When I walk into a building, I want to feel cared for because that will make me want to return.

ArtWorks participant

 

Welcome, a research project by People United, is about those crucial first 30 seconds of engagement with a public building. We ran workshops and visited a range of cultural venues with families, children and young people, and unemployed adults. We sought the views of architects, designers, venue managers and psychologists and with a group of psychology students from the University of Kent, we researched what others have written about the psychology of space.

We found out that factors such as feelings of belonging, personal interaction, light, fragrance and sound are important to creating a welcoming space.

Why do we think this matters? People United promotes kindness and positive social change through the arts – and people are more likely to get involved in artistic events and activities that take place in an atmosphere where they feel welcome, happy, inspired. But more than this, we believe welcoming, inclusive public spaces are at the heart of friendly, cohesive communities.

Our research is aimed at anyone involved in running arts centres, museums, galleries, theatre and other cultural venues and public buildings, or anyone who wants to make their space more welcoming.

If you are interested in finding out more, please contact us.

The Welcome project is funded by Kent County Council and Canterbury City Council.

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