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Our Research Catalogue contains grants and outputs data up to the end of April 2014. Records will no longer be updated after this date.

Contemporary visual art and identity construction - wellbeing amongst older people

Grant reference: RES-356-25-0034

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Impact Report details

Contemporary visual art and identity construction - wellbeing amongst older people - impact report
Impacts of the above project are described below
English

Primary contributor

Author Andrew Newman

Additional contributors

Co-author Anna Goulding
Contributor Chris Whitehead

Impacts

Three main areas of scientific impact were identified: The social impact of galleries imagined through cultural policy The complex nature of arts engagement cannot be accommodated by cultural policy in its present form and it cannot be captured by existing audit and evaluation tools. Therefore, attempts to use the arts instrumentally to address social problems, such as social exclusion, may be ill-founded. New approaches that acknowledge the roles visitors play in the construction of meanings need to be developed. Older person’s consumption of contemporary visual art Age affects older person’s consumption of contemporary visual art through influencing how other variables, such as class and gender, are experienced. Those who could not recognise the field created their own meanings which they associated with the artworks. Evidence indicates that group dynamics and class mobility are also important and participants used the experience to respond to real or anticipated age associated deficits. Use of meanings created in encounters with contemporary visual art Older visitors use meanings created through encounters with contemporary visual art in art galleries for identity maintenance and revision processes. Respondents who did not have an existing identity-defining commitment towards art and who had less ability to decode the art works used the art to make symbolic links to aspects of their identity. Engaging with contemporary visual art facilitated identity processes that contributed to participants’ wellbeing. This study provides new perspectives on the role of art in identity formation for older people.

The assumption that underpins New Public Management derived policy, that messages derived from museum and gallery displays are received, understood and acted upon in unproblematic ways, is not supported. Newman A. 2011 Imagining the social impact of museums and galleries: interrogating cultural policy through an empirical study. International Journal of Cultural Policy Age affects older person’s consumption of contemporary visual art through influencing how other variables such as class and gender are experienced. Newman, A., Goulding and Whitehead 2013 The role of age in the responses of older adults to the field of contemporary visual art, Poetics Engaging with contemporary visual art facilitated identity processes that contributed to participants’ wellbeing. Newman, A., Goulding and Whitehead 2013, Contemporary visual art and the construction of identity: Maintenance and revision processes in older adults, International Journal of Heritage Studies Participants’ previous social and cultural capital impacts on their ability to engage and take up opportunities. Participants’ social and cultural capital develops through engagement (after only three visits non-engaged participants noted a reduction in psychosocial barriers to engagement). Goulding, A. 2012 How can contemporary art contribute towards the development of social and cultural capital for people aged 64+ The Gerontologist Learning programmes can adopt various pedagogical strategies that engage older people, particularly those not previously engaged. Goulding, A. (2012) ‘Lifelong learning for people aged 64+ within the contemporary art gallery’. Education Gerontology Goulding, A. (2012) ‘Older people learning through contemporary visual art – engagement and barriers’. The International Journal of Art & Design Education

Goulding, A. & Newman, A. 2012 Contemporary visual arts and the wellbeing of older adults: Policy and Practice, British Society of Gerontologists Annual Meeting, 11-13 July. Newman, A. & Goulding, A. 2011 The role of social networks in determining the nature of older people’s engagement with contemporary visual art and its relationship to wellbeing. 64th Annual scientific meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, Boston, USA, 18-22, November. Newman, A. & Goulding, A. 2011 The impact of engagement with contemporary visual art on the wellbeing of older adults. VII EUROPEAN INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS, HEALTHY AND ACTIVE AGEING FOR ALL EUROPEANS "II", Bologna, Italy, April. Newman, A. 2010 Imagining the social impact of museums and galleries: interrogating policy through an empirical study, 6th International Conference on Cultural Policy Research, Jyväskylä, Finland, 24 - 27 August. Goulding, A. 2010 Lifelong Learning for people aged 64+ within the contemporary art gallery context, European Conference for Educational Research, Helsinki, Finland, August. Newman, A. 2010 Contemporary visual art and identity construction – Wellbeing amongst older people, British Society of Gerontology, 39th Annual Conference, Identities , Care and Everyday Life, 6-8 July Brunel University. Newman, A. 2009 Theorising the social role of museums/galleries: consequences for policy, Department of Public Policy, De Montfort University, Leicester, Seminar series, Wednesday 16th December. Newman, A. 2009 Renaissance Research and Evaluation Network, Tuesday 24th November 2009, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London. Newman, A. 2009 Contemporary visual art and identity construction: well being amongst older people, invited presentation, Humanities Discourse and the Passing Life seminar, Saturday 11th November. Claus Moser Research Centre, Keele University.

