Understanding the role and contribution of the arts to wellbeing in health, social care and community settings.

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About us

The Centre for the Arts as Wellbeing is part of the University's wider Health and Wellbeing Research Group. It embraces the social, personal, spiritual and political aspects of wellbeing.

The word 'wellbeing' descends from the Greek 'eudaimonia', which could be translated as 'well-spirited' or 'welfare'. It can include what we might today call health but encompasses a much wider concept. Wellbeing is considered a process, however there is difficulty locating an end point. The process of living involves encountering obstacles and apparent difficulties handling these. One does not arrive at a point of wellness and live in a sterile environment to retain it.

The arts can be viewed as part of the 'process of being' used to deal with disease (lack of ease of harmony) on physical, psychological and spiritual levels. This does not necessarily mean avoiding disease but going through it and using the arts as a tool for this journey. This usage may be through active engagement, or listening and watching others. By both doing and watching we disband senses of being alone in our journey and gain tools or insights from others.

The Centre for the Arts as Wellbeing is concerned with restoring a wider sense of value for the arts in the context of promoting wellbeing in individuals, communities, and the environment. It involves seeing the arts in a healing context, knowing how other cultures have used the arts as a rebalancing tool, looking at and valuing the work of arts therapists, seeing the arts in wider contexts than the concert hall or theatre and exploring new ideas for their relevance to the wider society.

The Centre for the Arts as Wellbeing encompasses music, performance, dance, movement, literary, visual and other art forms. Our aim is to understand the role and contribution of the arts to wellbeing in health, social care and community settings.

Objectives

  • To work in partnership with local, regional, national and international organisations to deliver high quality research and knowledge exchange in the area of arts as wellbeing;
  • To develop best practice in performing and participatory arts as wellbeing in individuals, communities and organisations;
  • To embrace the social, spiritual and political aspects of well-being and the effect of the inculcation of societal values on the individual and the transformative effects upon artistic practice.

While there is scope for collaboration with other research institutes, this centre concentrates on contextualised performing arts practice that is consciously related to personal, social and environmental wellbeing. In a community context, we are concerned with encouraging, initiating and reflecting on projects in the area of the arts as wellbeing, including working within education contexts, and with hard to reach and marginalised people.

The Arts as Wellbeing Trust Ltd aims to advance a role for the arts in the enhancement of human experience in health and social care settings.

Services

The centre hosts a broad research programme that explores the impacts of arts and culture on health and wellbeing. We also seek to understand the processes that shape experiences of arts, health and wellbeing in individuals and society. Specifically, our current research includes:

  • Evidence reviews of arts & wellbeing
  • Evaluation of music interventions for vulnerable populations
  • Small-scale development and evaluation of local arts & health projects
  • Qualitative research and practitioner-led research to understand the processes surrounding delivery of community music and arts projects
  • CPD and public engagement in the arts & health sector
  • Consultancy for project development in the arts and wellbeing

Postgraduate research

The centre welcomes enquiries about postgraduate research in the area of arts as wellbeing. Explore our members' profiles pages below to find out more about their individual research strengths.

Meet the team

Core team

Visiting Research/Knowledge Exchange Fellows

  • Dr Elizabeth Scott-Hall, former Assistant Musical Director, Vocal Tutor and an Associate Lecturer at the University of Winchester.
  • Shirley Taylor, former Assistant Head of Hampshire Music Service.
  • Rebecca Seymour, a dance artist with a deep commitment to working with older adults and people with dementia using dance and music.
  • Giorgos Tsiris, Researcher at Nordoff Robbins, London; Lecturer in Music Therapy at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh and editor-in-chief of Approaches: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Music Therapy.
  • Dr Jill Bunce, a Dance Movement Psychotherapist and Educational Psychotherapist who established a degree in Dance and Movement Studies at Derby University, followed by an MA in Dance Movement Psychotherapy.
  • Janet Sparkes, Head of the Movement Studies Department at the University of Winchester when it was King Alfred’s College.

For general enquiries, contact the Centre for the Arts as Wellbeing Administrator, Holly Pye, +44 (0)1962 827212.

Links and partnerships

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