Implementing creative methods in baby loss research: Exploring stillbirth bereaved parents’ journeys through collage

Journal article

Wier, J. and Mccloskey, E. 2020. Implementing creative methods in baby loss research: Exploring stillbirth bereaved parents’ journeys through collage. QMiP Bulletin. 30 (Autumn), pp. 51-61.
AuthorsWier, J. and Mccloskey, E.

Grieving the loss of a baby may feel excruciatingly painful for parents. The rate of stillbirth in the United Kingdom is approximately eight babies per day. However, the rate of stillbirth disproportionally affects Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) families. This paper explores an ongoing doctoral project which incorporates collage-making as a creative method to explore how BAME stillbirth bereaved parents access bereavement support. Creative methods may generate findings that can better reach public audiences
to spark transformational change. Collage is a visual interpretive tool that is generally accessible to the public. Collages are often created by selecting images from magazines or newspapers or textured paper mediums, where the participants cut or alters the images and arranges and attaches them to mediums such as cardboard or paper. Incorporating collage in research can serve as a useful method when engaging with participants who are perhaps not comfortable communicating their thoughts about sensitive subjects. In addition to using collage as a creative research method, this study also features collage as a reflexive tool. Collage is an efficient tool for uncovering what is not said out loud about grief, but which is very much present within a grieving person. Breaking the silence and sharing the loss of a child through creative methods enhances the understanding of the experience of perinatal loss and provides a voice to those who would otherwise remain unheard.

KeywordsStillbirth; Grief; Bereavement support; BAME; Black, Asian and minority ethnic people; Baby loss; Collage; Parents
JournalQMiP Bulletin
Journal citation30 (Autumn), pp. 51-61
PublisherThe British Psychological Society
Related URL
Publication dates
PrintSep 2020
Publication process dates
AcceptedAug 2020
Deposited23 Oct 2020
Accepted author manuscript
Output statusPublished

