Since the emergence of Positive Psychology in 1998, there is a growing body of evidence suggesting a positive correlation between wellbeing and arts engagement on both individual and community level. More particularly, the common perception of museums and galleries as serious spaces bound by rules and regulations has been challenged in recent years, especially through their specific programmes designed to improve the wellbeing of children and young people.
Consequently, in recent years, children’s presence in these institutions has been reframed into a relationship of creativity, unpredictability and co-creation. Inspired by the International Play Association’s 2013 worldwide campaign to build awareness to the importance of play in the lives of all children, institutions such as Manchester Museum embrace their role as Playful Museums, organizing events geared towards enhancing children’s wellbeing and happiness as well as publishing resource guides such as Rules for a Playful Museum (2015).
Richmond’s one-day conference will reflect on these recent phenomena and their implications; furthermore, the benefits of arts participation to the wellbeing of adults and communities will be explored, within a Positive Psychology theoretical framework. How do art galleries and museums contribute to positive wellbeing and the development of character strengths such as resilience or creativity? How can arts engagement build thriving, resilient communities? This conference brings together six academics, psychologists, museum professionals and play specialists in order to discuss these important issues.
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