategy is to implement multiple types of research-based health promotion activities among different groups of participants in three kinds of settings:

  • The Experimentarium’s exhibition area.
  • The local community settings of the participating target groups (e.g. homes and schools) in the selected neighbourhoods (Gentofte Municipality and City of Copenhagen).
  • A virtual setting (cyberspace) that links the two other settings by means of information technology (e.g. computers and smartphones).

Target groups
PULSE will involve study participants with different backgrounds and engage them at three different levels of participation:´

  • PULSE families: Families with children 6-12 years from different communities who will participate in the development of the exhibition at the Experimentarium and activities in their homes and local communities.
  • A larger network of families and local organisations from different communities that will participate in the development of activities in their homes and local communities.
  • Ordinary families visiting the Experimentarium, who will take part in the exhibition and in activities in their homes and local communities.

In addition, professionals at science centres and health promotion institutions will benefit from the study findings.

Expected outcomes
We expect to develop innovative health promotion tools and approaches for science centres and local communities.

Over 340,000 people visit the Experimentarium annually, one-third of whom are families with children. The associated activities will be accessible to families who have visited the exhibition as well as to families who have not but who have heard about the activities elsewhere.

PULSE will provide insights on participatory approaches to health education, action-oriented modalities of science communication, user-driven development of exhibition concepts and neighbourhood involvement in setting up local solutions concerning health communication and promotion. The researchers will provide a direct evaluation of the derived effects of the various exhibition activities.

The PULSE partners will develop methodologies for cross-disciplinary, research-based exhibitions. They will reflect on the advantages and constraints of this approach in order to systematise and define the lessons learned to share them with like-minded, international groups.

Universally applicable experiences derived from PULSE will make the project a reference point for projects that combine exhibitions and health promotion research, thus putting Copenhagen on the map as an innovative, cross-disciplinary powerhouse in the field.

Dissemination of research findings will take place through the usual channels, as well as through an international seminar hosted by the PULSE partners.

Funding and collaborators
Funding: The Novo Nordisk Foundation is supporting the PULSE project by awarding a grant of DKK 33 million over five years. In addition to this, all partners contribute with own resources.

Collaborators include:

Presentations 
Mygind, L., Hällman, A.K., & Bentsen, P. (2015). Mind the Gap: between Intentions and Realities in Participatory Exhibition Development in Museums. European Educational Research Association Conference (ECER) 2015, 10th of September, Corvinius University of Budapest, Hungary.

Hartmeyer, R., Bølling, M., & Bentsen, P. (2015). The Contributions of Science Teaching Outside The Classroom To Students’ Knowledge Development. European Educational Research Association Conference (ECER) 2015, 10th of September, Corvinius University of Budapest, Hungary.

Christensen, J.H., Bønnelycke, J., Mygind, L., & Bentsen, P. (2015). The Museum as A Health Educational Space: A Transition From Knowledge Dissemination To Community Engagement. European Educational Research Association Conference (ECER) 2015, 10th of September, Corvinius University of Budapest, Hungary.

Bønnelycke, J., Sandholt, C.T., Jensen, L.T., & Bentsen, P. (2015). Transition and transformation at the science center: Health education in exhibition and everyday life through the PULSE project. European Educational Research Association Conference (ECER) 2015, 9th of September, Corvinius University of Budapest, Hungary.

Mygind, L., Wang, J, & Bentsen, P. (2015). What’s hot: lessons from indoor tracking based visitor studies. European Network of Science Centres and Museums (ECSITE) 2015, 12th of June, Trento, Italy.

Schipperijn, J., Sidenius, G., Kryger, T.B., Mygind, L., Hansen, C.K., & Bentsen, P. (2014). Indoor tracking of physical activity behavior using Bluetooth and accelerometers – a pilot test. Symposium presentation. 2014 Annual Meeting of the International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (ISBNPA). 24th of May, San Diego, USA.

Bønnelycke, J. & Bentsen, P. (2013). An intergenerational approach to health promotion. Session: New approaches to health promotion among children in the family- and local community setting. The International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE) Conference. August, Pattaya, Thailand.

Thiel, C., Bønnelycke, J., Murmann, M., Bentsen, P., & Aagaard-Hansen, J. (2013). Science center exhibitions as health promotion settings: the cross-disciplinary development and research project PULSE. Session: New approaches to health promotion among children in the family- and local community setting. The International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE) Conference. August, Pattaya, Thailand.

Poulsen, B., Bønnelycke, J. & Bentsen, P. (2013). Searching for innovative paths to inclusion: PULSE Associated Activities. The European Network of Science Centres and Museums (ECSITE) Conference. 7th of June, Göteborg, Sweden.

Hartmeyer, R. & Bentsen, P. (2013). Targeting different individuals: how teaching in informal learning environments develops pupils’ knowledge. European Institute for Outdoor Adventure Education and Experiential Learning (EOE) Seminar ‘Urban nature: inclusive learning through youth work and school work’. 6th of June, Stockholm, Sweden. 


Publications
Christensen, J.H., Bønnelycke, J., Mygind, L., & Bentsen, P. (2016). Museums and science centres for health: from scientific literacy to health promotion. Museum Management and Curatorship, 31(1), 17-47.  

Mygind, L. Hällman, A.K. & Bentsen, P. (2015). Bridging gaps between intentions and realities: a review of participatory exhibition development in museums. Museum Management and Curatorship, 30(2), 117-137.

Christensen, J.H., Mygind, L. & Bentsen, P. (2015). Conceptions of place: approaching space, children and physical activity. Childrens Geographies, 13(5), 589-603

Mygind, L. Hällman, A.K. & Bentsen, P. (2015). Bridging gaps between intentions and realities: a review of participatory exhibition development in museums. Museum Management and Curatorship, 30(2), 117-137

Axelsen, L.V., Mygind, L. & Bentsen, P. (2015). Designing with Children: A Participatory Design Framework for Developing Interactive Exhibitions. Journal of the Inclusive Museum, 7(1), 1-16

Sidst opdateret 03-05-2016

Peter Bentsen
Senior Researcher
Prevention Research

Julie Bønnelycke
Industrial PhD student
Prevention Research