• 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.
    • Understanding the independent dancer: roles, development and success

      Farrer, Rachel; Aujla, Imogen (Edinburgh University Press, 2016-11-01)
      Little research has been published about the varied role of the independent dancer. The aim of this study was to provide insight into the work independent dancers undertake and how their careers change over time. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 14 independent dancers. Content analysis revealed that the dancers had multifaceted careers that relied on both formal and informal activities, and varied according to three distinct stages (early, middle, late). The experiences reported by the dancers indicated that the realities of the independent dancer's role are not sufficiently recognised or supported within the industry.
    • Values, attributes and practices of dance artists in inclusive dance talent development contexts

      Urmston, Elsa; Aujla, Imogen (Taylor & Francis, 2019-09-17)
      There is a paucity of research focused on understanding the qualities which underpin dance artists’ practice in working with talented young dancers with disabilities. This study investigated what informs how dance artists work in inclusive dance talent development contexts. Four dance class observations were conducted to provide evidence of dance artists’ qualities in practice. Six dance artists participated in semi-structured interviews. Thematic data analysis revealed four categories: the dance persona; values; attributes; and practices of dance artists. The dance persona was typified by characteristics such as being human, humility, altruism, and confidence. Artists’ values and attributes included celebrating difference, aspiring towards equality and relationality. Their practices were exemplified by varied differentiation strategies and an emphasis on reflection. These findings provide new insight into what drives artists working with dancers with and without disabilities, and aids better understanding of best practice in this context.
    • Within- and between-person predictors of disordered eating attitudes among male and female dancers: findings from the UK Centres for Advanced Training

      Nordin-Bates, Sanna M.; Schwarz, Johanna F.A.; Quested, Eleanor; Cumming, Jennifer; Aujla, Imogen; Redding, Emma; Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences; Curtin University; University of Birmingham; University of Bedfordshire; et al. (Elsevier, 2016-07-09)
      Objectives This longitudinal study examined potential predictors of disordered eating attitudes (DEA) for male and female dancers, with a particular focus on whether environmental predictors (perceptions of task- and ego-involving motivational climate) added significantly to the prediction made by intrapersonal predictor variables (demographics/training, self-esteem, perfectionism). Methods and Design Young dancers (N = 597, 73.4% female, M = 14.69 years old, SD = 2.04) from UK Centres for Advanced Training completed questionnaires 1–5 times over a two-year period, depending on how long they were enrolled at their centre. Multilevel modelling was employed to examine both between- and within-person predictors of DEA. Results For females, lower self-esteem and higher perfectionistic concerns were significant between-person predictors of DEA. Increased levels of perfectionistic strivings and perfectionistic concerns were significant within-person predictors. For males, increased perfectionistic concerns and perceptions of the motivational climate as more task- and ego-involving were significant between-person predictors of DEA. No significant within-person predictors emerged. Conclusions Findings contribute to the literature on DEA in aesthetic activities and the debate concerning the (mal-)adaptiveness of perfectionistic strivings. They also raise questions about how environmental aspects should best be conceptualized and measured in studies of this type. In particular, however, results demonstrate that the predictors of DEA among males and females may not be the same, and suggest that future interventions may therefore need to be sex-specific.
    • ‘Women’s tales’: postfeminist adventures into consumerville

      Caoduro, Elena; University of Bedfordshire (Vita e Pensiero, 2017-04-30)
      This article examines the project ‘Women’s Tales’, an on-going series of short films that fashion designer Miuccia Prada commissioned from international female directors, among them Lucrecia Martel, Ava DuVernay and Agnès Varda. By situating this endeavour in relation to female agency, authorial expressivity, and consumerism, it is argued that the project conforms to postfeminist media culture for its celebration of feminine bonds, make-over strategies and the use of luxury as a tool for pleasure and empowerment. As a series of fashion films at the interstices of different systems: advertisement and art, film and online media, experimental and mainstream practices, ‘Women’s Tales’ occasionally contain some critical potential, but struggle to challenge existing fashion paradigms. This article questions the postfeminist ethos that the project espouses, claiming that through its in-between, interstitial status, ‘Women’s Tales’ destabilise representational conventions without really disrupting fashions’ foundation.
    • Yielding as an ecologically sensitive and somatic practice

      Ashley, Tamara (2019-03-20)
      These yielding practices are designed to anchor your perception of nature in your senses. They enable you to focus on different senses in the natural environment and observe the emerging relationships. Most practices in this Toolkit are available as recordings, which you can listen to through your device or headphones. However, to benefit most from the sensory immersion in a natural environment that the yielding practice advocates, we recommend that you read the PDF script in advance (link below), print it, and then go outdoors with this score as your guide. Take your time with each invitation: perhaps only try 1 or 2 of the practices at first. Repetition of the practices can be helpful in observing changing perceptual and experiential relationships with nature over time.