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Kent museums find out how they can support the health & wellbeing agenda

On Tuesday 30th September, delegates from across the county came together to hear how museums and heritage organisations can play a vital role in supporting the health and wellbeing ageda.  

Professor of Psychology & Public Health, Paul Camic from Canterbury Christ Church University, opened the day by introducing the public health framework across the country and in Kent. Paul also clarified the difference between what is meant by public health and wellbeing and posed a few suggestions on how museums can play a role.

We heard from Alison Culverwell, Consultant Clinical Psychologist at Kent and Medway NHS & Social Care Partnership Trust, who talked through what dementia is and how it affects a person's life.  We were introduced to Julia and Trevor, a couple living with dementia, and heard about their experiences and how a reading aloud session held at The Beaney has allowed them to rediscover their love of reading and make new friends.

Public Health Specialist Ivan Rudd, from Kent County Council, spoke about mental health, which is the largest single cause of disability and represents 23% of the national disease burden in the UK.  Ivan also talked through how KCC commission health and wellbeing projects through their online Business Portal, using the Arts Development Unit as an example.

Shelley Boden discussed the various access barriers she has come across in her work with museums. Addressing and improving access can not only make a museum more welcoming for our disabled visitors, but for everyone.  Shelley also described how she runs 'Sensory' sessions and how blind and partially sighted (BPS) artists lead the creative element of the session.

A key part of the day was hearing from Mitch Robertson from Canterbury Museums & Galleries,  and Jeremy Kimmel from Tunbridge Wells Museum & Art Gallery.  Both are currently working on a reseach project with Paul through holding object handling sessions for people living with dementia.  

Paul brought the day to and end by looking at how we can measure the success of our interventions by presenting evaluation models and tools.

The day was a great success with lots of discussions and networking taking place.  The group were extremely keen to keep these discussions going and we have therefore arranged an informal follow up meeting on 6th November at 2pm being held at the Dockyard in Chatham.  If you are interested in joining us, please email to flag up your interest.

To view copies of all presentations and for more cse studies and useful links, please visit the resource pages.  Check out the tweets from the day by viewing #museum2museum.

"It was one of the most inspiring days I've been to."  (Delegate)