The Weight of Expectation
AWL collaborated with illustrator Jade Sarson (winner of Myriad Editions First Graphic Novel competition with For the Love of God, Marie!) to visualise Oli’s research exploring the social determinants of health and 'obesity'. They created a comic that tells the story of how stigma associated with body weight and size gets under the skin and is felt in the flesh. The comic debuted at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival and has gone on to become an award winning project.
Watch a video about The Weight of Expectation project below
The Weight of Expectation project has been awarded two national prizes. The British Science Association invited Oli to deliver the Margaret Mead Award Lecture for Social Sciences at the British Science Festival (September 2018). The project later won the 'Best Doctoral or Early Career Research' category at the Medical Humanities Awards hosted by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), in association with the Wellcome Trust.
We’re a non-profit organisation so we operate a 'Robin Hood' policy with the comics – if you can pay/have funding then we would appreciate it if you could buy individual comics or a discounted education pack (of 10 comics) and support our project. All money goes back into the project. But for people who don’t have access to funds we are happy to send copies for free - please just complete the form below.
Order an Education Pack
Education packs (10 comics) are available free of charge for anyone who can put the comic to good use in their practice, from teaching to health services to the fitness industry. To order a free education pack just fill in and submit the form below. The comics are also available to buy here. If you would like more information about the comic and the research it is informed by please feel free to contact Oli via e-mail (email@example.com) or Twitter.
Oli has spoken about the WoE project on two popular podcasts. The Don’t Salt My Game podcast hosted by Laura Thomas
And the Appearance Matters podcast hosted by Nadia Craddock and Jade Parnell at the Centre for Appearance Research
Challenging Weight Stigma Learning Hub
In 2022, Public Health Scotland launched a new training resource dedicated to challenging weight stigma. The 'Challenging Weight Stigma Learning Hub' is an evidence based online resource, aimed at increasing awareness of weight stigma and the impact it has on individuals, as well as identifying actions that can be taken to address it. It has been informed by people with lived experience of higher weight and weight stigma, who share how their lives have been affected by bias and discrimination based on body weight and size. It is aimed primarily at people who work in health and social care, public sector, third sector, and community-based organisations and provides content in sections with animations, video, and support to take the learning into practice.
Oli was invited to contribute to the learning hub and, working in collaboration with Helen West, Fiona Quigley, and Lauren O'Connell, created two training activities - one of them utilising The Weight of Expectation comic. The learning hub and it's resources are freely accessible to anyone willing to create an account on the website. You can do so here.
Exhibiting the Artwork
To accompany the comic, AWL created a series of limited edition, hand-numbered and stamped screen prints which were toured nationally. Attenborough Arts Centre hosted the Leicester comic launch and exhibited the screen prints (26 March – 22 April 2018) as part of the DeStress Fest. The exhibition was re-staged at Christmas Steps Gallery for the Bristol comic launch (17-21 July 2018). This was a joint exhibition with photographer Abbie Trayler-Smith who exhibited prints from her project on the children behind the obesity statistics: The Big O. In response to feedback, later we created a 'Next Generation Edition' of the comic designed specifically to be used in schools with young people. This edition was launched at York Medical Society (28 February 2019).
See below a digital exhibition of The Weight of Expectation screen prints.