Call for Evidence: what works to improve wellbeing in arts and culture interventions

Added on Thursday, August 11th, 2022

The What Works Centre for Wellbeing (WWW), the UK’s independent body for wellbeing evidence, policy and practice, has commissioned the Institute of Cultural Capital to review the evidence on what works to improve wellbeing in arts and culture interventions, cultural events and mega-events. Our aim for this review is to:

  • improve our understanding of culture as a social and economic asset;
  • consolidate evidence on the drivers of wellbeing in place-based arts and culture events. 

We will share review findings as a live reflection on the value of large-scale cultural events, such as Coventry City of Culture 2021, and their role in levelling up inequalities in the UK. The project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Warwick University and Spirit of 2012.

What are we seeking?

We’re seeking findings on the wellbeing value of arts and culture. Specifically, we’re looking to learn from events, mega-events and interventions with a place-based component. 

We’re interested in studies from across voluntary, public and private sectors to summarise evidence on what works to improve wellbeing, broader social outcomes, and reduce social inequalities.

We will include both peer-reviewed and grey primary and secondary research. This will include qualitative and quantitative research designs such as impact evaluations, RCTs/clinical trials, observational studies (cohort ‘before and after’ studies and case-control studies), pragmatic trials and meta-analysis.

Submitted studies must meet ALL of the following criteria:

  • Evaluate an art intervention or cultural event conducted in the UK or in a European country, with a place-based component.  This can be in any setting, including city, town, borough or neighbourhood.
  • Explore the impact of art intervention or cultural event in individual wellbeing, community wellbeing, and/or social inequalities.
  • Published from 1992-onwards and include author details and date.
  • Written in the English language and publicly available.

Studies reporting quantitative findings must:

Measure changes in wellbeing and social outcomes scores against a comparator, using standardised measures. This could be by conducting a before-and-after intervention assessment, or through the use of a control group.

Studies reporting qualitative findings must:

Report evidence of changes in wellbeing and social outcomes demonstrated by before-and-after intervention data collection or other designs. These could include baseline and/or self-reporting.

Studies reporting mixed-methods findings and must:

Address both the quantitative and qualitative reporting requirements.

Out of scope:

  • Interventions or cultural events addressing specific mental health conditions (e.g., dementia, depression or anxiety);
  • religious or sports events and interventions;
  • studies addressing other impacts than wellbeing (e.g., economical, physical space, cultural governance, etc.);
  • interventions or cultural events without a place-based component.

Next steps

Please send any relevant studies to evaluation@whatworkswellbeing.org by Friday 26 August 2022 or submit using the WWW online form.

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