Calm and collected Museums and galleries: the UK’s untapped wellbeing resource?

Art Fund (2019): Calm and collected Museums and galleries: the UK’s untapped wellbeing resource?. The research that informs this UK report shows that the British people are anxious about workload, financial situations, health issues and social isolation and that they struggle to find enough time to pursue activities that could contribute to their wellbeing, such as visiting museums and galleries. The results of two stages of research – a UK-wide representative survey, and a qualitative social study in which participants were encouraged to visit museums and galleries once a week with a National Art Pass and keep a diary of their activities – suggest that engaging with the nation’s art collections more frequently can help improve their wellbeing. It is an activity that can bring people together, and over time it can become part of an approach to life that people may find healthier and more balanced. Overall, both the quantitative survey and the qualitative social study suggest that museums and galleries are a significant untapped resource at our disposal that can help people achieve a greater sense of wellbeing when they take time out for themselves.

Cultural Heritage for Inclusive Growth

Lewis, Rosanna (June 2018): Cultural Heritage for Inclusive Growth. This report explores the notion of inclusive growth, and the role that heritage can play in contributing to social inclusion and economic growth for sustainable development. It is intended to explore and develop a theory behind the notion that cultural heritage can help build inclusive growth, and to share this approach with the UK sector and countries overseas, as a way of putting UK cultural relations into practice. The research that informs this report was originally conducted for a British Council bid into the UK Government’s Empowerment Fund under the Emerging Economies 3 strand. In partnership with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the initial concept examined the link between heritage and tourism to contribute to international development goals and UK soft power. Following a UK sector consultation, it was clear that there was a need to widen the scope, and focus on social inclusion and local economic development through heritage. One of the immediate outcomes that the Empowerment Fund aimed to achieve was ‘inclusive and sustainable growth’. The concept therefore shifted to a new topic: Cultural Heritage for Inclusive Growth. During this initial research and bid preparation process, the Empowerment Fund was suspended. However, having already undertaken extensive consultation and research overseas, there was the desire to collate the feedback and findings and share the results.

Measuring Socially Engaged Practice: a toolkit for museums

The Museum Association (2018): Measuring Socially Engaged Practice: a toolkit for museums. The toolkit looks at a range of different quantitative evaluation techniques, including closed questions, personal data, range statements, and visual aids, and qualitative techniques such as interviews and questionnaires, observations, and testimonials. The toolkit also helps museums assess the ethical considerations around the methods they choose to evaluate the social impact of their work. It is designed to assist museums to find the right approach for their participants and organisation. Each section can stand alone and includes examples from real organisations who have undertaken this type of work. This toolkit is not designed to evaluate current levels of socially engaged practice or help develop priorities for delivering socially engaged practice. However, it will help when designing an approach to measure the social impact of a particular piece of short-term or project work. There is no one correct approach to measuring social impact and each organisation must find the best approach for each piece of work.

Cultural Participation and Wellbeing

"la Caixa" Foundation (2018): Cultural Participation and Wellbeing. Culture plays an important role in constructing and consolidating the bases for social cohesion and inclusion and for individual and collective wellbeing. The fourth issue of the Dossier from the Social Observatory of "la Caixa" analyses the factors that determine the cultural participation of citizens and reflects on how to guarantee equal conditions for such participation. The monograph presents indicators, an interview, a book review and original research based on official statistics in Spain and Europe. It contains data and arguments on the social and the economic value of cultural assets that can enable and strengthen the cultural sector's advocacy actions.

EU funding for cultural work with refugees: current practice and lessons learned

Rasoul Nejadmehr (2017): Research for CULT Committee - EU funding for cultural work with refugees: current practice and lessons learned. This in-depth analysis is an overview of publically funded cultural projects with refugees as target group. These projects are analysed in the light of two interconnected challenges in contemporary Europe, the challenge of good governance of cultural diversity and refugees’ aspiration to a good life in Europe. It asks the fundamental question of what it is to live a good life together in Europe today and how cultural interventions can contribute to this aspiration.

Why cultural work with refugees

Alison Phipps (2017): Research for CULT Committee – Why cultural work with refugees. Cultural work with refugees has a long history. It is a contentious area. Instrumental approaches to cultural work with refugees raise significant issues. This briefing outlines the contentions, provides a theoretical basis for the work, gives leading examples of cultural work with refugees, including work that promotes intercultural understanding and work that promotes fear. It outlines key findings and recommendations, which have a substantial focus on ethical engagement, aesthetic importance and societal wellbeing.

