Festival-goers attending this week’s Fringe Arts Bath and Bath Fringe Festivals will be invited into ‘The Cubicle’ - an all-new and unique art installation designed specifically to challenge people’s negative body perceptions.

'The Cubicle' installation is a collaboration between Bath-based theatre company Kilter and Bath psychologist Dr Melissa Atkinson, whose research focuses on body image and eating disorders.

Rethinking body image

Over four days from Thursday 31 May – Sunday 3 June, attendees at the Festivals will get a chance to try out ‘The Cubicle’, which has been designed to make people rethink body image. Its interior includes multiple mirrors of different shapes and sizes, and also provocative body image artwork from artists Hollie-Anne Hart & Molly Hawkins.

Instead of focusing on our imperfections, as argue the designers many high-street changing rooms inherently do, those entering ‘The Cubicle’ will be encouraged to think about all the positive aspects of the human body and what it’s capable of – irrespective of their size or shape.

Over the next few days, 'The Cubicle' will form the backdrop for newly-choreographed performances with audience participation that address taboo-like body issues, from toe-nails and hairy armpits, to everyday functions that the body performs. In addition to body positive workshops each day, ranging from singing to yoga and discorobics, each night the team will lead a Body Positive Café. Drawing on new research in the area of body image, these will be an opportunity for members of the public to share, reflect and ask burning questions that they have.

Dr Melissa Atkinson who leads the work from the University's Department of Psychology explained: “Traditionally a lot of our interventions for body image have focused on the individual and in a research environment – what are the individual strategies that we can provide to somebody to help them to feel better about themselves. More recently we’ve looked at how we can help at a broader level, to create body positive communities, which goes from how we can change the conversation to celebrate diversity in appearance, to challenging how the body is represented in the media to promote unrealistic ideals.

“’The Cubicle’ is an exciting project all about rethinking how we view our bodies and what our expectations are, or should be, for achieving that “perfect” body. Collaborating with Kilter Theatre offers me the chance to reach a whole new audience with my research, in a new and creative way, and I’m excited to see people’s reactions and also what kind of changes it might encourage.”

Merging art and research

Caroline Garland, co-founder & director of Kilter said: “Kilter always relishes the opportunity to work with new partners in interesting & important fields of research. Nowhere is that truer than in this case. Body Negativity has an increasing impact on all of our lives, particularly our digital lives. We are really optimistic that 'The Cubicle'’s broad appeal will attract a diverse range of people & opinions & provide some genuine insights as well as being very funny, touching & above all human.”

‘The Cubicle’, supported by the Public Engagement Unit at the University, will pop-up during the Fringe Arts Bath Festival.

Find out more: 94-96 Walcot Street, Bath from Thursday 31 May – Thursday 7 June from 10am – 6pm. Workshops run to Sunday 3 June.