Increasing Happiness and Wellbeing through Arts Participation & Play

Happy Museum are delighted to highlight this conference, put together by Dr Nicola Mann who worked with us until last year!

Friday 18th March 2016

Richmond, The American International University in London, Lecture Theatre, 17 Young Street, London, UK, W8 5EH

The conference is free and open to the public but you must register online.

Since the emergence of Positive Psychology in 1998, there is a growing body of evidence suggesting a positive correlation between wellbeing and arts engagement on both individual and community level. More particularly, the common perception of museums and galleries as serious spaces bound by rules and regulations has been challenged in recent years, especially through their specific programmes designed to improve the wellbeing of children and young people.

Consequently, in recent years, children’s presence in these institutions has been reframed into a relationship of creativity, unpredictability and co-creation. Inspired by the International Play Association’s 2013 worldwide campaign to build awareness to the importance of play in the lives of all children, institutions such as Manchester Museum embrace their role as Playful Museums, organizing events geared towards enhancing children’s wellbeing and happiness as well as publishing resource guides such as Rules for a Playful Museum (2015).

Richmond’s one-day conference will reflect on these recent phenomena and their implications; furthermore, the benefits of arts participation to the wellbeing of adults and communities will be explored, within a Positive Psychology theoretical framework. How do art galleries and museums contribute to positive wellbeing and the development of character strengths such as resilience or creativity? How can arts engagement build thriving, resilient communities?

This conference brings together six academics, psychologists, museum professionals and play specialists in order to discuss these important issues:

9.30-10.00: Registration

10.00-10.15: Introduction

10.15-11.15: Jocelyn Dodd and Dr Ceri Jones, University of Leicester
“Mind, Body, Spirit: How Museums Impact Health and Wellbeing”

11.15-11.30: Break

11.30-12.30: Dr Tim Lomas, University of East London
“Positive Art: Artistic Expression and Appreciation as an Exemplary Vehicle for Flourishing”

12.30-13.30: Lunch

13.30-14.30: Eithne Nightingale, Queen Mary University of London & the V&A
“Memory, Migration and Creativity”

14.30-15.30: Hilary Jennings, Happy Museum Project
“Stewardship, Citizenship and Resilience”

15.30-15.45: Break

15.45-16.45: Charlotte Derry, Independent Play Specialist
“Play Development and Creative Heritage Projects, More Playful Playtimes”

16.45-18.00: Reception

For further information contact the organizers Dr Nicola Mann and Dr Annita Ventouris at NICOLA.MANN@Richmond.ac.uk & ANNITA.VENTOURIS@Richmond.ac.uk.

Supported by the Gul Tokay Fund, the Richmond Psychology Association, and the Centre for International Visual Arts and Cultures (IVAC) at Richmond University.