Accessible museums

Swiss Museums Association (2017): Norms and standards - Accessible museums. Because museums serve the whole of society the Swiss MA wants to support museums in improving access for people with disabilities and encouraging their cultural participation. The publication is available in German, French and Italian.

A Toolkit for Museums Working Towards Inclusion

Cultural Heritage Without Borders/Michéle Taylor (2016): Disability - A Toolkit for Museums Working Towards Inclusion: The toolkit was designed to support ongoing work to make museums in the Western Balkans more inclusive, accessible and welcoming to people with disabilities. The comprehensive publication offers general advice, detailed descriptions for specific groups (e.g. the blind and particially-sighted) or areas (e.g. your museum website), examples and short case studies from different museums of the Western Balkans. Additionally, checklists, guidelines to write an access guide or proposals and evaluation reports for funding, as well as advice on how to involve and consult people with disabilities in the development of accessible and inclusive museums and experiences and tips for partnerships make up the second half of the publication. The toolkit is completed with materials from different museums and links for further information.

Culture, Cities and Identity in Europe

European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) (2016): Culture, Cities and Identity in Europe: In the foreword Luca Jahier, President of the Various Interests Group, European Economic and Social Committee formulates the key questions of the study: Can Culture help us to overcome the systemic, political and identity crises which are currently shaking the European Union? What role can Culture and Cities play in strengthening social and territorial cohesion, in engaging in dialogue and building trust in our complex societies? Can Culture bring Hope, New Narratives and a second Renaissance to Europe?
The study examines the impact of and relationship between culture cities, their regeneration and development. The argument of whether culture is best treated in terms of its own importance or as a contributor to other social and economic benefits is discussed. The recommendations request that the EU recognises cultural rights as fundamental to human development; acknowledges culture as a necessity for sustainable development; supports exchange between cultures for social and economic development; and empowers cities’ decisions on culture to shape our future.

Managing Art Projects with Societal Impact

MAPSI (2016): Managing Art Projects with Societal Impact. Study Book for Students, Stakeholders and Researchers: The Study Book by the Managing Art Projects with Societal Impact project (MAPSI) offers ways to develop own strategies of managing such art projects. Through analysing current practices, skills and competences needed for successful interactions between arts and society readers can reflect on their own skill sets. Furthermore the publication offers multiple perspectives, theoretical approaches, case studies and tools that are left for the reader to rate as applicable or not.
MAPSI also provided a summarised version of the Study Book: "Managing Art Projects with Societal Impact - in a Nutshell".

Initiatives of museums in Europe in connection to migrants and refugees

NEMO (last updated September 2016): Collection of initiatives of museums in Europe in connection to migrants and refugees: The document offers an overview of individual museum projects fostering inclusion and welcoming of refugees and migrants in Europe. It also includes a list of EU funded projects and guidelines and umbrella organisations who support projects and initiatives on the matter. The list is growing regularly with new additions.

Museums' 4 Values - Values 4 Museums (NEMO)

Museums play an essential role in European life. In the 2015 publication "Museums' 4 Values - Values 4 Museums" the Network of European Museum Organisations (NEMO) presents four core values museums preserve and disseminate on behalf of society. The important role of museums in the creation of knowledge and lifelong learning, their impact on communities and their contribution to the economic sector, all of which are stemmed from their vast collections, are emphasised in this publication. These four values are highlighted through examples of museum projects from 22 European countries. The presented exemplary museum projects differ greatly in terms of geography, structure and theme, but emphasise how museums serve their visitors, in particular, and society in general.

Pride, Joy and Surplus Value - Volunteers in Museums

The Nordic Centre of Heritage Learning and Creativity (NCK) published this report as a result of a study on volunteers in five museums in Sweden, Norway and Denmark. As part of the Pride, Joy and Surplus Value project (PJS), which seeks to encourage, promote and facilitate volunteering at cultural heritage institutions, a survey aimed at volunteers was carried out. NCK and the partnering museums wanted to gain an impression of the general involvement of volunteers, their time-investment, satisfaction with the work and the institutions, the experiences they gained and how it effected them, as well as who the volunteers are (demographic profile). The project also sought to understand volunteering in the different organisations and countries better. Therefore policy documents and frameworks around volunteering by the institutions or countries were studied. The examination resulted in a comparative report. The conclusions were also turned into a toolkit.

