People United’s artist commissions, place-based projects and work in schools have always been underpinned by robust research using both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. We put our theory into practice (See Arts & Kindness: the theory) so that we can understand the effect that our work is having on the people and places that we work with.

Our new research report outlines People United’s niche position within an exciting and emerging research landscape that links the arts with psychology and civil society research on wellbeing, resilience, social cohesion and active citizenship. As part of our 10 year anniversary, we wanted to create a report that pulls together a decade of our research, learning and experience.

Artist and People United trustee Maria Amidu has endorsed the report saying

People United are prepared to take risks to test theories around how art making can change society. They approach projects differently – altruistically, giving artists the room to experiment with ideas that may or may not work. This is rare, and this courage and tenacity to address meaningful themes through artists’ practices, is very much welcomed, leading to significant experiences for the people who take part in the work.

This report is useful for:

  • arts and cultural professionals: to show how the concept of kindness can be incorporated within creative practice and to further debate about the contribution of the cultural sector to social change.
  • policy makers and commissioners: to grow the evidence base that the arts can play a pivotal and specific role in delivering social outcomes.
  • researchers and academics: to illustrate the potential of research that explores the relationship between the arts and prosocial behaviour, and to suggest priorities for further work in this field.
  • public and voluntary sector (teachers, educationalists, health professionals and community development practitioners): to inspire ideas and possibilities for working with the arts to promote individual growth and stronger communities.
  • active citizens and anyone who has a desire to build a kinder and more caring world: to share what we have learned, to inspire and connect.

Combining quantitative data collated and analysed by the School of Psychology at the University of Kent, (People United’s academic partner) with qualitative research gathered through conversations, interviews, observations, surveys and films, this report shows compelling evidence of positive changes in how people think, feel and act towards one another after taking part in high quality, participatory arts experiences.

Please get in touch: If you would like to talk to us about how we can work together to add usefully to conversations and initiatives around wellbeing, social cohesion, commissioning a new piece of participatory artwork, and the importance of creativity in our schools. We’d love to hear from you.

Download the full report from the top of the right hand side menu of this page.

Funded & supported by:

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