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Research about creative spaces

This page provides research, resources and other tools to advocate for the value of creative spaces. If you have other examples you would like others to know about, please contact Kate Hiatt (E: T: 04 802 4349).

Research on arts and youth wellbeing 

An article about research that maps the ecosystem of programming for arts and wellbeing practices is available on the Te Ora Auaha website. This research focuses on programming in Tāmaki Makaurau | Auckland, home to diverse, innovative arts and wellbeing practices specifically for youth. However, the current policy and funding context presents significant challenges for artists and organisations working in this area of the arts, impacting on growth, sustainability and positive impact. These are some of the findings from a research project conducted by the Critical Research Unit in Applied Theatre (CRUAT) at the University of Auckland.


The executive summary (PDF)

The full report (PDF)

Research on benefits of Arts Integrated programmes

A qualitative study evaluating the impact of programmes offered at the Arts Integrated creative space in Christchurch has been released. The study used the Most Significant Change Analysis technique, which involves collecting stories from people and stakeholders closely involved in the programme to evaluate the impacts and changes as a result of the programme's involvement. Read more and download the report

Māpura Studios: art therapy programme for stroke survivors

A Māpura Studios programme called re-stART is thought to be the first in the world targeting stroke survivors. An analysis of results from 2014 to 2016 by psychologist Simon Walker for his doctoral thesis found participants had a significant improvement in mood, anxiety and quality of life after the 12-week course. Read a Listener article abotu the impact of this programme

Report of survey findings

A report, Understanding the Value of Creative Spaces, presents key findings from a survey of creative spaces, intended to provide key decision-makers and agencies with information about the sector to better understand how the sector operates, the services it provides and to whom. Hon Carmel Sepuloni, Associate Minister for Arts Culture and Heritage, Minister for Social Development and Minister for Disability Issues requested that the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, the Office for Disability Issues and the Ministry of Social Development, with assistance from Arts Access Aotearoa, undertake a study on creative spaces to provide information about the sector. The report was released on 9 July 2019.

Impact of Ōtautahi Creative Spaces

Findings from research demonstrate the “profound” impact of Ōtautahi Creative Spaces’ programmes on artists’ mental health and wellbeing. Analysis of the innovative arts programme by Ihi Research and Development has revealed how it has helped those involved to become more connected and resilient with improved social skills. PDF icon Evaluation for Ōtautahi Creative Spaces Trust

Te Ora Auaha: Health & Wellbeing Alliance for Creative Innovation

The Alliance draws together artists and arts organisations, activists, healthcare practitioners and organisations, education institutions, research communities, funders and policy makers, and peak bodies for arts, youth and museums in a strategic interdisciplinary alliance of people and organisations committed to growing the contribution of arts and creativity to the health and wellbeing of communities across Aotearoa New Zealand. After an initial call to action in March 2017, a second hui was held in September 2017. Read September hui notes

A review of Auckland creative spaces

 Arts Access Aotearoa conducted a survey of creative spaces in Auckland in November 2017 to provide an in-depth picture of the creative spaces sector in Auckland. Findings highlighted three key themes: the sector is under-recognised, undervalued and underfunded. Anecdotally, Arts Access Aotearoa's knows the issues highlighted in Auckland play out across the sector around the country. Read Creative Spaces in Auckland: a review of inclusive organisations

Research: art courses improve mental wellbeing

Researchers at the University of Gloucestershire have recently evaluated data from nearly 1,300 primary care patients in South West England, finding a course of arts-on-prescription to provide a significant improvement in overall wellbeing, including in those with very complex care needs. UnlArts-on-prescription schemes provide art courses where patients can choose to learn how to draw, paint, create mosaics or write. The courses are led by local artists, and are community-based rather than being based on specific medical needs. 

Read the article

Advocacy: the road to good health 

"If we welcome the notion that our economy must be sound and that two of its drivers are creative industries and creative entrepreneurs, there must be a deeper strategic investment in the variety of artistic and creative opportunities. This strengthens the health of our society. It makes us happier," says Richard Benge, Executive Director, Arts Access Aotearoa, in this opinion piece published on Stuff. Read more

Research: arts for health and wellbeing

Creative Health report coverCreative Health: the arts for health and wellbeing, a 2017 report from an All-Party Parliamentary Group in the UK, presents comprehensive evidence on the beneficial impact of the arts. It’s the result of two years of research, evidence-gathering and discussions with patients, health and social care professionals, artists and arts administrators, academics, people in local government, ministers, other policy-makers and parliamentarians. In the report’s Foreword, Rt Hon Lord Howard says: “We hope that our report will influence the thinking and practice of people working professionally in health and social care as well as of artists and people working in cultural organisations … We offer a challenge to habitual thinking and ask for new collaborations to be formed across conventional boundaries. We are calling for an informed and open-minded willingness to accept that the arts can make a significant contribution to addressing a number of the pressing issues faced by our health and social care systems. The evidence we present shows how arts-based approaches can help people to stay well, recover faster, manage long-term conditions and experience a better quality of life. We also show how arts interventions can save money and help staff in their work.”

Download the report from this page.

The value of creative spaces

 In 2016 Arts Access Aotearoa surveyed 32 creative spaces organisations from across the country, to capture a snapshot and health check of what creative spaces around the country have been doing, what they offer and how they are being managed. The survey results provide a benchmark for monitoring future growth and development in the sector.


Creative Spaces Survey Results Report







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