Not So Grim Up North
Not So Grim Up North (2015-2018) is a research project funded by Arts Council England. Researchers at UCL Culture are working with The Whitworth, Manchester Museum and Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums to investigate the health and wellbeing impacts of museum and gallery activities for a diverse range of audiences.

Our research explores how taking part in museum and gallery activities can have positive health and wellbeing benefits. We are working with four audience groups: people living with dementia in hospital settings, stroke survivors in community and hospital settings, mental health service-users and addiction recovery service-users. The research seeks to understand the impact and value of museum activities for a diverse range of audience groups.

Research questions

The project is guided by a number of research questions:

- How do museum activities support health and wellbeing outcomes?
- How can they help contribute to recovery for mental health and addiction service-users?
- How can they contribute to stroke rehabilitation?
- How can they support dementia care?
- What are the short-term impacts (over a 6 to 10 week programme) and what are the longer-term impacts (after 3 and 6 months) for participants
- What different methodologies (qualitative and quantitative) from multiple disciplinary perspectives can help us to understand the value and impact of cultural activities?
- How can lessons learned across the project be used to inform the practice of other museums through the creation of a framework for evaluating museums in health programmes with diverse audiences?

The research is supported by wider work of the team into museums and wellbeing, which examines the benefits of handling heritage objects in healthcare settings, and the value of museum programmes for older adults within a social prescribing model.

Research Team:

Prof. Helen Chatterjee is the Principal Investigator and head of the project, a Professor in Biology UCL Biosciences, and Head of Research and Teaching for UCL Culture. 

Dr Nuala Morse is the project’s Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester and Honorary Researcher at UCL Culture.

Dr Linda Thomson is the project’s Senior Research Associate and Cognitive Psychologist at UCL.

Wendy Gallagher is on the project research team and is the Arts and Health Partnership Manager for the Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester Museum, University of Manchester.

Zoë Brown is on the project research team and is the Outreach Officer for Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums.

Project Website:

Follow news and updates about the project www.healthandculture.org.uk/not-so-grim-up-north

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