Bell, S. (2010). Visual methods for collecting and
analysing data. In I. Bourgeault, R. Dingwall, & R. De Vries (Eds.),The SAGE handbook of qualitative methods in health research
(pp.513–535). London: SAGE Publications Ltd
doi: 10.4135/9781446268247
Bhopal, R., (2014). Migration, ethnicity, race, and
health in multicultural societies. (2nd edn) Oxford:
Oxford University Press.
Boydell, K. & Gladstone, B. (2012). The production and dissemination of knowledge: A scoping
review of arts-based health research. Sozialforschung/Qualitative Social Research, 13(1), Art 32.
Brennan, M. (2015). Loss, bereavement and creativity: Meanings and uses. Illness Crisis and Loss,
23(4), 291–309. doi:10.1177/1054137315590958
Brown, G., Marshall, M., Bower, P. et al. (2014).
Barriers to recruiting ethnic minorities to mental
health research: A systematic review. International
Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research, 23(1),
36–48. doi:10.1002/mpr.1434
Bryant, A. & Charmaz, K. (2007). Grounded theory
in historical perspective: An epistemological
account. In A. Bryant (Ed.) & K. Charmaz (Ed.),
The SAGE handbook of grounded theory (pp.31–57).
Los Angeles, CA: Sage.
Buckingham, D. (2009). ‘Creative’ visual methods
in media research: Possibilities, problems and
proposals. Media, Culture and Society, 31(4),
633–652. doi:10.1177/0163443709335280
Budd, J., Stacey, T., Martin, B. at al. (2018). Women’s
experiences of being invited to participate in a
case-control study of stillbirth – findings from
the Midlands and North of England Stillbirth
Study. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 18(317).
1–8. doi:10.1186/s12884-018-1956-1
Bulger, S. (2017). Writing down your sorrow: A
healing process after miscarriage, stillbirth and
newborn losses. In S. Gair & A. van Luyn (Eds.),
Sharing qualitative research: Showing lived experiences and community narratives (1st edn, Vol. 1,
pp.163–187). New York: Routledge.
Buser, T.J., Buser, J.K., & Gladding, S.T. (2015). Good
grief: The part of arts in healing loss and grief.
In T. Duffey (Ed.), Creative interventions in grief
and loss therapy: When the music stops, a dream
dies (pp.173–183). New York: Taylor and Francis.
Butler-Kisber, L. (2008). Collage as inquiry. In J.G.
Knowles & A.L. Cole (Eds.), Handbook of the arts
in qualitative research (pp.265–276). Thousand
Oaks, Canada: SAGE.
Butler-Kisber, L. (2010). Qualitative inquiry: Thematic,
narrative and arts-informed perspectives (1st edn).
Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE.
Butler-Kisber, L. & Poldma, T. (2010). The power
of visual approaches in qualitative inquiry: The
use of collage making and concept mapping
in experiential research. In EKSIG 2009: Experiential knowledge, method and methodology
– International Conference 2009 of the DRS
Special Interest Group on experiential knowledge, conference proceedings.
Cacciatore, J., Schnebly, S. & Froen, J.F. (2009). The
effects of social support on maternal anxiety and
depression after stillbirth. Health and Social Care
in the Community, 17(2), 167–176. doi:10.1111/
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2020.
Tuskegee Study – Timeline – CDC – NCHHSTP.
[online] Available at: <
timeline.htm> [Accessed 12 July 2020].
Chilton, G. & Scotti, V. (2014). Snipping, gluing,
writing: The properties of collage as an arts-based
research practice in art therapy. Art Therapy,
31(4), 163–171. doi:10.1080/07421656.2015.96
Clarke, V. & Braun, V. (2014). Thematic analysis.
In A.C. Michalos (Ed.), Encyclopaedia of quality
of life and wellbeing research (pp.6626–6628).
Springer, Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.
Creswell, J.W. (2014). Research design: Qualitative,
quantitative and mixed methods approaches (4th
edn). Los Angeles: SAGE.
Dawson, S., Campbell, S.M., Giles, S.J. et al. (2018).
Black and minority ethnic group involvement
in health and social care research: A systematic review. Health Expectations. 21(1), 3–22.
Delamont, S. (2009). The only honest thing: Autoethnography, reflexivity and small crises in fieldwork. Ethnography and Education, 4(1), 51–63.
Devon County Council. (2020, June 15). Race –
ethnicity, national origins, race or colour. www.
Dewhurst, M. (2018). Teachers bridging difference,
exploring identity with art. Cambridge, MA:
Harvard Education Press.
Edgar-Bailey, M. & Kress, V.E. (2010). Resolving child
and adolescent traumatic grief: Creative techniques and interventions. Journal of Creativity in
Mental Health, 5(2), 158–176. doi:10.1080/1540
Feen-Calligan, H., Washington, O.G.M. & Moxley,
D.P. (2010). Homelessness among older AfricanAmerican women: Interpreting a serious social
issue through the arts in community-based
participatory action research. New Solutions,
19(4), 423–448. doi:10.2190/NS.19.4.d
Flenady, V., Boyle, F., Koopmans, L. et al. (2014).
Meeting the needs of parents after a stillbirth
or neonatal death. BJOG: An International Journal
of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 121(4), 137–140.
Foster, V. (2015). Collaborative arts-based research for
social justice. London: Routledge.
Gardosi, J., Madurasinghe, V., Williams, M. et al.
(2013). Maternal and fetal risk factors for stillbirth: Population based study. BMJ (Online),
346(7893), 1–14. doi:10.1136/bmj.f108
Gold, K.J., Normandin, M.M. & Boggs, M.E. (2016).
Are participants in face-to-face and internet
support groups the same? Comparison of demographics and depression levels among women
bereaved by stillbirth. Archives of Womens Mental
Health, 19(1), 1073–1078. doi:10.1007/s00737-
Halcomb, E. (2016). Understanding the importance
of collecting qualitative data creatively. Nurse
Researcher, 23(3), 6–7. doi:10.7748/nr.23.3.6.s2
Henry, S.E. & Verica, J.M. (2015). (Re)visioning
the self through art. Educational Studies, 51(2),
153–167. doi:10.1080/00131946.2015.1015353
Institute of Race Relations. (2020). Definitions. Irr. Retrieved from
Jonas-Simpson, C. & McMahon, E. (2005).
The language of loss when a baby dies prior
to birth: Cocreating human experience.
