Transformative Research Awards support novel, innovative and interesting research that moves beyond established divisions and dichotomies to enable insight, debate and new approaches to current health challenges.
Dance, Health and Well-being: debating and moving forward methodologies
It is now widely agreed that there is considerable evidence of the positive benefits of dance in developing physical aspects of health and fitness. Building on this, this eighteen-month research project has sought to develop understanding of the under-researched aesthetic, artistic and creative contributions that dance makes to health and wellbeing across the lifecourse. In particular it focused on what kinds of methodologies are appropriate for investigating these contributions, and how these methodologies can generate findings which extend how we understand the impact of the arts on health and wellbeing.
The research has taken a transdisciplinary approach, bringing together arts education and community research and practice, together with dance science and dance health practice. This is represented in the research team which has been led by Associate Professor Kerry Chappell from the University of Exeter, Graduate School of Education, working together with colleagues Professor Emma Redding, Veronica Jobbins and Dr Rebecca Stancliffe at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, Dr Sue Smith at Dance in Devon, and Ursula Crickmay also from the Graduate School of Education, University of Exeter.
The questions we asked:
What are the aesthetic, artistic and creative contributions that Dance makes to Health and Wellbeing across the lifecourse?
What methodologies (mixed/innovative?) are appropriate for investigating these contributions?
How can findings challenge/respond to the impact agenda?
What we did:
A systematic literature review (available here: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17482631.2021.1950891) was undertaken to articulate the current state of understanding of the aesthetic, artistic and creative contributions that dance makes to health and wellbeing across the lifecourse within evaluation reports and peer-reviewed articles, including English-language literature from 2000 to 2019.
Focus group discussions were conducted with dance and health practitioners, participants and other stakeholders to seek their opinions and experiences of how dance contributes to health, and to debate how they have been involved in researching creativity and artistry. The findings are being disseminated through a project report.
A symposium, hosted by the University of Exeter Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health, took place online on 19 April 2021 to share the results of the research, and to debate and extend the findings. The recording and presentations from the event can be found on the links below: