Investigating the benefits, and mechanisms, of creative activities for wellbeing

My research focuses on how creative activities and hobbies can influence wellbeing in the general population.

Music yarn

Craft

The Yarnfulness Project was designed to conduct high-quality public engagement and involvement, aimed at developing research projects with the public. There has been a recent trend in the news and online media reporting on the positive benefits of creative activities, such as knitting and crochet. The benefits cited are the promotion of good mental health and wellbeing, through relaxation and social factors. The benefits of these activities have been compared to those of mindfulness and meditation, due to the rhythmic, calming nature of such crafts.

Many of the reports and publications making the link between craft and wellbeing are subjective reports and have not been peer-reviewed. What peer-reviewed evidence is available has been based on questionnaires and qualitative interview studies. Whilst the popularity of these reports is clear, there have been no empirical studies conducted to support them.

This research project is a collaboration between researchers from Oxford, Southampton, and members of the public. We aim to set up a scheme of work that will:

Investigate published evidence; Investigate the health and cognitive benefits of creative activities; Develop ‘mindful’ creative activities with members of the public; Compare creative activities to mindfulness; Develop models of mindfulness with creative activities.

 

Music

In collaboration with ROLI we are researching how engaging with music in different ways might influence wellbeing in the general population.

Our first study aims to survey up to 500 members of the general population about music engagement, creativity and wellbeing.

Our second study plans to utilise an existing database to investigate how music engagement at a young age may predict wellbeing during adolescence.