• Sustainable arts and health: the role of a university in facilitating an intergenerational, interdisciplinary community arts project

      Farrer, Rachel; Douse, Louise Emma; Aujla, Imogen; University of Bedfordshire (University of Georgia, 2022-03-31)
      There is growing interest in the use of intergenerational practice in arts and health to support psychological well-being and community cohesion. However, little research has addressed the facilitation of such projects, or how higher education institutions can support them. Here we examine the role of the University of Bedfordshire in Generations Dancing, an 11-week dance and photography project for older adults and young people in Bedford. Focus groups were conducted with the older adults, young people, artists, independent living centre leaders, and schoolteachers involved. Inductive content analysis highlighted the university’s role in brokering between community sectors, promoting the project, and offering resources. These factors appeared to play a significant part in enabling the project to develop beyond what smaller organizations working independently might have achieved, and in facilitating a sustainable model for its perpetuation.
    • Understanding the impact of an intergenerational arts and health project: a study into the psychological well-being of participants, carers and artists

      Farrer, Rachel; Aujla, Imogen; Jenkins, Lindsay K.; University of Bedfordshire; Coventry University (Elsevier, 2021-04-18)
      There is growing interest in arts practices in relation to public health, including their potential to support psychological well-being. This study sought to understand the impact of Hear and Now, an intergenerational arts and health project, upon indicators of psychological well-being among all groups involved: young people, older people with a diagnosis of dementia and their carers and partners and the project's artistic team. This was a descriptive exploratory qualitative study, using focus groups and observation as data collection methods. Study participants were 65 people representing the four groups participating in the 2019 Hear and Now project: older adults living with a diagnosis of dementia, their carers and partners, young people and a team of professional artists and facilitators. Of these, 27 participated in one or more of seven focus groups. Participants were asked about their previous engagement with music and dance, thoughts about the intergenerational element of the project and other aspects of their experiences that related to indicators of well-being. In order to investigate the project's impact on participants' well-being, Seligman's PERMA model was adopted, which sets out five indicators of well-being: positive emotions, engagement, positive relationships, meaning and achievement/accomplishment. Experiences relating to all five areas of the PERMA model were evidenced by all groups in relation to their involvement in the project. Additional health benefits were also cited by some, as well as enhanced perceptions of other members of the project cohort. The findings support existing literature that intergenerational and arts activities can be beneficial for individuals' psychological health. Experiences relating to all five dimensions of the PERMA model of well-being (positive emotion, engagement, positive relationships, meaning, achievement/accomplishment) were cited by the four participant groups, which suggests examining the impact of such projects on all project collaborators is worthy of further study. Understanding the impact these projects can have on the various groups involved will enable artistic and healthcare communities to better collaborate and value each other's practices.