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Evaluation of the Integrated Participatory Arts Programme in North Warwickshire. Dr Glenn Williams, Senior Lecturer in Psychology Warwickshire Arts and Health Network Event 8 th November 2012. Participation in Artistic and Creative Activities: Impacts on Health and Well-Being.

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evaluation of the integrated participatory arts programme in north warwickshire

Evaluation of the Integrated Participatory Arts Programme in North Warwickshire

Dr Glenn Williams, Senior Lecturer in Psychology

Warwickshire Arts and Health Network Event

8th November 2012

participation in artistic and creative activities impacts on health and well being
Participation in Artistic and Creative Activities: Impacts on Health and Well-Being

Review by Staricoff (2004) of 385 studies

Benefits of the arts for health for:

  • Health and health care delivery
  • Promoting good health and reducing impact of ill-health
  • However, literature mainly focuses on impact of music
  • Limited research into impact of multiple art forms on health and well-being

Review into of evidence on effects of arts participation on mental health (Walford, 2010):

  • Small-scale studies (e.g. Eades & Ager, 2008; Hacking et al, 2008) and over two time points)
recap on main findings from 12 week pilot programme
Recap on Main Findings from 12-Week Pilot Programme

Qualitative Findings

  • Themes from the perceptions of stakeholders (participants, artists, link coordinators, service providers) include:
    • Positive impact on well-being
    • Labelling of the Programme
    • Perceptions of support from service providers
    • Dynamics of being inclusive and participative
    • Difficulties with the evaluation
    • Making transition from the Pilot to the Drop-in Sessions

Quantitative Trends

  • Mental Ill-Health symptoms significantly reduced from weeks 1 to 12 (as measured by GHQ-12)
  • Quality of life for mental health – significant increase (as measured by SF-12)

For the full report, see:


evaluation of the integrated programme
Evaluation of the Integrated Programme
  • Interviews with 9 participants (4 of whom were pilot project participants) and 4 artists and link-coordinators
  • Total interview time =357 minutes
  • Min. and Max. interview times were 8 mins. and 41 mins. respectively.
  • Average interview length = 27.46 mins. (Std. Deviation = 9.84)
  • Diary data from artists and link-coordinators (i.e. sessions 11-32, sessions 35-38, sessions 44-56).
    • Diary data related to sessions using a variety of art forms including mono-printing, stone painting, group production of music, claywork, pinhole photography, Russian dolls.
  • Used qualitative methods (i.e. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis; IPA) for interviews and searched for general themes from diaries
evaluation of the integrated programme beyond the pilot programme
Evaluation of the Integrated Programme – Beyond the Pilot Programme

Main themes from the data:

  • Group dynamics
  • Barriers to taking part
  • Benefits of participation
  • Creating an environment to flourish
group dynamics
Group Dynamics
  • “You felt that community spirit”
  • “It’s companionship”
  • “I didn’t enjoy really making the doll. That’s not my thing. I wouldn’t particularly want to do it again. But I probably would do it again, because I found you’re chatting when you’re doing it. And people are discussing ‘oh, why don’t you do this’ and before you know it it’s amazing how quickly the time goes when you are here”
  • “Well, it gets you to mix with different people”
  • “It gives you a sense of belonging”
barriers to taking part
Barriers to Taking Part
  • Not knowing too much before attending session: “I thought ‘No, if they start running through different things [that will be covered in the session]. I’ll be thinking ‘I can’t do that and I can’t do that’. I’ll just turn up and take it from there”.
  • Perceptions of not being ‘arty’: “I’ve got things out of it. I’ve done things I wouldn’t have done before, because I’m not arty” and “…I’ve always fancied drawing, but I haven’t got the talent for it”.
benefits of participation
Benefits of Participation
  • “Well, it’s something to look forward to, you know. If you look after someone who has dementia, it’s quite demanding.”
  • “It’s somewhere to go, it’s a routine. It’s…some people… probably the only thing they do in a week errm it’s coming out it’s mixing socially, it’s getting confidence in the fact that you do have certain amount of skills, social skills, errm, being somewhere at a certain time, I think the list [of benefits] is huge really… You can’t under-estimate the benefits that people get from coming to something that might only be once a week but that once a week is enough to keep you going for a bit longer if you’re struggling with mental health problems certainly”.
creating an environment to flourish
Creating an Environment to Flourish
  • “They can comment about it [the participant’s creations]”. They are not judged on it”
  • “For me it was helpful that I didn’t know [what was going to be done] before I came. I don’t mind once you’re here and you’ve broken the ice”
  • “It’s trying different skills, trying different skills that you wouldn’t normally do”
  • Can still talk about problems during sessions: “It doesn’t dominate the conversation. If you see what I mean…”
diary data
Diary Data


  • Session attendance ranged from 10 (in August) to 33 (in May) participants.
  • Average of 18 participants (Std. Deviation = 5.06) with increasing numbers of participants towards the end of the diary data period with 33, 25, 38, 23, 28 participants in the final five sessions sampled (May-June 2012).


  • ‘Life-lines’
  • Community building
  • Improvements
  • Skills-building
  • ‘Stepping stones’
themes illustrated
Themes illustrated
  • ‘Life-lines’: “Everyone is delighted with the news that our workshops can continue well into the year with people often saying how much they’d miss the chance to try out something new and to meet other people. For some, our sessions are like a life line for them and the only thing they feel comfortable participating in, where there is no pressure and everyone’s achievements are celebrated.” (15.12.11)
  • ‘Stepping stones’: “One regular participant will be leaving our group soon to take on a temporary full-time position. She wanted to thank us for our help and says that, without the work shops, she doesn’t feel she would have been able to apply and secure this position, her first for some time.”
more themes
More Themes…
  • Improvements: “One participant said today that coming here has been a life-changing experience for her. Whereas before, she hardly went out and had very little confidence, now she really enjoys coming here every week, has started writing poetry and attending other arts and craft sessions locally. This is something we are seeing quite often with people who attend regularly.”
  • Community Building: “The group seems to have formed now with a core of regular attendees, others who come and go and some who stay for one or a few weeks and never return. Others have found employment or are attending other groups, but still return to visit when possible which is always a joy and gives everyone a chance to catch up.” and
  • Skills-building: “It has struck me how much more independently people are working. One participant sorted out the refreshments as I was busy elsewhere. Over the past four weeks, participants have learned the basic…techniques and subsequently now have the knowledge to carry out all the processes.”
additional quotes
Additional Quotes

“It has been truly impressive. It has got me out of the house, interested in life and trying to do new things. I have met and spoken to new people and started to want to enjoy life instead of just trying to cope.”

“I only had a chance to attend a couple of sessions but I was so proud of what I achieved when I tried basket weaving for the first time. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming.”

“I loved learning different styles of art. It has a lovely atmosphere in the classes. I haven’t got a favourite. I enjoyed everything.”

“I’ve only been coming…a short time. I’m really enjoying it. There’s such a variety of things to do. People are lovely and friendly. There’s always something new to learn. also lots of tea and chat.”

“I’ve enjoyed being creative and learning new things at a time I thought I couldn’t be.”

“I’ve enjoyed trying out different crafts, particularly screen printing, pottery and willow weaving. It’s been great meeting other people and making new friends.”


With thanks for funding the evaluation:

Transcription and analysis support from Anya Biggins and George Cottee, Research Assistants, NTU