A Breath of Freedom

This paper was published in 2014. The Artistic Education Program aims to work the skills and competencies of the individual, psychological and cognitive flexibility, the ability of abstraction and the transcendence of thought marked by the committing of a delinquent act. The publication A Breath of Freedom is one of the goals of the 'Location and Confinement' project, selected by the Ministry of Culture of Brazil. The name of the project gives clues of how we recognize the museum, i.e., as a place of confinement where objects that characterize the individual and humanity are retained. 

Creative Minds in Science

Creative Minds in Science - (2014) A Cleveland Creative Intersection. 

Cultural heritage in building and enhancing social capital

Cultural heritage in building and enhancing social capital - (2013) Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development

Bringing Meaning into Making: How Do Visitors Tag an Exhibit as Social when Visiting a Museum

Dimitra Christidou (2013): Bringing Meaning into Making: How Do Visitors Tag an Exhibit as Social when Visiting a Museum: The article takes a look at the development and implementation of the meaning-making paradigm since its adoption. Meaning-making aims to lead to a better understanding of the museum experience where visitors make meaning about themselves, others, the exhibits and the institutions. Visitors' encounters were micro-analyzed in order to explore the ways and means they use to shape and share their meaning-making. The research identified three major patterns in the action, which is particularly a social activity and very performative.

LEM Report 3: Measuring Museum Impacts

LEM Report 3: Measuring Museum Impacts - (2013) Author: Alessandro Bollo, Edited by Ann Nicholls, Manuela Pereira and Margherita Sani

Case Study: Art Activity in Mental Health Assessment Units for the Elderly

Published: 2012. This case study documents the impact of introducing art activity into two mental health units for the elderly, working both with individuals with dementia and those hospitalised with other mental health conditions. The projects took place between 2009-2012. The broad aims of the pilot action research programme were to: Increase knowledge and understanding of visual arts in galleries across Wales for an audience who may have limited experience of art; Engage and enable participants to feel comfortable and confident in visiting galleries; Promote informal Lifelong Learning opportunities and Enhance the wellbeing of the older people participating and help combat social isolation, loneliness and boredom in older people. 

A Study of Grandparents and Grandchildren as Visitors to Museums and Art Galleries

A Study of Grandparents and Grandchildren as Visitors to Museums and Art Galleries
This paper discusses an aspect of a major research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council of family group visitors to museums and galleries in the UK. Grandparents visiting with their grandchildren are a little understood phenomenon in terms of visitor research and this paper aims to address that balance.

Agenda 2026 - Study on the Future of the Dutch Museum Sector

Agenda 2026 - Study on the Future of the Dutch Museum Sector - (2010) The Netherlands Museums Association. 

Building Arts Audiences

Building Arts Audiences

This series explores the audience-building efforts of four arts groups.

Building a society for all ages: Benefits for older people from learning in museums, libraries and archives

Published: 2009 by Aldridge, Fiona and Dutton, Yanina. The National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) was commissioned by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) to: "identify the current and potential role of museums, libraries and archives in delivering the wider benefits of learning to older people in England."

European Museums in the 21st century. Setting the framework

Politecnico di Milano (Luca Basso Peressut, Francesca Lanzand Gennaro Postiglione) (February 2013): European Museums in the 21st century. Setting the framework: The MeLa Project aimed to investigate the effects of contemporary phenomena such as globalisation, demographic movement, transformation of migration patterns, increased mobility of people, as well as of objects, ideas and knowledge on the form, organisation, mission and status of museums, and to explore the likely potential role of museums in the construction of an inclusive European identity by facilitating mutual understanding and social cohesion. In its third Volume the MelaProject looked at museums as cultural forces for the 21st century with a focus on local museums, war museums and temporary exhibitions.

