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Arts & Health
Research Group

This inter-disciplinary grouping will explore the relationship between the arts/design and public health at personal and societal levels. It will investigate socially engaged practice and where relevant, product development. It aspires to influence policy through research, practice and advocacy, keeping curiosity and exemplary arts processes at its core.

This group seeks to impact on the public health and wellbeing agenda. This is a multi-faceted agenda that includes the upstream promotion of health and the support of services focused on both illness and prevention/protection and care. Critically, health and wellbeing are influenced by other factors in life that are outside of the NHS, therefore, this research grouping has an overarching focus on the social determinants of health – the factors that underpin both health and wellbeing. The group is interested on the micro to the macro and will inevitably seek to explore research and development opportunities that reflect its make-up and connections.

We will look specifically at the relationship between all art forms and health, wellbeing and inequalities at the personal and societal levels. We will influence policy through research and advocacy. Our work will keep curiosity and the highest possible arts process's at the heart of our thinking and action.

This group has key members from different disciplines and with critical connections within the university and externally. Its membership is fluid and it's hoped that rather than an overcrowded group, it will feed into wider sub-sets and disciplines, expanding and contracting in its membership as appropriate.

Research Areas

This research group has a fluid membership with broad ranging research interests, including:

  • Public Health and Inequalities
  • Cultural Value
  • Mental Health
  • The Environment and Ecology
  • Socially Engaged Practice
  • Wellbeing
  • Visual Literacy
  • Sound Art
  • The Built Environment
  • Design for Health
  • Dementia
  • Healthy Aging
  • Textiles and Stitch
  • Substance Misuse and Recovery
  • Policy
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Practice-led research
  • International Collaboration

Recent Projects

Dr Amanda Ravetz was winner of the AHRC's Research in Film award, for her film that was made as part of a research project about the utopianism of recovery - the idea that recovery requires the daily renewal of hope..

An AHRC funded research project that asks: Can art improve life for people with dementia and their carers? If so, how does it do this? And can it help people with dementia stay connected to their communities? Can it help their communities become more dementia friendly? Might there even be financial benefits for the UK?

A new report, published by Arts for Health (Dr Rebecca Gordon-Nesbit) revealing that research stretching back a number of decades, shows a significant association between engaging with the arts and longer lives better lived. These international studies collectively suggest that attending high-quality cultural events has a beneficial impact upon a range of chronic diseases over time.

Arts for Health Research Associate, Dr Katherine Taylor has a new paper in the Journal of Affective Disorders. In the first phenomenological study focussing on the links between creativity and extreme mood, an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) approach was used to collect and analyse in-depth interview data from seven people diagnosed with BD in the UK.

People in recovery from substance misuse in the UK, Italy and Turkey have collaboratively developed a manifesto that attempts to humanise the face of addiction. The Recoverist Manifesto gives a voice to a marginalized people that aims to dispel the stigmatized myths and legends associated with the condition by providing a counter-blast that challenges current clichéd misconceptions by reframing addiction as a health issue and recovery as a civil rights concern.