Research Framework

Building upon successive commissioned evaluation studies, which have consistently revealed positive outcomes relating to standards of person-centred care, professional practice and social value, the ICC’s Head of Research Kerry Wilson has developed the longer-term Crossing Boundaries research programme in consultation with colleagues at NML.

The overarching aim of the research is to investigate the holistic value of House of Memories as a museums-led dementia care intervention. Specific objectives include:

  • To assess the development of House of Memories as a cross-sector community of practice and its impact upon professional learning, development and capacity building;
  • To assess the impact of House of Memories on the subjective wellbeing of participating dementia carers and the subsequent ‘culture of care’;
  • To assess the meta-level social value and return on investment of House of Memories for participating sectors and funding bodies;
  • To share learning with relevant professional communities on modelling responsive culture-led interventions in dementia field and other key health and social care priorities;
  • To inform national cultural policy and strategic development of the ‘dementia friendly’ cultural sector in England.

The research includes three distinct but inter-related work packages (WPs), which will run concurrently throughout the project:

WP1 – Professional Learning and Development

WP1 will explore learning and development outcomes amongst a cross-section of House of Memories participants. Research design for this WP will be informed by situated learning theory and communities of practice conceptual framework. Individual research methods include social network analysis and the development of a standardised measure of learning outcomes, skills development, attitudinal outcomes and personal competences. This will be an adaptation and extension of measures used previously within House of Memories evaluation research, mapped against Dementia Core Skills Education and Training Framework. Quantitative data will be enhanced by follow-up focus group sessions with selected participants, to explore in greater detail the attributable learning contexts and developmental conditions of House of Memories in relation to professional learning and development outcomes.

WP2 – Wellbeing and Culture of Care

WP2 will assess the impact of House of Memories on the subjective wellbeing of all participants. The subsequent impact upon the ‘culture of care’ within participating communities, including relationship between carers’ own subjective wellbeing and care practices, will also be explored. This WP will be framed by existing studies on the impact of arts and culture on subjective wellbeing, including studies within the dementia field. Individual research methods will again include a standardised measure of subjective wellbeing adapted from existing, reliable research tools and consistent with previous House of Memories evaluation studies; and a series of semi-structured interviews to explore in depth the impact of House of Memories upon care relationships, practices and outcomes in relation to own sense of wellbeing and levels of continued participation and engagement with museums and other arts and cultural forms post-House of Memories.

WP3 – Social Value and Return on Investment

The purpose of WP3 is to consider throughout the emerging outcomes of WPs 1 and 2 and how these translate into strategic social value indicators and economic impact for participating professional sectors. Social return on investment (SROI) workshops will be run to test emerging findings of WPs 1 and 2 as valid impact indicators; determine self-articulated elements of social value created by House of Memories for participating stakeholders; the subsequent return on investment for participating communities of practice by way of financial proxies; implications and learning outcomes for the policy and practice of museums and culture-led interventions in dementia and other health and social care priorities. WP3 will be led by Research Fellow Gayle Whelan with research design informed by established social value methods and SROI protocols, set in the context of the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012.

Crossing Boundaries: the value of museums in dementia care research framework

Crossing Boundaries research framework diagram


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