How cultural experiences can improve health and wellbeing


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About the Research

Not So Grim Up North is a research project funded by Arts Council England Research Grants Programme.

Not So Grim Up North

About Not So Grim Up North



* NEW VIDEO: Interview with project researcher Dr Nuala Morse *

* NEW ARTICLE Published *


Our research explores how museum and gallery activities can make a difference in terms of health, and in terms of wellbeing. We are a partnership between researchers at UCL and museum partners: The Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester Museum, and Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums.

These partners are based in the North of England – which explains our project name. Indeed it’s not grim up north: there is a vibrant arts and cultural scene, and we are interested in how this can contribute to the health and wellbeing of people in these regions.

Our Audience Groups

We are working with four audience groups: people living with dementia, stroke rehabilitation patients, mental health service-users and addiction recovery service-users.

We are working in partnership with the NHS, Adult Social Care services and Third Sector organisations in Greater Manchester and Tyne and Wear. Our research is particularly interested in how creative museum-based activities can contribute to positive benefits for these different groups of people. 

Our Approach

The study is based on a mixed-methods approach: we will collect qualitative data through interviews and quantitative data to measure change in relation to specific health and wellbeing outcomes.

We want to find out whether, and how, museum activities can support recovery and rehabilitation for a range of different groups.

You can read more about our research questions and the research methodology here.

We will be updating the blog each month with project updates, so you can follow our work and the research findings here.