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February 2020

Wellbeing and Community (WELLCOM)

Engagement in arts and culture

Wellbeing and Community (WELLCOM)
In partnership with

WELLCOM is a two-year programme aiming to transform our understanding of the relationship between community engagement and wellbeing at a population level.

Community engagement matters. But which ones?

There is strong theoretical literature on why community engagement is crucial to how we survive and thrive and emerging data shows the benefits for wellbeing.

With a focus on arts and culture, there remains a paucity of high-quality, large-scale, longitudinal research on which community activities affect our wellbeing, whether they be arts engagement, attendance to cultural events, heritage or volunteering and who is most likely to benefit.

Mapping the wellbeing effects of community engagement

This project will analyse what the benefits of community engagement are for wellbeing, who benefits most and how to encourage community engagement amongst different populations, with a special focus on those with mental health conditions. By the end of the project, our objective is to have published new rigorous high impact research which will be of immediate relevance to policy makers, commissioners, investors and organisations.

The programme started in February 2020 and is led by Dr Daisy Fancourt (UCL Behavioural Science and Health), Dr Karen Mak (UCL BSH) and Dr Marie Polley (Social Prescribing Network) with the Centre. It is funded by the Economic Social and Research Council (ESRC).

External outputs from this project
  1. Improving access to the arts for mental health
  2. Polley & Sabey (2022) Covid-19, mental health and the role of arts and cultural engagement –  A review of new evidence (PDF) COVID-19, mental health, and the role of arts and cultural engagement A review of new evidence (researchgate.net) DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.12551.06565
  3. Polley & Sabey (2022) The health benefits of arts, cultural and community engagement – A short guide for link workers

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In this project

Blog - April 2022
Wherever you live, participating in arts and culture is good for your wellbeing
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Briefing - April 2022
Neighbourhood influence on culture, arts and community engagement
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Briefing - January 2021
What helped the UK cope with the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns?
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Briefing - November 2020
How has Covid-19 – and the associated lockdown measures – affected mental health and wellbeing in th
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Briefing - August 2020
How has Covid-19 affected loneliness?
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