Press Release

16 June 2014

A team of researchers will begin a new three year project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to explore the value and role of museums in social prescribing.

Professor Paul Camic, Research Director for the Salomons Centre at Canterbury Christ Church University, will join Dr Helen Chatterjee, Principle Investigator and Head of the Project at University College London (UCL), as the Co-Investigator.

Social prescribing links patients in primary care with local sources of support within the community which can improve their health and wellbeing. ‘Museums on Prescription’ is the first project of its kind internationally and will research the development and efficacy of a novel referral scheme. The project will connect socially isolated, vulnerable and lonely older people, referred through the NHS, Local Authority Adult Social Care services and charities, to partner museums in Central London and Kent.

The £550,000 research project which is being led by UCL, is in collaboration with Canterbury Christ Church University, as-well-as a number of museums and health/social care organisations in London and Kent, and is augmented by a range of other strategic partnerships.

The scheme will complement existing social prescription services including ‘Arts on Prescription’ and ‘Books on Prescription’ and will work in partnership with organisations such as Age UK and Arts Council England to roll out ‘Museums on Prescription’ nationwide.

The research team’s combined experience includes having worked with over 30 different museum partners from large national museums such as the British Museum to smaller or regional museums such as The Beamish Museum, Museum of English Rural Life and Dulwich Picture Gallery. This work has shown that active engagement in museums provides positive social experiences, leading to reduced social isolation, opportunities for learning and acquiring news skills; as-well-as calming experiences, leading to decreased anxiety and many other benefits to health and wellbeing.

The Salomons Centre at Canterbury Christ Church University has been working with art galleries, NHS trusts and charities to look at the benefits of cultural activities on wellbeing and quality of life since 2005.

Notes to Editor

For more information or to interview a member of the research team, please contact Holly Finch, Assistant Media Relations Officer, Canterbury Christ Church University,

Partner organisations:

  • AgeUK
  • Arts Council England
  • New Economics Foundation
  • Royal Society for Public Health
  • The British Museum
  • Sir John Soanes Museum
  • UCL Museums & Collections
  • Islington Museum
  • Tunbridge Wells Museums & Art Gallery
  • Canterbury Museums and Galleries
  • Camden Council (Housing and Adult Social Care)
  • Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust (Camden Psychological Services)
  • Kent County Council (Children, Families and Education)
  • Kent and Medway NHS Partnership Trust

Canterbury Christ Church University

Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with a particular strength in higher education for the public services.

With nearly 20,000 students across Kent and Medway, its courses span a wide range of academic and professional subject areas.

  • 94% of our most recent UK graduates were in employment or further studies six months after completing their studies*.
  • We are the number one choice for local people looking to study at university in Kent (2013 UCAS).
  • We are one of the South East’s largest providers of education, training and skills leading to public service careers.

*2011/12 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey

About AHRC

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: ancient history, modern dance, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, English literature, design, the creative and performing arts, and much more. This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98m to fund research and postgraduate training in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK


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Last edited: 14/12/2018 22:16:00