The National Alliance for Museums, Health & Wellbeing was a consortium funded by Arts Council England which ran from 2015-2018 and was led by UCL Public and Cultural Engagement and including National Museums Liverpool, the British Museum, the UK Medical Collections Group represented by the Thackray Medical Museum, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, Manchester Museums and Galleries Partnership, the Research Centre for Museums and Galleries (RCMG) at the University of Leicester’s School of Museum Studies, the Museums Association and the National Alliance for Arts, Health & Wellbeing.
New strategic partners joined the Alliance in 2016 including: Public Health England, Happy Museum Project; Age Friendly Museums Network; Age of Creativity; Group for Education in Museums; Sport in Museums Network; Cultural Commissioning Project and The Wellcome Trust
We have now merged with the National Alliance for Arts, Health and Wellbeing to become the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance. You can join the new Alliance and will receive a monthly newsletter. Please visit their website here.
Our consortium board
Helen Chatterjee (Chair and Co-Founder) is a Professor of Biology in the School of Life and Medical Sciences at UCL and Head of Research and Teaching in UCL’s Department of Public and Cultural Engagement. Her research interests include the value of cultural encounters in health and wellbeing and she has published numerous papers in this area; in 2013 Helen wrote ‘Museums, Health and Well-being’ by Ashgate Press and she has worked with numerous museum partners as well as health and social care organisations. In 2015, Helen was awarded an MBE for services to Higher Education and Culture.
Carol Rogers (Co-Founder) is Executive Director, Education and Visitors at National Museums Liverpool (NML) and is responsible for education and community participation across National Museums Liverpool’s eight venues. She also oversees the delivery of Visitor Services, Fundraising, Marketing and Communications. Carol joined National Museums Liverpool in 2003 as the Head of Learning. In 2005, she became a member of the Executive Director team and her role expanded to include front-of-house services. More recently she assumed responsibility for strategic fundraising and marketing. Carol maintains an extensive communication network of lifelong learning providers and creative industry networks across Merseyside. In January 2015, Carol was acknowledged by HRH Queen Elizabeth II and awarded an MBE (Member of The British Empire), for her role leading National Museums Liverpool’s multi-award-winning House of Memories programme. The House of Memories is making a difference to people living with dementia, their carers, families and communities.
Jessica Harris is manager of the Cultural Commissioning Programme, which is being delivered by a partnership of NCVO (lead partner), New Economics Foundation and New Philanthropy Capital. Funded by Arts Council England, the programme is helping the arts and cultural sector to engage in public sector commissioning and enabling public service commissioners to increase their awareness of the potential for arts and cultural organisations to deliver their outcomes. Jessica has commissioned and managed cultural programmes across arts, museums and libraries, and has also worked in the field of cultural policy and strategy. She has worked in the independent arts sector, in local government and for national bodies, including Arts Council England. She enjoys and values cultural expression in many forms for its power to connect people, enrich lives and influence change at both personal and societal levels. She has an MA in European Cultural Policy & Administration from Warwick University and a post-graduate certificate in Shared Services Management from Christchurch Canterbury University.
Zoë Brown, Outreach Officer, joined Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM) in 1998 with a creative arts education and a youth and community background. With a post Graduate qualification in Professional studies: Youth and community work, she entered the museum and heritage sector via a non-traditional route. She completed the Newcastle Gateshead Cultural Leadership Programme in 2008, funded by Arts Council England, MLA and European development fund. Zoë recently co-authored a paper for the museums’ special edition of Arts and Health Journal entitled: Effects of creative museum outreach sessions on measures of confidence, sociability and wellbeing for mental health and addiction recovery service users.
