Health and Culture
At the University of Manchester, The Manchester Museum and Whitworth Art Gallery has pioneered new methods of engaging with the public through their Health and Culture programme . The development of a partnership with Manchester Schools Hospital and Home Teaching Service, CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) and Central Manchester Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust enabled the delivery of a series of collaborative activities and programmes that led to practical benefits for all involved.
Objectives and Goals
• This partnership was designed to learn from each other and examine the needs of the local hospital community, whilst supporting their access to the extensive collections and wider resources of the University and its specialist expertise.
• Enrich patient and staff experience. We believe that cultural experiences enable people to express their individuality; they allow a person to connect with others, both living and dead. It is this combination of the individual and the social, the living and the dead, which makes the cultural experience such a powerful one.
• Developing quality outreach partnerships and cross-sector collaboration we aim to balance work that focuses on low numbers and high impact experiences with broader participatory events. We also work on durational projects that offer partners and ourselves an opportunity to work in a deep and challenging way. These targeted programmes allow us to work with key strategic partners and build close, long term relationships with organizations and individuals.
• Successful collaborations created a further demand from the hospital community to promote the contribution and role of culture to health and wellbeing, a desire to enhance the wellbeing and satisfaction of hospital staff through informative and enjoyable activities, and show how they can use the expertise within museums and galleries to improve their professional practice.
Activities, Methods and Evaluation
Below are different elements of the ‘Health and Culture’ programme;
• Creativity and the Curriculum is a collaborative arts, heritage and health project with Manchester Schools Hospital and Home Teaching Service that supports the curriculum and aims to raise pupils attainment and aspirations.
• Healing the Hospital Environment is an initiative based at Galaxy House, the children’s residential psychiatric unit, part of Central Manchester Children’s Hospital. Using our collections as inspiration for the redesign of the young peoples living space and outdoor recreational area.
• Arts and Heritage Mentoring Scheme provides undergraduate volunteer mentors, museum and gallery educators, curators and artists to work with inpatients from the ages of 6 -16yrs across neurology, oncology, cystic fibrosis and renal wards. Visits allow the children to engage with our outreach handling collections and get involved with cultural and creative activities, such as craft and creative writing sessions but also offering peer support.
• Who Cares? If you only see the illness you miss the person, exhibition in March 2011 was a culmination and celebration of our arts and health outreach programme. It aimed to encourage participants, partners, stakeholders and new audiences from the health sector and associated service providers into the gallery, de-stigmatise mental health issues, and encourage positive mental health and well being amongst our visitors. We had 37,889 visitors to the exhibition and over 2000 participants to our public engagement programme.
• Who Cares? Health, Wellbeing and Museums, an initiative recently recognized by the Royal Society of Public Health with two awards for innovative and outstanding contributions to arts and health practice and evaluation. Evaluation is embedded in our work and programmes are designed around Nef’s Five Ways to Wellbeing. UCLAN’s psychosocial research department worked with us to evaluate the above mentioned activities.
• Memories of Manchester is a ‘Heritage in Health’ project exploring the potential of museum object handling as an enrichment activity for patients with varying levels of dementia.
• + Culture Shots; Museums and Galleries Week, advocacy campaign delivered a week-long series of over seventy taster events run by museums and galleries that were designed specifically for health professionals delivered across five hospitals in February 2012. University academics, museum and gallery educators and curators, creative practitioners and volunteers contributed time and expertise to deliver workshops, presentations and performances throughout the week. Over 200 people attended the launch evening at the Royal Eye Hospital, including CEO’s, directors, and senior managers from the hospital, university, and cultural organizations from across the city plus representatives from Manchester’s local council. It is the first time in the UK that a NHS Foundation Trust has hosted a museums and galleries week within a hospital setting.
The week was supported by a publication, Health + Culture; How museums and galleries can enhance health and wellbeing , a website and blog along with interviews uploaded as podcasts. It was quickly publicized by the Manchester Evening News , The Guardian , BBC Radio , Radio Manchester, UCB Radio, and Museums Association Journal and Unilife.
Over 2500 hospital staff, patients and visitors participated in the activities.
During the week the website had 1,963 unique visits (Since launch 2,545). There have been 10,245 Page views and average visitor looked at 6 pages and stayed on the site for 5.4 minutes
We are currently evaluating this event , the outcomes of which will contribute to a book entitled ‘Museums, Health and Wellbeing’ as an innovative example of museum collaborations/interventions in healthcare by Berg Publications and written by Dr Helen Chatterjee, Director of Museum Collections at UCL.
• Artmed focuses on training for medical professionals and our future workforce within the health sector. We are currently collaborating with Primary Care Medical Educators from across the city and academics from Msc intercolated Medical Humanities at the University to devise and deliver core elements of the medical curriculum introducing a more formal art based approach to some of their curriculum themes. After the initial pilots and in collaboration with NW Deanery we will undertake research into the impact on selected learning outcomes.
Central Manchester Hospitals have over 10,000 staff, and a foot fall of over a million patients and visitors throughout the year. A community eager to extend our partnership and push the boundaries of cross-sector collaborations. We need to ensure that we provide museum staff with the appropriate training to enable them easily to move between different sectors.