The arts in health and social care

Our work has been at the forefront of interdisciplinary research, combining social sciences, arts, humanities and practice-led methodology to address key research gaps, and creatively engage with the public and stakeholders. To this end our work has a) improved the evidence base for effective service provision; b) contributed to the development of interdisciplinary methods for evaluating arts activities in dementia care; c) developed creative approaches for practice development; d)  improved awareness and understanding of dementia; e) demonstrated the impact on key health outcomes for people living with dementia and their carers.

Example: The research is reaching people living with dementia and practitioners/providers. We know this because:


Research projects:

  • ‘Creative Conversations': An exploratory study of an arts in health approach to embedding person-centred care and improving communication between care staff and people living with dementia.’  Health and Care Research Wales Social Care Award, £203,286.  1st October 2016 to 31st May 2018 (Kat Algar-Skaife lead investigator, with Gill Windle, John Killick (Dementia Positive), and Flintshire County Council Social Services).

This project explored whether the arts can be used as a tool for helping dementia care staff understand more about dementia and enhance their interactions with the people they care for. For information click here.

Creative Conversations Lay Summary: English / Welsh

  • Dementia and Imagination: Connecting communities and developing well-being through socially engaged visual arts practice. Arts and Humanities Research Council, £1.2m.  July 2013 to February 2017 (Gill Windle lead investigator, with Clive Parkinson, Andrew Neman, Vanessa Burholt, Bob Woods, Victoria Tischler, Dave O’Brien, Michael Baber).  D&I website.

Research Summaries:

Theoretical basis of art programmes (Welsh)

Effectiveness of art programmes (Welsh)

Economic analysis of art programmes (Welsh)


Dementia and Imagination: a mixed-methods protocol for arts and science research

  • Evaluation of ‘Zest for Life’, a specialised arts programme for people living with young onset dementia. Age Connects Torfaen, £24,952.  January 2019 to July 2021 (PI Kat-Algar-Skaife).
  • The Imagination Café. Arts and Humanities Research Council Follow on Fund for Impact and Engagement. £100,000.  1st January 2018 to 31st December 2018 (GW Co-investigator, with Clive Parkinson, Andrew Newman and Victoria Tischler, lead).
  • 'Created out of Mind’: Shaping perceptions of dementia through art and science.  The Wellcome Trust Residency Hub, £1,087,059.00.  October 2016 for 22 months (Gill Windle, Co-director, with Seb Crutch (lead), Charlie Murphy, Julian West, Philip Ball, Fergus Walsh).
  • Independent evaluation of cARTrefu: A national arts in care homes participatory and mentoring programme.  Age Cymru, £24,874.  January 2015 to October 2017 (Kat Algar-Skaife lead applicant).  Evaluation report launched at National Assembly for Wales in October 2017. Link to reports (Welsh) (English)