We provide action research and evaluation services to social art programmes, museums and other organisations engaging communities for civic renewal.
Roskilde University (Centre for Social Entrepreneurship and School of Lifelong Learning)
University of Stavanger (Department of Health Studies)
Murdoch University, Western Australia
University of Mondragón
McGill University, Quebec
Co-Director, Professor of Psychosocial Welfare, School of Social Work
Senior Research Assistant, School of Social Work, Care and Community
Details of our 2019 events will be publicised soon on our Twitter and Facebook accounts
Bennett, J, Froggett, L, Kenning, G, Manley, J, and Muller, L, (2019) Memory Loss and Scenic Experience: An Arts Based Investigation. Forum: Qualitative Social Research Sozialforschung, 20 (1). ISSN 1438-5627 http://dx.doi.org/10.17169/fqs-20.1.3126
Dooris, M. T, Farrier, A, and Froggett, L. (2018) Wellbeing: The Challenge of ‘Operationalising’ an Holistic Concept within a Reductionist Public Health Programme. Perspectives in Public Health, 138 (2). pp. 93-99. ISSN 1757-9139
Froggett, L. (2018) Participant Experience in Art-Sport: Additive? Interactive? Transformative? in Sport in Society, Published online: 21 Feb 2018. https://doi.org/10.1080/17430437.2018.1430480
Manley, Julian and Roy, Alastair Neil (2017) The visual matrix: a psycho-social method for discovering unspoken complexities in social care practice. Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society, 22 (2). pp. 132-153. ISSN 1088-0763
Muller, L., Froggett, L., Bennett, J. (2018) Emergent knowledge in the third space of art-science, Leonardo 0, Vol 0, pp. 1-11. https://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/leon_a_01690
Roy, Alastair Neil (2016) Learning on the move: exploring work with vulnerable young men through the lens of movement. Applied Mobilities, 1 (2). pp. 207-218. ISSN 2380-0127
Roy, Alastair Neil and Buchanan, Julian (2016) The Paradoxes of Recovery Policy: Exploring the Impact of Austerity and Responsibilisation for the Citizenship Claims of People with Drug Problems in Social Policy & Administration. ISSN 01445596
News and Information related to current strands of research in PRU
Psychosocial Research Unit - Substance Misuse Strand
We have three ongoing projects in this strand. Together these projects demonstrate the explicit value of art congruent methods in generating new understandings as well as new forms of knowledge about social issues and stigmatised populations, because they allow different forms of thought and expression than are possible in other social science methods.
The Psychosocial Research Unit has recently completed two projects in its socially engaged arts strand. Cultural Attendance and Public Mental Health was commissioned by Manchester City Council (MCC) to study a pilot for its Health Trainer Service that reflects MCC’s move towards integrated health and cultural provision. The programme enabled Health Trainers to make full use of the city’s rich cultural offer when working with people with complex psychosocial and health problems. The study focused on the obstacles and opportunities in working across what have traditionally been sharply drawn boundaries. Health and cultural sector staff faced challenges in learning to work with one another, but significant benefits for service users eventually emerged. The study concluded that there were gains all round from incorporating cultural attendance into health provision and that further training and support would be needed to consolidate the new work cultures and practices that the programme initiated.
The contribution of public art to citizenship, identity and sense of place and belonging is an issue of hot debate now that prolonged austerity has impacted on resources available for commissions. Art in the public sphere is increasingly expected to respond to social agendas, (effectively doing ‘social’ work) and to demonstrate social impact. Researchers and evaluators have reached for social science methods ill-suited to capturing artistic value. As so often happens what counts is what can be counted – or at the very least described, missing the significance of artistic quality, and the public’s emotional and aesthetic response to an artwork, as well as its cultural and political meaning and significance.
The project was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council under the Cultural Value programme, and has been tested in North Devon in relation to Damien Hirst’s Verity and Alex Hartley’s Nowhereisland. We have held visual matrix workshops in Bristol, London, Leeds and Birmingham for arts professionals and academics. The next step will be to develop the method in completely different contexts. From November we will be using the visual matrix to investigate transitions in old age from working life to retirement, from mental health to dementia, and from life to death. For this we will be collaborating with partners in Norway, Sweden and Denmark, funded by the Norwegian Research Council.
PRU is a primarily a research team but its members contribute to undergraduate and post – teaching in the areas of our research expertise. We lead a Psychosocial Studies Course for the Social Work degree and undertake – MA and PhD supervision.
The aims of the Psychosocial Research Unit are:
PRU is always looking to expand its interdisciplinary work with other Schools and Faculties. Psychosocial Studies is inherently multidisciplinary.