Nursing Science Quarterly, 18(2), 124–130.
Jongeward, C. (2009). Visual portraits: Integrating
artistic process into qualitative research. In P.
Leavy (Ed.), Method meets art: Arts-based research
practice (239–251). New York: The Guilford Press.
Jutlla, K. & Raghavan, R. (2017). Improving the
recruitment of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic
(BAME) communities in health and social care
research: A review of literature. De Montfort
Knight, M., Nair, M., Tuffnell, D. et al. on behalf of
MBRRACE-UK. (2016). Saving lives, improving
mothers’ care – Surveillance of maternal deaths
in the UK 2012–2014 and lessons learned to
inform maternity care from the UK and Ireland
Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths and
Morbidity 2009–2012. Oxford: National Perinatal
Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford 2016.
Retrieved from:
Kramer-Roy, D. (2015). Using participatory and creative methods to facilitate emancipatory research
with people facing multiple disadvantage: A role
for health and care professionals. Disability and
Society, 30(8), 1207–1224. doi:10.1080/0968759
McNiff, S. (2011). Artistic expressions as primary
modes of inquiry. British Journal of Guidance &
Counselling, 39(5), 385–396. doi:10.1080/03069
Memon, A, Taylor, K, Mohebati, L.M. et al. (2016).
Perceived barriers to accessing mental health
services among black and minority ethnic (BME)
communities: A qualitative study in Southeast
England. BMJ Open, 6(11), e012337. doi:10.1136/
bmjopen-2016- 012337
Morse, J.M. & Niehaus, L. (2009). Mixed method
design: Principles and procedures (2nd edn). New
York: Routledge
Muglu, J., Rather, H., Arroyo-Manzano, D. et al.
(2019). Risks of stillbirth and neonatal death
with advancing gestation at term: A systematic
review and meta-analysis of cohort studies of
15 million pregnancies. PLoS Medicine 16(7):
e1002838. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1002838
NHS. (2018). Stillbirth. Retrieved from
NHS England. (2020). News: NHS England and NHS
Confederation launch expert research centre on
health inequalities. Retrieved from www.england.
Noy, C. (2008). Sampling knowledge: The hermeneutics of snowball sampling in qualitative research.
International Journal of Social Research Methodology,
11(4), 327–344. doi:10.1080/13645570701401305
Pollock, D., Pearson, E., Cooper, M. et al. (2020).
Voices of the unheard: A qualitative survey
exploring bereaved parents experiences of stillbirth stigma. Women and Birth, 33(2), 165–174.
Ravelli, A.C.J., Jager, K.J., De Groot, M.H. et al.
(2010). Travel time from home to hospital and
adverse perinatal outcomes in women at term in
the Netherlands. BJOG: An International Journal
of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 118(4), 457–465.
Ross, M. (1981). Creativity and creative problem
solving. The Annual Handbook for Group Facilitators, 10, 129–134.
Scott, J. (2011). Stillbirths: Breaking the silence of a
hidden grief. The Lancet 377 (9775), 1386–1388.
Siette, J., Cassidy, M., & Priebe, S. (2017). Effectiveness of befriending interventions: A systematic
review and meta-analysis. BMJ Open, 7 (e014304),
1–12. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-014304
Silver, R.M. (2019). Maternal going to sleep position
and late stillbirth: Time to act but with care.
EClinicalMedicine, 10(1), 49–57. doi:10.1016/j.
Sinha, P. & Hickman, R. (2016). The Sabar ways of
knowing through the arts. Visual Arts Research,
42(1), 88–103.
Smart, A. & Harrison, E. (2016). The under-representation of minority ethnic groups in UK medical
research. Ethnicity and Health, 22(1), 65–82. doi:1
Smith, G.C. (2015). Prevention of stillbirth. The Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, 17(3), 183–187. https://
Stiell, B., Tang, N., Bennett, C. & Price, C. (2006).
Building policy/research relationships: Using
innovative methodologies to engage ethnic
minority women. Local Economy, 21(2), 211–218.
Strouse, S. (2014). Collage: Integrating the torn
pieces. In B. Thompson & R. Neimeyer (Eds.),
Grief and the expressive arts: Practices for creating
meaning (pp.187–197). New York: Routledge
Szto, P., Furman, R. & Langer, C. (2005). Poetry and
photography: An exploration into expressive/
creative qualitative research. Qualitative Social Work,
4(2), 135–156. doi:10.1177/1473325005052390
Tommy’s. (2020). Statistics about stillbirth. Retrieved
Vaikla-Poldma, T. (2003). An investigation of learning
and teaching processes in an interior design
class: An interpretive and contextual Inquiry.
(Unpublished doctoral thesis). McGill University,
Montreal, Canada.
Vais, A. & Kean, L. (2015). Stillbirth in the UK:
Current trends, investigation and opportunities
for prevention. Obstetrics, Gynaecology & Reproductive Medicine, 25(6), 160–166. doi:10.1016/j.
Vacchelli, E. (2018). Embodiment in qualitative
research: Collage making with migrant, refugee
and asylum seeking women. Qualitative Research,
18(2), 171–190. doi:10.1177/1468794117708008
Waheed, W., Hughes-Morley, A., Woodham, A. et
al. (2015). Overcoming barriers to recruiting
ethnic minorities to mental health research:
A typology of recruitment strategies. BMC Psychiatry, 15(101) 1–11. doi:10.1186/s12888-015-
Washington, O.G.M. & Moxley, D.P. (2008). Telling
my story: From narrative to exhibit in illuminating the lived experience of homelessness among older African American women.
Journal of Health Psychology, 13(2), 154–165.
Webb, N.B. (2003). Play and expressive therapies to help bereaved children: Individual,
family, and group treatment. Smith College
Studies in Social Work, 73(3), 405–422.
Willer, E.K., Droser, V.A., Hoyt, K.D. et al. (2018). A
visual narrative analysis of children’s baby loss
remembrance drawings. Journal of Family Communication, 18(2), 153–169. doi:10.1080/15267431.
Woodall, A., Morgan, C., Sloan, C. & Howard, L.
(2010). Barriers to participation in mental health
research: Are there specific gender, ethnicity and
age related barriers? BMC Psychiatry, 10(103)
1–10. doi:10.1186/1471-244X-10-103

