News

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Surviving to Thriving: New Evaluation Report

3rd October 2022

We are pleased to be able to share our evaluation report of art workshops run by artist Pippa Grace with women who have experienced sexual violence. This is a project run through Somerset and Avon Rape and Sexual Abuse Support (SARSAS) and funded by the Quartet Foundation and Bristol City Council. The art programmes ran from 2019 to 2022 and we conducted a mixed methods analysis, which you can read about here.

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Employability Newsletter: Art and Psychology

September, 2022

Dr Nicola Holt has written a short Newsletter, which outlines careers related to psychology that use the arts. This can involve using the arts therapeutically to improve mental health and wellbeing (for example, using the visual arts to help children communicate their feelings in art psychotherapy). It also covers how applied areas of psychology can use the arts (e.g., health psychologists can use visual methods to help patients describe pain); and finally discusses how the arts can be used as a research tool (e.g., using creative methods in qualitative research to help deepen understanding of lived experience). We hope that this Newsletter will be informative and interesting, whether you have a passion for the arts yourself, whether you are interested in working with people therapeutically, or interested in conducting psychological research in your careers (in which case an understanding of how the arts can help will be useful!).

Link to Newsletter. 

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“Close Reading, Open Minds: Literature for Health and Wellbeing”: New Report

August, 2022

In 2021, Christine Ramsey-Wade, Samuel Rogers, David Greenham, and Nicola Holt led a project called “Close Reading, Open Minds: Literature for Health and Wellbeing”. This received a cross-faculty award through UWE’s “ACE–HAS Connecting Research” scheme. The researchers organized a virtual symposium, aiming to establish a network of collaborators between arts and science disciplines. The event was designed with the following broad aims in mind:

  • Distinguishing different types of reading as a measurable factor in health and wellbeing;

  • Examining kinds of psychological attention in reading, including mindfulness and flow states;

  • Exploring literary form/technique in wellbeing contexts.


An eighteen-page report of findings and next steps is available to read here.

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New evaluation report: Art on referral in primary and secondary care

July, 2022

We are delighted to be able to share our evaluation report in collaboration with Donna Baber at Fresh Arts (Southmead hospital) and CreativeShift (Julie Matthews, Rebecca Lines and Barbara Disney), funded by the Arts Council. This reports on the impact of remote art on referral on the wellbeing of participants during the coronavirus pandemic (from June 2020 to February 2021).


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4th International Social Prescribing Network Conference

March, 2022

Nicola Holt gave a paper on art on prescription, focusing on the impact of remote art on prescription, during periods of lockdowns during the pandemic, on the wellbeing and loneliness of participants. 

You can read the conference abstract here, and find recordings of talks from the conference here

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Play: Monthly research meeting

February, 2022

Rachel Davis and Anneliese Paul from DRAW gave us an inspiring update on their research project with art students and Bower Ashton campus about PLAY. They are developing a play manifesto to remind students and us all about the benefits of play, and have so far being using creative methods to learn what play means to art students. We can't wait to learn about the results!

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Healing art of Kashmir: Webinar

January, 2022

This webinar explored how the arts are being used to support child wellbeing in a school in Kashmir, India. A series of short presentations narrated the processes and outcomes of ‘the Art of Healing’. Discussions were led by academics, artists, and local stakeholders who gave insights into the role of the arts and art therapy to support healing and mental wellbeing for young people living in conflict-affected areas. 

You can learn more about the webinar, and watch the recording on the project website.

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Drawing in Hospitals – what is the role of mark making in contemporary healthcare?

December, 2021

Artists from UWE (Anouk Mercier, Lucy Ward and Gary Embury) and psychologist, Nicola Holt, discussed the use of drawing in healthcare and hospitals from different perspectives in an event hosted by Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. You can find a recording of the webinar here, and a copy of Nicola's slides here. 

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From Thriving to Surviving

November 29, 2021

The DRAW team were pleased to present a poster at the Sexual Violence & Abuse Health Research Network day with Pippa Grace, the lead artist: "Surviving to Thriving: The impact of an arts intervention on the wellbeing of women who have experienced sexual violence". You can find the abstract here

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Arts & Health Journal: New issue

November 1, 2021

As the new Co-Editor-in Chief of Arts & Health, Dr Nicola Holt is excited to announce the latest issue, with articles on poetic inquiry and trans-identities, dance and mobility, singing and wellbeing, arts activities and dementia, and more!

