Museums, health and wellbeing: reflections on impacts and methods

 

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Friday, January 27, 3-5pm, Armstrong Building, 2.90

Museums, health and wellbeing: reflections on impacts and methods 

Presenters: Prof Andrew Newman, Dr Bruce Davenport (both Newcastle University), Dr Nuala Morse (The University of Manchester/UCL Culture) and Zoë Brown (Tyne and Wear Museums and Archives)

Chair: Bethany Rex (Newcastle University)

Nuala Morse*, Zoë Brown*, Linda Thomson (UCL Culture), Wendy Gallagher (Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester), Helen Chatterjee (UCL Division of Biosciences and UCL Culture): “Museum-focused activities in person-centred dementia care:  Research methodologies with hospital patients”

*presenting authors

The seminar is free and is open to all interested in attending. No need to book

This study investigates the efficacy of museum-focused activities in supporting dementia care, in acute medical wards and inpatient dementia services. There is currently increased interest in using non-pharmacological interventions to target behavioural symptoms of moderate and late stage dementia such as aggression, anxiety and wandering. Museum-focused activities are proposed as a means of providing relief from these symptoms and meaningful creative activities. The study developed a methodology to assess the effect of the activities ‘in the moment’ and their short-term effect. It has been recognised that interventions with small but meaningful short-term effect are important in supporting dementia care (Pinquart et al, 2006).

Participants (n=<14) took part in weekly museum-focused activities for 6 weeks (Sept 2016-Jan 2017). Mixed methods were used comprising session observation, pre and post-session assessment of occupational therapist rated mood, social interaction and agitation (before session, 2 hours and 24 hours after session) and interviews with staff at the programme end. This work-in-progress presentation will describe the challenges of developing fit-for-purpose and gentle methodologies for researching the impact of museum-focused activities for people with dementia.

Andrew Newman: “The connectivity and social capital of people in later life with dementia: a qualitative analysis of data collected from Dementia and Imagination.”

This paper explores the connectivity and social capital (through which the value of relationships can be understood) of people in later life living with dementia. This is achieved through the analysis of qualitative data collected from a UK national research project entitled Dementia and Imagination which was funded by the ESRC and the AHRC. This involved people in later life with dementia, of various types and severity, undertaking visual arts enrichment activities at three sites in the UK.

The importance of social networks for the wellbeing of older people is well established in the literature for example, Gray (2009), Cornwall (2009), Grundy and Sloggett (2003), Pinquart and Sorensen (2000) and Litwin and Shiovitz, (2006) amongst others. However, despite associations between being embedded in social capital rich networks and reduced incidence of dementia being identified (Fratigioni et al. 2000), we know little about the lived experience of connectivity for those living with the condition.

There was a reported reduction in the size of networks and changes in the balance of the sorts of relationships they represented and the resources they provided access to in comparison to when respondents were cognitively or/and physically healthier. It was evident that some were lacking in opportunities for emotional relationships that they could contribute to as well as receive support from. This situation was more noticeable for those in care homes, with generally more advanced dementia (and sometimes frailty). The visual arts enrichment activity provided an opportunity to reconnect with others and to provide and receive emotional support.  As is noted by Ferlander (2007) emotional support has ‘positive impacts upon health, especially mental health, mainly via psychological mechanisms, such as personal control and stress reduction’ (p. 123).

Bruce Davenport: “Creative activities for people with dementia: expressions of personal identity and the practices of care in residential care settings.”

As part of the Dementia & Imagination project, programmes of 6, weekly creative workshops were delivered with people with dementia in 3 different settings in 3 parts of the UK: people living in care-homes (in the north-east of England), people in assessment centres and out-patient wards in hospitals (in the Midlands) and people living in private accommodation (in North Wales). This paper focuses on the workshops delivered in care-home and hospital settings.

The workshops in care homes involved people with dementia, the carers who worked in the care-homes and, more rarely, family members. In the hospital settings, the people with dementia were accompanied by nursing staff and, occasionally, by family members. The impact of the workshops were assessed using a variety of methods; this paper focuses on the data from qualitative interviews with participants and carers, artists’ diaries, open questions about participants’ experiences. The qualitative interviews were carried out before the workshops began, immediately after the end of the programme and 3 months later. The open questions were asked during a data gathering session immediately after the end of the programme.

The creative workshops focused on sensory stimulation and responding to each participants’ interests and expressive abilities. Nonetheless, the workshops evoked moments of reminiscence, social interaction and other expressions of personal identity. Models of quality care such as relationship-centred care, and person-centred care, recommend that carers develop an understanding of residents and patients in care and hospital settings. Whilst the value of reminiscence remains a topic for debate, the data from the interviews indicates that these moments fed into the carers’ understandings of the participants and their interactions with them. This implies a range of secondary pathways to impact from the workshops, through changes to carers and family members, rather than the direct impact of participation for the people with dementia.

The same models of care also advocate opportunities for residents to experience personal autonomy and experience being valued by others. The data indicate that the practices used by the artists were consonant with these models. The qualitative interview data indicates that the skills that the artists’ brought to the workshops were variously recognised, critiqued and resisted by the care and nursing staff.

The seminar is free and is open to all interested in attending. No need to book

 

Gender and News

Wednesday, January 18, 3-5pm, Armstrong 2.90

Gender and News

Presenters: Prof Karen Ross & Prof Deborah Chambers

Chair: Dr David Baines (all Newcastle University)

Karen Ross: “Women, men and news: the same old, same old”
Despite the presence of women on the local, national and global stage at all levels of decision-making, in numerous positions of executive authority, they continue to be marginalised in news media as sources and newsmakers. Despite entering media organisations in similar numbers to men, they do not rise as far or as fast and are often steered towards the less prestigious areas of journalism. This presentation discusses recent trends in the awkward relations between gender and journalism, identifies some of the good practices which have been implemented suggests some which are yet to be implemented.

Deborah Chambers: “Twentieth century women journalists and the ‘women’s pages’: soft news or a counterpublic sphere?”
Deborah presents a unique account of the key interventions of women writers across newspapers in post-war Britain. Approaching news as a site of inequality and difference, she traces the ways women spearheaded the introduction of new topics and styles in print to attract women readers and audiences. Despite being sidelined as trivial journalism, it was through the women’s pages and features that women introduced innovative news about women’s lives. Deborah argues that, against probability, this new feminised discourse emerged as a ‘counterpublic sphere’ that popularised feminism.
The seminar is free and is open to all interested in attending. No need to book.
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