ISBN: 978-1-906172-58-9

Creatively Minded and Heritage. Creativity and mental health activity in heritage settings

Author(s):*Listed Alphabetically
The Restoration Trust

Year of Publication:

Baring Foundation

Publication Type:


Heritage brings such significant added value for creativity and mental health programmes that it should be a core resource for people looking for mental health treatments, and for heritage, creativity and mental health professionals developing cross-sectoral social prescribing programmes.

The wellbeing agenda is rapidly maturing as demand for mental health services overwhelms supply and all kinds of community assets, including heritage, are called into play. The interplay of heritage and creativity, where imagination is rooted in knowledge, has particular power for mental health and should be fore-fronted in co-produced project design. Virtual experiences can be as potent as face-to-face ones.

The case for museums and wellbeing is already made, so this report focusses on creative engagement with natural and historic environments, archaeology and archives, which are less represented in the literature.

The 18 case studies by no means tell the whole story of creatively minded heritage and mental health projects in the UK, but they are examples of excellent practice across multiple art forms, heritage assets, organisational structures and health settings. They show that all heritage can be used creatively to improve people’s mental health and community connections nationwide.

People living with mental health challenges, funders, strategists, professionals, artists, service providers, social prescribers and academics can build on what has already been done to overcome barriers that restrict access to therapeutic engagement with heritage and creativity. Then everything will change for the better.

Evidence Type: Case Study

Main Focus: Mental Health

Research Purpose: Discussion / Debate

Context: Community

Art Forms: Museums

Access Type: Free Download

APA Citation:

The Restoration Trust (2021). Creatively Minded and Heritage. Creativity and mental health activity in heritage settings. London: The Baring Foundation.