The aim of PULSE is to create innovative research-based science exhibitions and community activities that motivate and support families to take action to develop and sustain healthy lifestyles. The project is a research-based, action-oriented exhibition development project (taking place at the Experimentarium) which motivates participating families to carry out introduced activities at home, in their area and in the community at large. The PULSE exhibition will also serve as an international model demonstrating how science centre health exhibitions can involve socio-economically less advantaged families (as well as more privileged families) in improving their health.
The project group itself consists of people from different professional practices and disciplinary backgrounds, providing different disciplinary approaches, interest areas and competences, so that the project is built from multiple perspectives. As one of the main focus areas of the project is inclusion and participation of citizens with different ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, the process is designed to increase social diversity.
By starting with ethnographic studies, the project gained a thorough knowledge of the differences in target groups and practices and subsequently used that knowledge to tailor information and create communication and interaction strategies for different groups.
The basic premise of the project is that current ways of communicating health can be improved. The dominating discourses on health, responsibilisation for individual health status and normative notions of how to live a healthy life need to be challenged to better accommodate different practices of family life, healthy life and social life. The project’s co-creation process involves an ongoing dialogue with users who are asked questions such as: What can this project do for you? What adjustments will make it work better for you?
The user involvement has been of great importance in the design process, providing valuable knowledge on health practices and challenges, health knowledge and values, and everyday family and work life management, as well as how to best promote reflexive discussion and generate incentives for healthy changes through educational dissemination and activities. Some of the developers’ conceptions and ideas have had to be discarded because they did not fit with the values and perceptions of the participants and, thus, were not doable.
It has been the project’s aim to create user-driven health changes/exhibitions. This requires change at an organisational level and development of methods to use in the future for similar projects. However, the project also aspires to influence policy, municipal procedures and belief systems through its process and results.