Museum and gallery studies researchers Social Gerontologists Cultural policy researchers Cultural sociologists Arts and health research community

The following societal impacts were undertaken as part of the follow-on fund project (RES-189-25-0328 - 01/01/2012 14/07/2013). Because of the linked nature of the grants it is not possible to distinguish between the societal impacts of one as opposed to another. This will not conclude until 14/07/2013. The aim of the follow-on fund project is to use the results of the research project as an evidence base upon which new arts policy and interventions to improve the wellbeing of older people are developed, increasing the effectiveness of public services and policy. The impacts are: • Contributing to arts/gallery practice/policy – through bringing together government agencies, charities, galleries, academics and NHS commissioning trusts/GP; commissioning of services that use the arts to improve the wellbeing of older people; o Raising the profile of the value of arts interventions to improve the wellbeing of older people; • Designing, piloting and evaluating a new arts intervention to improve the wellbeing of older people with early stage dementia (in progress); o Developing provision for older people in Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums venues; • Publishing practical guidance for those wishing to work with older people and the arts (in progress); • Writing training units that will be made available to those working with older people and the arts – carers and arts practitioners (in progress); • Delivered training to approximately 100 artists and carers in the region; • Incorporate the training into MA programmes delivered at Newcastle University (80 students a year); • Roll out the training resources nationally through the Culture and Wellbeing website and the dissemination strategy (in progress).

The findings are given above in the section on academic impacts. A video of one of the sessions is to be used as a learning/training resource for art gallery practitioners and carers delivering programmes for people with dementia. Copies are to be disseminated across the learning departments of Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums. Also, it will be accessible via the following websites: NDA, Culture and Wellbeing, Arts and Dementia network, Age of Creativity, YouTube. Training resources offering guidance for art gallery practitioners and carers delivering programmes for people with dementia will be disseminated via Equal Arts, Age UK Newcastle, Age Concern Gateshead. Publications aimed at arts/gallery policy makers practitioners Goulding, A and Newman, A. 2012 Contemporary Visual Art and Identity Construction: Exploring Wellbeing Amongst Older People, Engage Journal, Arts and Healthcare Special Issue. Aimed at the general public This project will be featured in ESRC's annual newsstand magazine – Britain in 2013 Participated in community radio broadcast for the Elders Council of Newcastle. Also submitted a bulletin about the research for their newsletter which has the potential to reach 2000 members. Submitted bulletins on the research to Gateshead Older People’s Assembly which has 2000 members.

A series of seminars were undertaken which were attended by c40 academics, gallery/arts practitioners, charities, arts agencies and arts policy makers (Arts Council England, Creative Scotland etc.) From the results a new arts intervention was produced, tested and evaluated and training materials produced. • Seminar/workshop 1, the academic/policy/practice landscape identifying problems and issues – policy from Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Education, Department for Work and Pensions, and Health; • Seminar/workshop 2, Developing effective evidence-based interventions; • Plan, implement and evaluate a new intervention based upon previous seminars, developing guidance for working with older people, including training for facilitators; • Seminar/workshop 3, Presentation of results and conclusions from study on new interventions, scoping the future policy value of galleries. • New training materials, based on the results, were written and produced and rolled out nationally. The key partners for the project include: • Catherine Bunting, Director of Research, Arts Council, England, London; • Lynne Corner, Institute for Ageing and Health, Newcastle University; • Anne Marshall, Chief Officer, Age Concern (not Age UK) Gateshead; • Alistair Robinson, Programme Director, Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art ,Sunderland; • Emma Thomas, Head of Learning, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead; • Alice Thwaite, Director of Development, Equal Arts, Gateshead; • Esther Ward, Chair, Gateshead Older People’s Assembly, Gateshead; • Jane Sillis, Director of Engage, the National Association for Gallery Education; • Charlotte Clarke, Professor of Nursing Practice, Northumbria University.

• Older people (specifically participants who became a reference group and group that participated in the intervention who are now meeting at a local art gallery as a self-led group; • Arts Council England and their equivalents in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; • Arts practitioners; • Gallery and museum practitioners (specifically Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums who we are currently working with to embed the work into their learning and outreach programme); • Charities, Age UK (Gateshead remains Age Concern), Equal Arts (the north-east region’s arts and older people’s agency) and equivalents; • Medical profession (including academics, GPs, medical students and care staff); • Arts and health practitioner community; • Workforce development professionals and employers in the care sector working together to raise the quality of care (Tyne and Wear Care Alliance); • Carers working with older people. The above were engaged at all stages of the project. Initially a needs analysis, with older people, arts/gallery practitioners, and arts/gallery policy makers was undertaken and the project was planned around the results.

We have become a critical friend to Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums and are contributing to embedding a programme for people with dementia based on findings from the intervention. We have been meeting regularly with Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums Project Coordinator for Lifelong Learning - and have consulted with our participants about various options e.g. a weekly meeting at a local museum with a monthly talk from curator. The video of one of the session is to be used as a learning/training resource. Copies are to be disseminated across Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums Learning Department. Also, it is hoped that in being placed on the websites of the New Dynamics of Ageing programme, Culture and Wellbeing, Arts and Dementia, Age of Creativity and YouTube has the potential to inform and inspire art gallery practitioners and carers delivering programmes for people with dementia. Dementia participants from the follow-on fund intervention are intending to continue a self-led group that meets regularly at the Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead. We are liaising with AgeUK North Tyneside to see how we can disseminate findings/offer training to volunteers and carers in the Linskill day centres for people with dementia.

Cite this outcome

Harvard

Newman, Andrew et al. Contemporary visual art and identity construction - wellbeing amongst older people: ESRC Impact Report, RES-356-25-0034. Swindon: ESRC

Vancouver

Newman Andrew et al. Contemporary visual art and identity construction - wellbeing amongst older people: ESRC Impact Report, RES-356-25-0034. Swindon: ESRC.