Permalink -

  • 9
    total views
  • 14
    total downloads
  • 2
    views this month
  • 10
    downloads this month

Export as

Related outputs

The use of drama within midwifery education to facilitate the understanding of professional behaviour and values
Lawrence, J. and Wier, J. 2018. The use of drama within midwifery education to facilitate the understanding of professional behaviour and values. Midwifery. 59, pp. 59-61.
Enhancing knowledge and skills through the delivery of a bespoke neonatal resuscitation training programme in a developing country
Kayembe, F. and Wier, J. 2018. Enhancing knowledge and skills through the delivery of a bespoke neonatal resuscitation training programme in a developing country. Midwifery. 63, pp. 20-23.
Improving induction of labour for women through the development of a new pathway
Wier, J., Hinchey Beer, S. and Walker, L. 2018. Improving induction of labour for women through the development of a new pathway. British Journal of Midwifery. 26 (9), pp. 585-590.
Protecting the public: an investigation of midwives' perceptions of regulation and the regulator
Wier, J. 2017. Protecting the public: an investigation of midwives' perceptions of regulation and the regulator. Midwifery. 52, pp. 57-63.
Protecting the public: the current regulation of midwifery
Wier, J. 2015. Protecting the public: the current regulation of midwifery.
Protecting the public: the current regulation of midwifery
Wier, J. 2015. Protecting the public: the current regulation of midwifery.
Current perceptions of statutory supervision of midwifery: time for change
Wier, J. 2015. Current perceptions of statutory supervision of midwifery: time for change. British Journal of Midwifery. 23 (4), pp. 288-295.
Informed consent and the birth plan
Wier, J. 2008. Informed consent and the birth plan. The Practising Midwife. 11 (7), pp. 17-18.