The Art of Social Prescribing: new project funded by AHRC

Added on Monday, July 7th, 2014

The ICC’s Kerry Wilson has received funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to research arts-based social prescribing, in collaboration with Professor Rhiannon Corcoran of the Heseltine Institute for Public Policy and Practice at the University of Liverpool. Funded under the AHRC’s recent ‘public policy’ highlight notice, ‘The Art of Social Prescribing’ has been designed to inform the future development of clinical commissioning policy on arts and cultural interventions in mental health care. More specifically, the project will examine the decision-making processes behind arts-based social prescribing, and its professional efficacy in mental health care contexts. 

Social prescribing provides a means for enabling primary care services to refer patients and service users with social, emotional or practical needs to a range of local, non-clinical services, often provided by the voluntary and community sector. Such non-clinical approaches are gaining added resonance within mental health care due to their proactive, preventive qualities, and the opportunities created to provide strategically ‘joined up’ services across a range of cross-sector organisations. Within the Liverpool city region, there are many examples of effective arts-based interventions and initiatives in mental health care, spear-headed by project partners Mersey Care NHS Trust and leading arts and cultural organisations including National Museums Liverpool (NML), Tate Liverpool, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and The Reader Organisation. The project seeks to build upon the learning outcomes generated by these initiatives and associated research programmes to inform the strategic development of arts-based social prescribing in the city, including a co-produced policy framework for participating organisations, and an accompanying ‘how-to’ guide for applied research on the arts and social prescribing in mental health. 

This project complements a growing body of research within this field for the ICC: see for example our ‘Joining the Dots’ research programme with Mersey Care NHS Trust; and evaluation studies relating to NML’s acclaimed dementia care training programme House of Memories 

Other project partners include the NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group, Liverpool Health and Wellbeing Board, and the Cheshire and Merseyside Public Health Service. ICC Research Fellow Gayle Whelan and Ruth Scott-Williams of the Heseltine Institute for Public Policy and Practice will form part of the research team led by Kerry and Rhiannon.  The project has been funded for a 12 month period and will formally commence in August 2014. 

For more information please contact Kerry Wilson (Principal Investigator) k.m.wilson@ljmu.ac.uk

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