SACS working paper series – SACS-o

Launch of SACS working paper series – SACS-o

We are pleased to announce the launch of the School of Arts and Cultures first online Working Papers series – SACS-o (ISSN 2399-8725). The series received funding for its establishment from the School’s Research Committee and we are pleased to acknowledge that support here.

The SACS-o Working Papers series is an online, academic series which publishes research papers and shorter works-in-progress by emerging and established scholars working in the broad domains of media, culture and heritage, based at Newcastle University or one of its collaborating partner institutions. The series publishes novel findings which are immediately open access, making content easily and freely available which we hope will increase audience, visibility, citations and impact.

The first paper, UK General Election 2015: Dealing with Austerity, is authored by Massimo Ragnedda and Maria Laura Ruiu (both Northumbria University). You can read the article here Current issue. This is the first in a linked set of papers to be published by a group of colleagues from Newcastle and Northumbria Universities who worked together on a series of sub-projects focused on the UK General Election 2015.

We have two more papers in the publications pipeline and are seeking new contributions, so please consider publishing in the series. We would also be grateful if you would forward this email and spread the news about the series to other colleagues who might be interested in contributing papers.  The guidelines for submission can be found here Submission and guidelines.

We look forward to hearing from you. If you have any questions, please email Tobias Bürger (t.buerger2@newcastle.ac.uk).

Karen Ross and Tobias Bürger

Editorial

 

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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

 

In conversation with: Emma Coffield

Understanding the construction of artistic identity and how some people are recognised as artists and some objects/ideas and performances are recognised as art, while others are not, has led Emma to her current work exploring the spatial politics of art as well as young people’s engagement with contemporary art both in and out of the gallery space. In August 2016, Emma was appointed Early Career Academic Fellow in Media, Culture and Heritage.ecoffieldqa

Why did you choose to go into museum studies?

I didn’t! I originally trained in Fine Art at the Glasgow School of Art, then as an English Language teacher, and only after that started volunteering in museums and galleries. It seemed like the perfect job, so I did my MA here in Newcastle in Art Museum and Gallery Education and then worked as an intern in Glasgow for the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art (GI), the CCA (Centre for Contemporary Arts), and worked in the Theatre Royal at night. While I was doing that I put in the PhD application – I’d enjoyed my MA so much I wanted to come back – but I never really felt like I was choosing one particular field of study. Museum studies is really interdisciplinary, and in my work I tend to lean on everything from art history to cultural sociology to geography, as well as museum studies of course.

What are your plans for your fellowship?

One of the best things about the fellowship is that I have time to dedicate to a new research project. It’s called ‘Geographies of Art: The Spatial Politics of Artistic Practice’ and it explores something that became clear during my PhD research: art isn’t either global or local – or somehow placeless. Instead, artists are making all kinds of complex decisions based on nuanced understandings and experiences that relate to place in varying ways– and I’m interested in that lived experience and its implications for practitioners. The key things for me at the moment are sorting out a schedule, finding opportunities to work with artists both in the UK and internationally, and writing! I’d really like to write a book…

We’ve love to hear what you’ve been up to over summer. What exhibitions have you seen that have sparked your interest?

Oh no, that’s such a difficult question! Helen McCrorie’s The Clock in Commune as part of the Edinburgh Art Festival is one of the best things I’ve ever seen, I finally got to the new Tate Modern and the Louise Bourgeois Artist Rooms exhibition there, and Jennifer West’s Flashlight Filmstrip Projections at Tramway (which is in the dark – visitors are given a torch) was a new one for me, but it was great to see people getting so involved in the materiality of the work. I’ve also been to a lot of really good (and free) events and film screenings at the CCA in Glasgow as part of their series looking at art and society, but the highlight is going to have to be the Hermitage in St Petersburg – I’ve wanted to see the golden peacock for such a long time!

Have you had a busy year with conferences? What’s been your personal highlight?

I went to two really great conferences recently. The first, Networks in a Global World, brought together qualitative and quantitative researchers interested in network analysis, and it had a specific set of panels that looked at networks in relation to art – so a perfect opportunity for me to find out about ongoing work around the world! There was also a fantastic keynote from Ronald Breiger, and I completely changed my mind about the value and application of quantitative data. We need more quantitative researchers in the social sciences! The second was at Heriot-Watt in Edinburgh, and was called Cultural Production: Diversity, Equality and Exclusion. There is a real urgency to this work and it can make for depressing reading at times, so it was great to meet so many people committed to change.

What books would we find on your desk at the moment?

My desk is covered with books at the moment (see picture) as I’m running a module later in the year that looks as art curation, and there are so many books to sort through to see if they might be good for the reading list! And then there are the books for my own research, and two new publications about artist-run initiatives… But these are all in my ‘to do’ pile (the ones I’ve read are either on the shelves or back in the library) so I’m afraid I can’t tell you much about them – yet!

As a teacher, what aspects do you most enjoy?

I tend to teach on the MA courses offered by MCH and a lot of our students are already in work or have extensive experience. We also attract students from all over the world, so when you are involved in a lecture or seminar where everyone starts sharing their expertise, that’s a fantastic feeling. I’m also really lucky in that I work on the exhibition module, where our students design and install a public exhibition. It can be quite an emotional process – there are so many decisions and practicalities to consider – but watching the work go up and everything come together is always so exciting. But I think my absolute favourite aspect is hearing what happens next. Our students have gone on to do some really amazing things, and that’s what it is all about in the end!

Thank you Emma.

More information on Emma Coffield’s current research can be found on her staff profile. Emma also co-convenes the Cultural Significance of Place group with Prof. Chris Whitehead and tweets @EmmaCoffield.  

 

Brexit After Party: Implications for Teaching and Research, Roundtable event

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As part of the MCH Seminar series, our next event is on Wednesday, 12 October between 1pm and 2pm, and looks at the implications of Brexit for teaching and research.

Contributors: Areti Galani, Darren Kelsey, Majid Khosravanik, Rhiannon Mason

This event looks at how we might change what we teach and research as a consequence of Brexit and the numerous effects that it is having and will continue to have for higher education. The format is round-table with contributors offering some preliminary insights and then opening the discussion to the wider audience. We look forward to seeing you at this event which kicks off the MCH Seminar Series 2016-17.

Wednesday, October 12, 1pm – 2pm at Armstrong Building 2.90, Newcastle University 

Everyone is welcome, feel free to bring your lunch