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Dementia and Imagination

Arts for Health at MMU is a partner in one of five projects that will see university researchers, community groups and national charities and trusts working together to explore community health and wellbeing, community engagement and mobilisation. Arts for Health is part of a collaborative research group that has been awarded a large grant in the Cultures, Health & Well-Being theme, one of five Connected Communities Programme themes which share funding in excess of £7m.

The focus of the Connected Communities Programmes is on engaging with communities, giving them the opportunity to contribute to the creation, design and production the research. By working in partnerships with community groups the research is able to produce knowledge and create resources that are of direct significance to the groups involved but also have wider societal, cultural and economic benefits.

Led by Bangor University's Dementia Services Development Centre, the three-year project receives £1.2 million researching how taking part in visual arts can contribute to the health and well-being of people with dementia.

Clive Parkinson will be leading specific areas of this work around art in the research process and engagement through art, that brings together social sciences researchers specialising in dementia, gerontology, psychology and economics with researchers in the visual arts, cultural policy and museum studies.

The research will ask the question: How can visual arts interventions change, sustain and catalyze community cultures, beliefs, attitudes and behaviours to create dementia friendly communities?

Further details are available on the Dementia and Imagination web site.

Menas žmogaus gerovei

Arts for Health continues to work with the Lithuanian Artists Association; the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences and the British Council in arts and health research, development and practice in the Republic of Lithuania. Please see the report of activity of 2012, Menas žmogaus grove (PDF).

I AM:art as an agent for change

Between 2012 and 2014 Arts for Health is working with partners in Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Italy and Turkey bringing together artists, people and communities in recovery from addiction, drug and alcohol professionals and academics, using self-portraiture as a means of exploring identity, stigma and the process of behavioural change.

The programme will address this by making recovery communities and recovery itself more visible, transparent and better understood. Recovery as a real life-choice to that of active addiction will be examined, promoted and celebrated. The process and outcomes will use visual art and multiple perspective representation to challenge existing perceptions and stigma.

National Alliance for Arts, Health and Wellbeing

Clive Parkinson is currently chairing the National Alliance for Arts, Health and Wellbeing which is holding a major international arts and health conference in Bristol in June. Find out more about the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Conference.

MA Module in Arts Health and Wellbeing

The Manchester School of Art at MMU will be rolling out new optional postgraduate units from autumn 2013 and Clive Parkinson is pleased to be delivering one of these focusing on public health and wellbeing with an emphasis on inequalities; prevention; promotion and protection. This unit will introduce students to the notions, ideas, principles and practices of art and design for public health and wellbeing. A series of delivered lectures, seminars and workshops will discuss and explore the role of design in Prevention, Promotion and Protection. It will enable the location of these ideas into individual or collaborative practice. The unit will commence with a symposium identifying key art/design issues in the public health field.

MA Design Lab and UNIT X

Arts for Health continues to work with students and staff at MMU through the excellent MA Design Lab and new Unit X programmes.

North West Arts & Health Network

As part of our regional development work and supporting the London Arts and Health Forum in its drive to generate a national forum for arts and health, we are developing our database and mailing list.

Derbyshire County Primary Care Trust

We are currently supporting Derbyshire County Primary Care Trust in its aspirations to embed creativity, culture and the arts in its service delivery. This work is focused on culture change and has an emphasis on:

  • How the arts might impact on public health
  • How we can improve health environments
  • How we can engage more with our communities

For example, participating in the Wellcome Image Awards 2008.

To read the first of two versions of our report to Derbyshire Community Health Services and Derbyshire County PCT, please click here (PDF)

St Helens Hospital

Arts for Health at MMU have been working with St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and Taylor Woodrow Construction since March 2007. Initially the work involved designing an arts strategy and vision for the Trust with the aim of embedding creativity, culture and the arts within the hospital. Following the development of the strategy, Arts for Health continued to work within St Helens Hospital commissioning artists to produce works for the new St Helens Hospital, which opened in October 2008.

Previous Projects

Arts, Health & Well-being

2nd Year BA (Hons) Embroidery Students at MMU have been involved in an enterprising project as part of a collaborative venture with Arts for Health and Derbyshire Community Health Services.

North West Arts & Health Partnership

Between 2007-2010, Arts Council England, North West and the Department of Health, Public Health, North West are working in partnership with Arts for Health to develop the regional arts and health infrastructure.

In the Pipeline

Art in Alder Hey in the Park

We will be working with young people at the Royal Liverpool Children's Hospital, Alder Hey to evaluate the impact of its arts strategy as the old hospital begins its transition into a new health park between 2013 - 2015. Further details.


We are working with partners in Finland, Estonia and Spain to deliver the Modeling Multi-professional Competencies of Art and Social Work project MOMU), developing a model for user-focused multi-professional team-working, linking art and social work professionals on a European level. We expect to be able to share more in November 2013.


We will be working on an exciting collaborative evaluation of arts interventions with a community NHS partner exploring new methodologies for better understanding arts impact and value. Details are embargoed just yet…but it all looks very exciting!