Participatory arts and well-being: past and present practices

Lead Research Organisation: University of Exeter
Department Name: Drama

Abstract

This project aimed to examine diverse definitions of communal well-being and the complex ways in which participatory arts, past and present, have contributed to and sustained community well-being.

We set out to study examples of best practice in content, process, outcome and impact, of historic and contemporary participatory arts activity. Community and participatory arts practices focused on community well-being have a long history, and range in nature from top-down, prescriptive activities funded and arranged by governments to grassroots, amateur and self-organising groups of participatory makers (Kershaw 1992; Cochrane 2001; van Erven 2001; Edensor 2010; MacLagan 2010; Gauntlett 2011). Three network events drew together community artists, academics, community arts workers, health professionals and applied theatre practitioners to share research and experience of working towards community well-being. Several pressing issues emerged including questions of evaluation, benefits and experience, socio-economic inequality, the quality and integrity of artistic processes.

Publications


10 25 50
Billington J (2013) Reading as participatory art: An alternative mental health therapy in Journal of Arts & Communities
 
Description Three symposia over the year drew together different audiences of community artists, academics, community arts workers, health professionals and applied theatre practitioners to share research and experience of working towards community well-being.
The quality of facilitation was considered highly significant in achieving beneficial outcomes for participants. Debates around modes and criteria for evaluation of benefits and disadvantages of participatory arts remain fraught, particularly at the interface between participatory art practices and health contexts. A key question remains about the way in which socio-economic inequality determines access to and the sustaining of participatory arts practices.
Exploitation Route Developing an overview of the range of participatory art practices already in place in health and well-being settings that draw on past practices in danger of being lost.
Sectors Creative Economy,Healthcare,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism
URL http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/Funding-Opportunities/Research-funding/Connected-Communities/Scoping-studies-and-reviews/Documents/Participatory-arts-wellbeing.pdf
 
Description By the key members of the team in located research with healthcare providers, participatory arts companies, and client groups: Josie Billington's ongoing work with The Reader Organisation, Kerrie Schaefer's with international applied theatre companies working with vulnerable populations, and Hamish Fyfe's work at the George Ewart Evans Centre on digital storytelling and the charity Tenovus.
First Year Of Impact 2013
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Healthcare,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Societal