Other UCLan Research Centres:
Connect Centre for International Research on New Approaches to Prevent Violence and Harm
Centre for Citizenship and Community
The Centre for Children and Young People's Participation
Healthy Settings Unit
2014 Mobile Citizen’s Pilot Project: Mobile phone technology to train young citizen journalists (£9500 Big Lottery)
Mobile Citizens is a pilot project delivered by Kids Company working in partnership with photographer Mark Chilvers and Dr Alastair Roy from the University of Central Lancashire’s Psychosocial Research Unit. Mark and Alastair worked in collaboration with a group of young people, supporting them to develop skills in citizen-photo-journalism and encouraging them to report on their own lives and communities. The project will be followed by an exhibition and a publication in October 2014.
Public Arts and Local Civic Engagement, part of the Cultural Value programme funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
PRU, in partnership with the Bristol based Visual Arts Organisation, Situations, has been engaged with a study that assesses local community engagement in Ilfracombe with two public artworks: Nowhereisland, by Alex Hartley and Verity, by Damien Hirst. In doing so, we are using innovative visually centred and creative methodology (the Visual Matrix). The project aims both to understand the aesthetic and emotional communications between community and artwork and also to develop the Visual Matrix as a methodology that might be developed for use in evaluations by academics and practitioners in the field of public art.
Researching recovery from drug and alcohol addiction with visual methods, funded by the Richard Benjamin Trust.
This programme aims to understand how the use of visual methods, in particular the Visual Matrix and various ways of applying the method, can be applied in the understanding of the complex situations of people in their recovery from substance misuse. The methodology will be applied in different ways and with different groups at different stages of recovery and in various geographical locations.
Evaluation of The Mens’ Room
The Mens' Room provides help and support for young men who may be defined as having severe and multiple disadvantages. The research will look at engagement and attitudes to services with a particular focus on routes into engaging with the Mens’ Room. The young men who engage with The Men’s Room to be instrumental in the design and delivery of this research, which is to be explored creatively, thus fitting with the ethos of The Mens Room.
Landscapes of Helping: Exploring Low Intensity Support. Funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) as part of their Risk, Relationships and Trust funding programme. January 2013 – December 2014
This research focuses on the psycho-social dynamics of giving and receiving of ‘low intensity support’ i.e. informal acts of kindness, neighbourliness and support in everyday (non-‘helping’) settings. The research is being conducted in a semi-rural locality in the North West of England. We are exploring how helping acts and relationships are mediated and negotiated and we will identify some place-based and contextual factors which facilitate or inhibit it. We will use psycho-social frameworks and concepts to help understand issues such as trust, anxiety, fear and uncertainty and how these are mediated by individual biographies, social context and place. In turn, we will consider factors which help to nurture and cultivate ‘landscapes of helping’.
Evaluation of Addict: Portraits of Recovery
ADDICT aims to explore the processes of recovery from drug & alcohol addiction through collective enquiry and collaborative discourse between a Curator, leading Addiction Psychologist; and an International Lens Based Artist together with people at differing stages of recovery. Contemporary art as a form of engagement and dialogue within recovery, a catalyst for change and a mechanism for public discourse/dissemination will be explored.
Future Perfect :Evaluation of Public arts commissioning programme
In 2011 Bristol City Council decided to devolve a series of Section 106 funds to Neighbourhood Committees. The Future Perfect programme is a result of this decision and is being financed by money which has been ring-fenced for the arts. The project involves an on-going community engagement programme. The aim is to ensure that residents of Hengrove and Stockwood have the information and opportunities they need to decide what kind of public art they want in the ward, and have a say in how the money is spent.
