How cultural experiences can improve health and wellbeing

Research Methods

We have a set of research questions which we hope to find answers to through our Not So Grim Up North research. We are using a robust methodology to address these questions.

Research Questions

Our project aims to explore the impact of museum and gallery activities. To do so we are investigating a number of research questions:

How do museum activities support health and wellbeing outcomes?

Can they help contribute to recovery for mental health and addiction service-users?

Can they contribute to stroke rehabilitation?

Can they help with dementia care?

What are the short-term impacts (over a 6 to 10 week programme) and what are the long-term impacts (after 3, 6 and 12 months) for participants?

What different methodologies (qualitative and quantitative) from multiple disciplinary perspectives from across the humanities, social sciences and health can help us to understand the value and impact of cultural activities?

We are looking at how museum and gallery activities can make a difference for a range of different people who are either in hospital, accessing social care services, or being referred by third sector partner organisations.


We are developing a mixed-methods approach to examine the health and wellbeing outcomes of the museum activities.

We will be using:

Qualitative methods such as interviews and open-ended questionnaires to capture the experiences of participants. We will also use these methods to capture the perspectives of family members, health professionals, and artists/museum facilitators. We will also carry out systematic observations of all the sessions.

Quantitative methods, including standardised clinical scales to measures health and wellbeing outcomes. These measures will be repeated at the beginning, middle and at the end of the museum programme, to enable us to measure change over time

We will carry out follow-on interviews with a number of participants at 3, 6 and 12 months after the end of the museum programmes.

The project has two stages:

Stage 1: We will first conduct an in-depth review a range of different methodologies and then trial and test a selection of appropriate methods with participants. This will inform the second stage of the research.

Stage 2: We will collect data over 12 months for a total of 100 participants across the four groups.

The full methodology framework will be available here very soon. One aim of the project is to develop a framework for evaluating museum and gallery programmes that can be adapted for different groups.