A team of researchers led by Dr Helen Chatterjee (UCL Museums & Collections) will begin a new three year project this month, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), to explore the value and role of museums in social prescribing.
Social prescribing links patients in primary care with local sources of support within the community which can improve their health and wellbeing. ‘Museums on Prescription’ is the first of its kind internationally and will research the development and efficacy of a novel referral scheme.
The project will connect socially isolated, vulnerable and lonely older people, referred through the NHS, Local Authority Adult Social Care services and charities, to partner museums in Central London and Kent.
The research project is a collaboration between over 15 organisations including The British Museum, Sir John Soanes Museum, UCL Museums & Collections, Camden Council, and Kent and Medway NHS Partnership Trust.
Other organisations involved include Age UK Camden, Arts Council England (ACE), the New Economics Foundation (Nef Consulting) and the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH).
The scheme will complement existing social prescription services including ‘arts on prescription’ and ‘books on prescription’ and will work in partnership with organisations such as the RSPH, ACE and local branches of Age UK to roll out ‘museums on prescription’ nationwide.
Since 2006, researchers at UCL have been pioneering research into the role of museums in health and wellbeing. A series of research projects, funded by the AHRC and amounting to over £1million, have helped to establish UCL as the leading centre for research in this area.
Professor Paul M. Camic, Professor of Psychology & Public Health and Research Director, Salomons Centre for Applied Psychology, Canterbury Christ Church University, is the project’s Co-Investigator and Dr Linda Thomson, UCL, is the Lead Postdoctoral Research Associate for the project. Dr Theo Stickley, Associate Professor of Mental Health at the University of Nottingham, is the project’s External Advisor.