2011-2015 System level recovery processes for substance misusers in Lancashire: Developing an Evidence Base for Recovery Oriented Drug and Alcohol Treatment Services (Economic and Social Research Council and Technology Strategy Board. £220,000)
2012-4 Cultural Attendance and Public Mental Health, (PI, with Alastair Roy Co-I, £18,500 Manchester MBC)
2012-2013 New Media and Street Drinking (PI, with Alastair Roy £34,000 AHRC)
2011-2013 Imove/Cultural Olympiad programme evaluation (PI, with Alastair Roy (Co-I) (lead field researcher), Sue Hacking (Co-I) and Julian Manley (Co-I) £45,000 Arts Council England, Legacy Trust UK)
2013 Surviving in Manchester: Narratives on Movement from the Men’s Room ( Co-I with Alastair Roy (PI) Lankelly Chase Foundation
2013 Views of recovery Oriented Practice among Staff at INSPIRE North Lancashire, (with Alastair Roy (PI) £9900 CRI)
2013 Pilot for Mondragon Cooperative Culture Study (£2000 funded visit with Julian Manley, Otalora Training Institute)
2012 Creating Cultural Citizenship. (UCLan co-ordinator £15,000 Connected Communities consortium development grant AHRC)
2012 Literature Review: Community Arts Evaluations (Co-I with Alastair Roy (PI) and Julian Manley (Co-I), 4000€ Arts Council Ireland, Trinity College Dublin, Create Ireland)
2011 It’s a Goal, Football and Mental Health Evaluation, (with Helen Spandler (PI) and Alastair Roy Co-I, 25,000 North West Health Development
2011 Evaluation of Healthy Spaces Programme (Co-I with Alastair Roy (PI) and Julian Manley, £6000 Arts Council England)
2010 – 2011 Socially Engaged Arts: methodologies for the study of practice (PI with Alastair Roy (Co-I), £45,000 Gulbenkian Foundation)
2009-2011 New Model Arts Institutions and Public Engagement. (PI, with Alastair Roy (Co-I and R. Little (Co-I) £65,537 Arts Council England and Northern Rock Foundation)
2009-2011 Who Cares? Museums, Health and Well-being. Research in the Outreach programme of North West Renaissance in the Regions consortium (PI, with A. Farrier (Co-I) £57,000 Museums and Libraries Association and Manchester MBC)
2010 Help Direct: evaluation of health and wellbeing initiative in Lancashire (with Alastair Roy (PI), Lancashire County Council £16,000)
2010, Involving Service Users in Probation, (with Alastair Roy (PI), £7500, Lancashire and Rutland Probation)
2010 Exploring the Service Needs, Experiences and Assets of Newly Arrived Refugee and Asylum Seekers (with Alastair Roy (PI) £18,750 Trafford Council)
2009 Part of the Picture UK evidence base of substance use and misuse amongst Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Communities in England (with Alastair Roy, £9,254, Big Lottery
2009 Youth Vandalism and Related Crime in Lancashire (PI, £5000 Lancashire Constabulary)
2009 Well-being on Prescription, (collaboration with with Healthy Settings Unit, £10,000 Ashton, Leigh and Wigan PCT)
2009-2012 Target Wellbeing: Qualitative component of study led by North West Public Health Observatory, Liverpool John Moors, (collaboration with Healthy Settings Unit, £56,000 Big Lottery Fund)
2010 Psychosocial research into teaching practice. (PI, with A. Farrier (Co-I)£8754 UCLan Research Resource Enhancement Scheme)
2010 Youth knife crime in Lancashire: pilot for assessment of specific local factors. (PI, with R. Little (Co-I) £8000 Crime Solutions and Lancashire Constabulary)
2008 ASSET as a professional assessment tool (PI, £5000 Calderdale Youth Offending Team)
2009-2010 Dance and Mental Health: evaluation of a programme in a secure mental health facility. (PI, with R. Little (Co-I) £10,000 Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust)
2007-2010 Evaluation of University College Hospital Arts Programme. (PI, with R. Little (Co-I) £20,000 Arts Council England and UCLH Foundation Trust)
2007 Arts and Inclusion: storytelling and community cohesion. (PI, £6700 Heritage Lottery)
2007-8 Creative Interventions in Restorative Youth Justice: comparative evaluation of visual, digital performance and music based interventions. (PI, with A. Farrier (Co-I) and K. Poursandou (Co-I) £68,579 HEFCE and NWRDB pan-university KTP Regeneration: making a difference)
2007-8 Engaging Communities through the arts: innovative evaluation through user discourse. (PI and collaboration with Charles Quick, £80,000 HEFCE and with A. Farrier (Co-I) and K. Poursandou (Co-I), NWRDB pan-University KTP (Regeneration: making a difference)
2008 Dissemination lead for Crime Strand of HEFCE and NWRDB pan-University KTP (PI, with A. Farrier (Co-I) and K. Poursandou (Co-I), £7000 Regeneration: making a difference)
2006 Evaluation of story-telling and creative writing workshop with young people at risk of offending. (PI, with R. Little (Co-I) £6000 Calderdale YOT)
2005-6 Research and Evaluation of Creative Writing Project in Restorative Youth Justice with Young Offenders, (PI, with A. Farrier (Co-I) and K. Poursandou (Co-I)£12,000 Crime Solutions)
2006 Biographical Narrative Case Studies with young offenders subject to arts based interventions: pilot for longitudinal study (PI, £10,000 NWRDB Crime solutions £2000 Calderdale YOT)
2005-8 Parenting support for under-fives in arts-based community setting. Evaluation of Children’s Centre. (PI, with S, Buckner (Co-I) and K. Poursanidou (Co-I) £6000 HEFCE research capability funding)
2007-2009 ESRC Seminar Funded Seminar Series on Practitioner Research and Practice Near Methods. (Collaboration with S. Briggs Tavistock Clinic/UEL £15,000 ESRC)
2002-2005 Bromley by Bow Research and Evaluation Project (PI, with Co-I’s: P. Chamberlayne, S. Buckner and T. Wengraf £200,000 Dunhill Medical Trust)