Edna: energise dance nourish art

Skingley, A., De'Ath, S. and Napleton, L. (2017) Edna: energise dance nourish art. Research Report. (Unpublished)

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The vital need to maximise the health and wellbeing potential of the growing numbers within the older population is acknowledged at government level and among health professionals. A certain amount of research evidence exists to suggest that both visual arts and creative dance confer benefits to older people.

In April 2013, North Kent Local Authorities Arts Partnership (NKLAAP) funded and produced edna – energise dance nourish art; a dance, arts, health and wellbeing project. The aim of the pilot project was to evaluate the benefits to health and wellbeing of dance and arts activities that were stimulating and developed for and with older people in Medway and Gravesend.

Medway Older People’s Partnership (MOPP) and two professional artists were commissioned to support and deliver edna. Two groups of people over 50 years were formed in outreach community settings in the NKLAAP region (Local and Unitary Authority areas of Gravesham and Medway).

NKLAAP also jointly commissioned The Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health (SDH) and the Dance Science department of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance (TL) to undertake an empirical evaluation of edna. The research team included a Senior Researcher from SDH and a Graduate Intern from TL’s Dance Science Department.

Specific physiological and psychosocial areas of health and wellbeing were chosen for assessment. The overall design involved a pretest-posttest descriptive study, incorporating validated research measures plus semi-structured interviews. Physiological assessments included postural assessment, range of shoulder mobility and balance.

Psychosocial measures were collected using the World Health Organisation’s WHOQOL BREF, a quality of life (QoL) questionnaire1. A specially designed questionnaire was also used to capture general attitudes towards the project as a whole.

Physiological research findings demonstrated statistically significant improvement of the left shoulder mobility within both groups and a trend towards improvement in the right shoulder mobility. Both groups saw a significant improvement in posture with the Medway group significantly improving in upper body and the Gravesend group in the lower body. For both groups there was a significant improvement in balance scores.

Overall mean post-intervention QoL measures showed higher scores than at baseline, with a significant post-intervention difference in the psychological domain when compared to baseline. For participants in Medway the greatest change was in psychological and social domains. For Gravesend participants the greatest change was in the physical and psychological domains.

Findings from this small scale pilot project suggest that dance and arts programmes have the potential to improve both physiological and psychosocial wellbeing of older people. It is recommended that
commissioning agencies should consider including funding for such interventions in future plans and also support continuing evaluation to increase generalizability and to look at other variables in the
physiological and psychological domains.

Item Type: Report (Research Report)
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health
Depositing User: Ann Skingley
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2018 11:19
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2018 11:19
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/17082

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00