As Outreach Officer for TWAM she leads the Outreach team on its culture and heritage community engagement programmes across Tyne & Wear:
- The Wellbeing Programme-Supporting people with mental health issues
- The Recovery RICH Programme (Recovering Identities through Culture & Heritage)–Supporting people in addiction and justice recovery
- The Platinum Programme-Supporting people aged over 55
- The Satellite Community Exhibition Programme-Supporting communities across Tyne & Wear to build exhibitions together and displaying them ‘in the community’
Jocelyn Dodd is Senior Research Fellow and Director of the Research Centre for Museums and Galleries (RCMG) in the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester. RCMG research aims to inform and enrich creative museum thinking, policy and practice, to support museums to become more dynamic, socially purposeful institutions. Jocelyn is author (with Ceri Jones) of the publication Mind, Body, Spirit: How museums impact health and wellbeing (2014). Recent projects include Cabinet of Curiosities: how disability was kept in a box, winner of the Observer Ethical Award for Art and Culture 2014.
Sharon Heal was appointed director of the Museums Association (MA) in late 2014 and she is the MA’S first female director. Sharon has a background in journalism, publishing and event creation, and has been the editor of Museums Journal for the past nine years. Before her appointment as director, Sharon was MA’s Head of Publications and Events.
Joanne Bartholomew is Chief Executive of Thackray Medical Museum and was Chair of the UK Medical Collections Group (UKMCG) 2012-15. She is currently leading a £5m redevelopment project to secure the future sustainability of Thackray Medical Museum, with a vision to integrate health outcomes into the understanding and use of medical collections. As Chair of UKMCG, Joanne led research and practice-based projects and conferences into using medical collections for health and wellbeing aims and outcomes. The UK Medical Collections Group represents around 80 medical museums and museums with medical and healthcare collections in the UK, and is -currently chaired by Katie Dabin, Curator of Clinical & Research Medicine, at the Science Museum London.
Damian Hebron is the Director of London Arts in Health Forum and the Head of Arts at Cambridge University Hospitals. He has worked in the field of arts and community health for nearly twenty years. For the past five years, London Arts in Health Forum has been working with colleagues from across England to develop a National Alliance for Arts, Health and Wellbeing.
Esme Ward is Head of Learning and Engagement at the Manchester Museum and the Whitworth, at the University of Manchester where she has led the growth of learning and public programmes to include adult award-winning health and culture, early years and age friendly work. She teaches on an MA in Arts Management/Museology and is the strategic Culture Lead for Age Friendly Manchester, working across Manchester’s cultural organisations to develop work by, with and for older people. The health and culture programme began in 2008 in partnership with Central Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and in 2012, received two awards from the Royal Society of Public Health for innovative and outstanding contributions to arts and health practice and research.
Laura Bedford is Project Coordinator for the National Alliance for Museums, Health & Wellbeing. Laura has a MA in Museum Studies from the University of Leicester and has worked in the museum sector for over fifteen years. Her previous role as Access and Public Programmes Manager at the Geffrye Museum included managing programmes for families, community groups, ESOL learners, deaf and disabled adults and older people. She has witnessed first-hand how health and wellbeing programmes can benefit people, especially through running outreach sessions to care homes, hospitals and other older people’s organisations as well as a creative gardening museum club for people aged over 75 or with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. She’s keen to encourage more museums to undertake this work with a variety of audiences.
Sarah Desmarais is part-time Research Assistant for the National Alliance of Museums, Health and Wellbeing. She is also a practising fine art and textile print maker, psychotherapist and arts facilitator in community and arts-for-health settings. She has investigated the impacts of heritage, making and learning on health and wellbeing in a variety of ethnographic and practice-based research projects. Between 2012 and 2015 she was able to research in depth the benefits of crafting for mental health, thanks to an Arts and Humanities Research Council Collaborative Doctoral Award in partnership with Arts for Health Cornwall, University of the Arts London and Falmouth University. At present, she is part of a team funded by Arts Council England researching the pedagogic potential of a collection of Japanese katagami (paper stencils) held by the Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture at Middlesex University. She also supervises doctoral research at the Royal College of Art, London.