In Spring 2016, a pilot project was set up at Rhondda Heritage Park (RHP) to explore whether creative engagement in a museum setting can help improve mental health and wellbeing.

The RHP pilot adopted a multi-agency approach, funded by Rhonda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, Arts and Heritage services. The project was delivered and managed by Inside Out Cymru. The participants attending were from New Horizons, a mental health and emotional wellbeing resource centre based in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

The project consisted of art workshops offering creative experiences in museums, galleries and archives. Participants attended a series of creative sessions led by community artists, aiming to build confidence and learn new skills through shared experiences.  The study used mainly qualitative evaluation consisting of interviews, case studies, artists log books and feedback sessions.

Additional quantitative information was collected using the Warwick Edinburgh Mental Well Being Scale (WEMWBS). This recognised outcome measurement tool is a question based scale covering subjective wellbeing and psychological functioning. WEMWBS focuses entirely on positive aspects of mental health. This evaluation tool has the advantage of being widely used across the UK and beyond, so provides the opportunity to benchmark the findings of the project against studies carried out elsewhere.

Artists: Kira Wither Jones, Emma Stevenson, Evaluation by Lucy Bateman

Funded by Rhonda Cynon Taf County Borough Council’s Arts and Heritage service.