European Crossroads: Museums, Cultural Dialogue and Interdisciplinary Networks in a Transnational Perspective

MeLa project (Perla Innocenti) (August 2012): Europen Crossroads: Museums, cultural dialogue and interdisciplinary networks in a transnational perspective: This volume collects a series of essays and interviews exploring diverse European perspectives on interdisciplinary collaborations between cultural institutions. International scholars and practitioners discuss cross-domain partnerships, cultural identity and cultural dialogue, heritage for the arts and sciences, European narratives, migration and mobility, and describe real-life case studies in museums, libraries, foundations, associations and online portals

Impact Arts Fab Pad Project

Fab Pad is a programme run by Impact Arts - a national community arts organisation. The main aim of Impact Arts is to use the arts as a catalyst for positive lasting change in people's lives. The SROI report evaluated the outcomes from the last year of a three-year funded programme.

Inspiration, Identity, Learning: The Value of Museums

Inspiration, Identity, Learning: The Value of Museums
Published: 2004 by RCMG. This publication is based on an evaluation of the impact of DCMS/DfES Strategic Commissioning 2003-2004 National/Regional Museum Education Partnerships. The evaluation has focused on the impact on learning of the programme and has also reviewed issues of partnerships and project management.

International conference "From the Margins to the Core?"

Published: 2010. Papers and conference notes (London, 24-26 March 2010), exploring the shifting roles and increasing significance of diversity and equality in contemporary museum and heritage policy and practice. 

Lifelong Learning and Well-being

Lifelong Learning and Well-being
Published: 2009 by MATRIX KNOWLEDGE GROUP. This paper addresses the question of how far learning can contribute to improving well-being. It studies the impact on a person's well-being of engaging in lifelong learning, and uses this relationship to estimate the economic value of lifelong learning.

MAP for ID One Year After - "Map for ID. Experiences, Developments and Reflections

Published: 2010. Edited by Manuela Pereira, Antonella Salvi, Margherita Sani, Luca Villa. Translation by Simona Bodo

MUSEUMS 2020 Discussion paper

July 2012. This Museums 2020 discussion paper sets out the possibilities for museums and seeks your views about how museums could change to better fulfil their potential to play a part in improving people's lives, building communities, strengthening society and protecting the environment. Please read the paper, think about what it says, discuss it with colleagues and send us your views. 

Shifting Perspectives: Opening up museums and galleries to blind and partially sighted people

Published: 2011. CultureLink was a joint programme by RNIB and the MLA to enable blind and partially sighted people to have greater access to museums and heritage sites and play a greater role in the Cultural Olympiad. This publication identifies approaches to key aspects of service delivery which can help improve access to museums and galleries for blind and partially sighted people.

Museums in an Age of Migrations

Published: 2012. A series of essays that offer a starting point for the MeLa Project, reflecting on the role of museums and heritage in relation to the contemporary global and multicultural world. International scholars and researchers interrogate themselves on issues of history, memory, identity and citizenship, and explore their effects on the organization, functioning, communication strategies, exhibition design and architecture of museums.

Museums in the Digital Age and Museums and the Development of Active Citizenship

Museums in the Digital Age and Museums and the Development of Active Citizenship - (2014) NEMO's Publication from the 2013 Annual Conference in Bucharest, Romania. 

Museums and galleries as performative sites for lifelong learning: constructions, deconstructions and reconstructions of audience positions in museum and gallery education

Museums and galleries as performative sites for lifelong learning: constructions, deconstructions and reconstructions of audience positions in museum and gallery education
Published: 2006 by Illeris, Helene. In recent years community-based voluntary adult education has been under increasing pressure from neo-liberal discourses concerning the problems and benefits of globalization. Learning in museums traditionally connects to 'soft' humanist ideals of lifelong learning such as popular enlightenment, personal development and active citizenship, similar to those of the Scandinavian tradition of youth and adult education.

"Measuring Cultural Participation": new handbook released

"Measuring Cultural Participation": new handbook released
The handbook "Measuring Cultural Participation", a collaboration between the UNESCO Institute for Statistics and the Fitzcarraldo Foundation, has recently been published. It is supposed to serve as a state-of-the-art reference guide and a tool to support the design of surveys about cultural participation.

Museums Change Lives

Museums Change Lives
In the report, the Museums Association explains how museums enhance well-being, create better places and inspire people and ideas. It also provides a guide on how institutions can improve their social impact.

More than worth it

More than worth it
Publication by the Netherlands Museums Association about the social significance of museums.

