Art Works: Using the arts to promote emotional health and wellbeing in schools

Author(s):*Listed Alphabetically
Duncan K

Year of Publication:

City Arts Nottingham

Publication Type:


This report shares the learning from a creative project in four Nottinghamshire schools which used collaboration with artists to improve the emotional health of the whole school community.
The aim of the national Targeted Mental Health in Schools (TaMHS) project was to improve mental health outcomes for children and young people (5-13yrs) via interventions delivered through schools. This report is relevant to anyone working in health, education, social care, arts, the youth sector, and professionals supporting the emotional wellbeing of young people.

City Arts and the University of Nottingham were tasked with delivering and evaluating collaborative art projects in three Nottinghamshire secondary schools with a specific focus on 11- 13 year olds, and one primary school focusing on 10 -11 year olds. The projects in each of the four schools set out to explore how collaboration between artists and schools can promote mental wellbeing. Each project consisted of an 8 – 15 week programme with a group of targeted vulnerable young people promoting the development of friendships, confidence, self-esteem, resilience, communication, and social and decision-making skills.

The approach to evaluating the impact was two-fold: Visual methods were used to encourage young people to talk about the projects and their impact during formal and informal interviews; and a documentary film was made, incorporating footage of individual and group engagement throughout the process, alongside recorded interviews. The overwhelming majority of participants reported feeling ‘proud’ of the project. This was linked to high quality outcomes that exceeded expectations, supported by working with an artist. Other themes that emerged were developing resilience, absorption and engagement and social capital.

Evidence Type: Qualitative Research

Main Focus: Wellbeing / Quality of life

Research Purpose: Outcome Evaluation

Context: Education

Participant Group: Children (0-15)

Art Forms: Multi-Arts

Access Type: Free Download

APA Citation:

Duncan, K. (2013). Art Works: Using the arts to promote emotional health and wellbeing in schools. UK: City Arts.