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Art, flow and wellbeing

September 08, 2021

Dr Nicola Holt was honoured to give an invited talk at the Holburne Museum, Bath, on making art and the flow state. 

You can see a copy of the slides here

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Scoping the barriers to and benefits of engagement with the visual arts for young people who identify as BAME

August 18, 2021

We are pleased to have received internal funding from the FET/HAS Connecting Research Pilot Project Scheme 2021-22 to examine perceptions of and barriers to engagement with art-on-prescription and arts/community spaces amongst young people (focusing on BAME groups as an underserved population). 

Project team:

  • Dr Nicola Holt

  • Dr Michael Buser

  • Prof. Julie Mytton

  • Dr Trang Tran

  • Dr Katie McClymont

  • Joanna Bushell

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Culture, Health and Wellbeing International Conference Presentations

June 21, 2021

We are proud to be able to co-present four papers on arts on prescription with our team at the 2021 Culture, Health and Wellbeing International Conference.

Copies of conference abstracts can be found in the links below:

Holt, N., Elliot, C., & Jenkinson, E. (2021). “Nobody can fail at it, everybody succeeds”: Perceived processes of change following attendance at an arts on prescription programme.


White, E., Holt, N., & Jenkinson, E. (2021). “It’s not therapy; I’m not a therapist”: Exploring the perspectives of Arts Health Practitioners on how arts on referral can improve psychosocial outcomes in adults with health conditions.

Zalantai, B., Holt, . . N., Chase, M., & Jenkinson, E. (2021). A mixed-methods evaluation of the longitudinal impact of arts on prescription. 

Grace, P., Holt, N., & Halliwell, E. (2021). An evaluation of the impact of an arts intervention on the wellbeing of women who have experienced sexual violence. 

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Exquisite Corpse intervention 

July 17, 2021

We are pleased to be evaluating the impact of a postal art intervention, delivered by CreativeShift, on the wellbeing of participants during the Coronavirus lockdown. 

You can see an online exhibition of the artwork produced at the Arnolfini website

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Wellbeing Vox Pops

April 19, 2021

This project is a collaboration between Clare Johnson (DRAW) and Keiko Higashi (Arnolfini). The film brings together a series of UWE academics and artists to critically engage with the concept of ‘wellbeing’ in the context of the Health & Wellbeing exhibitions on show at Arnolfini from winter 2020-spring 2021: A Picture of Health and Jo Spence: from fairytales to phototherapy. The aim is to critically examine ‘wellbeing’ from a range of different disciplinary perspectives. The film was made in February-March 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic and in the context of increasing interest in the overlap between creative arts and health and wellbeing. To access the Wellbeing Vox Pops click here

For information on the exhibition and a walkthrough of A Picture of Health | Women Photographers from The Hyman Collection click here

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Early Career Research Award: Poetry and Wellbeing

May 01, 2021

Dr Samuel Rogers received a Vice Chancellor’s Early Career Research Award for focusing on poetry and wellbeing. The outputs from this award are expected to be:

  1. A published literature review exploring the value of poetry from an inter-disciplinary perspective.

  2. A small empirical study, using poetry reading groups formed of UWE staff and students.

  3. A report on this study.

Good luck Samuel!

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Close Reading: Open Minds

March 25, 2021

Led by Christine Ramsey-Wade and Samuel Rogers, we held an online networking symposium for scholars interested in the wellbeing benefits of reading, with a keynote speech from Prof. Philip Davis.


Our starting point was gaps in existing knowledge. Literary scholars know that reading has wellbeing value, but don’t have a valid method for measuring this; health scientists know that arts-based interventions work, but are yet to align this understanding with specialist literary analysis.  

With this event, we hoped to stimulate new research by bringing together experts from literature disciplines, health sciences, and related fields such as the medical humanities. The event was designed with the following aims in mind: 

  • Distinguishing different types of reading as a measurable factor in health and wellbeing;  

  • Examining states of psychological attention in reading, including mindfulness and peak flow experience; 

  • Exploring literary form/technique in wellbeing contexts.  

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Thriving Communities Fund

March 20, 2021

We are excited to be working with Creative Shift on a Thriving Communities Fund Project to help evaluate the wellbeing benefits of six programmes of arts and health, nature based and physical activity to help communities cope with the impact of the pandemic.

Thriving Communities Fund projects | National Academy for Social Prescribing (socialprescribingacademy.org.uk)