Online Journal: Museum and Society

Museum and Society is an independent peer reviewed journal which brings together new writing by academics and museum professionals on the subject of museums. It publishes articles covering a wide range of social science, humanities and practitioner research including: Museums in society; Museums, identity and difference; Museums and social inclusion; Access provision and practice; Museums and education; Politics and display; Heritage studies.

Report on audience building by EENC

Report on audience building by EENC
The European Expert Network on Culture (EENC) has just issued a report exploring the role of audience building and the future of the "Creative Europe" Programme. The document gathers trends and examples in different cultural sectors and also provides policy recommendations.

Representing Museum Technologies

Representing Museum Technologies
Published: August 2012 by MeLa Project. The use of technologies in the context of museums and cultural institutions is a topic that helps bring a focus to the myriad of representational, interactive and informational forms these cultural milieux allow.

Social Design in Museums - The Psychology of Visitor Studies

Social Design in Museums - The Psychology of Visitor Studies
Social Design in Museums brings together a selection of Stephen Bitgood's key essays, complete with contemporary updates, resulting in a practical, comprehensive reference handbook for professionals in those specialisms which contribute to effective museum communication: including design, learning, curatorship, visitor studies and marketing.

Social Media to a Social Museum - Jasper Visser

Social Media to a Social Museum - Jasper Visser - (2013) Author Jasper Visser, Conference Article, Östersund. 

The Australian Museum Audience Research Unit

The Australian Museum Audience Research Unit

The Australian Museum Audience Research Unit undertakes a broad range of visitor research and evaluation projects.

The Social and Economic Value of Cultural Heritage

The Social and Economic Value of Cultural Heritage - (2013) By Cornelia Dümcke and Mikhail Gnedovsky. An EENC Paper. 

Towards a better participation of seniors in education and culture

Published: 2012. The publication presents a summary of the results achieved within the ASLECT project throughout the two years of its implementation. Cultural and educational professionals who aim to develop the educational dimension of their organizations, to run activities and programmes for and with seniors and to contribute to their better integration in the community will find our publication a source of information as well as, we believe, of inspiration.

UCL Museum Wellbeing Measures Toolkit

UCL Museum Wellbeing Measures Toolkit was published in 2014. The UCL Museum Wellbeing Measures Toolkit is a set of scales of measurement used to assess levels of wellbeing arising from participation in museum and gallery activities that has been trialled across the UK. The Toolkit has been designed to help people involved in running in-house or outreach museum projects and to help evaluate the impact of this work on the psychological wellbeing of their audiences. The Toolkit is flexible in its application and can be used to evaluate the impact of a one-off activity or programme of events. The Toolkit was produced by researchers from University College London (UCL) Museums & Public Engagement and funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and consists of two Generic Wellbeing Questionnaires, four Wellbeing Measures Umbrellas and a separate sheet for comments.

Visitor Studies Association

Visitor Studies Association
Visitor Studies Association is a professional organisation focusing on all facets of the visitor experience in museums, zoos, nature centres, visitor centres, historic sites, parks and other informal learning settings.

Whose cake is it anyway?

Published: 2011 by Lynch B. T.. A collaborative investigation into engagement and participation in 12 museums and galleries in the UK' presents findings from work led by Dr Bernadette Lynch exploring how far institutions were truly engaged with communities in their area. These were very different types of museum - from small independent to large local authority to national museums. Commissioned by Paul Hamlyn Foundation, an independent grant-making organisation. Their mission is to help people to realise their potential and enjoy a better quality of life, now and in the future.

Resource: Indicator Framework on Culture and Democracy (IFCD)

Indicator Framework on Culture and Democracy (IFCD), developed since 2013 by the Council of Europe, in collaboration with the Hertie School of Governance (Berlin) and support from the European Cultural Foundation and member states. The IFCD is a tool for assessing and optimising cultural policies on the basis of reliable, comparative data and for examining links between culture and democracy within and among Council of Europe member states. The IFCD collects data on culture and democracy starting with a set of dimensions, or analytical lenses, for each domain, further broken down into one or more components (currently 17), each comprising a number of indicators (currently 41) that at the moment summarise more than 170 variables on 37 Council of Europe member states. The current IFCD is a beta-version.