People United is an innovative arts charity that explores how the arts and creativity can grow kindness, empathy and a common sense of humanity. We work with artists, academics and activists to explore the potential of the arts in making a difference in the world.
We are proud that as a small team we have a national and international impact. We aim to be friendly, down to earth, generous, and open to new ideas. Please do get in touch if you’d like to find out more about our work or would like to work with us in some way.
It is our vision to create a more kind and caring society through the arts.
We believe that being kind to one another is fundamental to making the world a better place. We also believe that the arts has a special and unique role in helping this to happen. From a neighbourly smile and a helping hand to ongoing ethical conduct and active altruism, kindness is demonstrated in many different ways. Whereas a lack of kindness breeds intolerance, injustice and inhumanity; kindness grows trust, friendship, and a common sense of community.
We explore, celebrate and demonstrate the values of kindness through our artistic practice. We do this by commissioning artists, working with neighbourhoods, individuals, schools and arts organisations on creative projects (which are adapted or duplicated), supporting other people’s good ideas, generating new research, creating resources, offering advice and bespoke consultancy, and curating public events. Whilst based in Canterbury and working primarily in the South East of England, we also work in partnership with organisations, communities and artists from across the UK.
Our work involves people from across society and across art forms. It takes place in a range of settings from bingo halls and beach huts, to shopping centres, hospitals and at home in front of a computer. A vital feature of our work is that it is thoroughly researched and professionally evaluated. Our academic partner is the internationally recognised Centre for the Study of Group Processes, part of the Psychology Department at the University of Kent led by Professor Dominic Abrams. For more information see: CSGP
It is characterised by being:
Participatory and Creative: Our work is imaginative, accessible and high quality. We use a whole range of art forms (from music, theatre and photography to storytelling, visual and digital arts) to engage and inspire people.
Well-researched and Evaluated: We use evidence drawn from theoretical and experimental research studies on positive motivation, creativity and behaviour to inform our work. It is important that our work builds on, and adds to, the academic research in this field. We have a thoughtful approach, we try to take our time, creating space and incorporating reflection into all our projects.
A Catalyst: We develop projects that have a multiplier effect and have a real legacy. Our projects are run on a local level but are designed to be replicated and shared nationally and internationally.
What People United does so brilliantly is to learn from the very best people and organisations in our society and show the rest of us how we can do things better. The results of their work have been startlingly good. I have been and remain very impressed by their work, taking step after step in quietly, kindly and thoughtfully building a better society. Through the arts we tell our stories, explore our emotions and share our ideas and celebrate life. People United enable people to see their lives through the arts, to make links, build understanding and celebrate excellence.
Marcus Davey, Artistic Director and Chief Executive The Roundhouse
This is vital work. People United is a leader in its field because it systematically uses hard scientific evidence about what motivates altruism and positive social behaviour to guide practical and creative solutions in situations that really matter for people.
Dominic Abrams, Professor of Social Psychology, Director, Centre for the Study of Group Processes, University of Kent
I cannot think of another organisation I have worked with over the past 20 years which has made such a positive impact, through its use of inspirational artists, to the wellbeing and cohesiveness of a local community.
Martin Crowther, Educational Development Manager, Canterbury City Council Museums and Galleries Service