In this post I will share some of the main research projects I am involved in.

Arts Gymnasium

For the full (and new) Arts Gymnasium project site, including a wide range of research outputs and rich media, please look here

The Arts Gymnasium is a follow-on three-year project partnership, funded by Esmée Fairbairn, which builds on the uniqueness of the Creative Gymnasium project (Wimpenny & Savin-Baden 2014) delivered as part of the theatre’s strong community and education programme at the Belgrade Theatre under the leadership of the Associate Director, and General Manager. Key stakeholders in the follow-on study include Coventry City Council (Public Health Team, the Dementia unit, Insight Team), Age UK Coventry, the Alzheimers Society, housing organisations, and associated networks. The theatre will also work closely with grassroots organisations and initiatives to engage the hardest-to-reach groups.

I am leading the evaluation of this project with a team of researchers at Coventry University. We are working  closely with the project partners and participants to design and implement an evaluation that is arts-based as well as the inquiry being user-guided.

Student involvement in live project work

We are very pleased to have recruited five students from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities; including a master’s student in Photography, level I Media Communication students, and level II Media Communication students.

The students have been attending weekly sessions at the Belgrade over this last term to get to know the project participants.

By end of this term, (May, 2017) the students will produce a film and photography exhibition.

The focus for these creative outputs will be used to disseminate and promote the Arts Gymnasium project, particularly from participants’ personal perspectives.

Arts Gymnasium Exhibition

Screen Shot 2017-05-25 at 16.32.00
Join us for an evening celebrating participatory theatre for over 50s at the Albany Theatre 10th June 2017 from 7pm
Arts Gymnasium Exhibition curated by Coventry University students
Wealth is Health performed by Collective Encounters
Arts Gymnasium Documentary Film Screening
Q&A with Collective Encounters’ Third Age Acting Company

Places are limited. For booking and information call 024 7699 8964 or visit

Next Steps

A paper sharing the project findings to date including how the Belgrade are making drama accessible to the 50+ community in Coventry has been accepted for presentation at the Culture, Health and Wellbeing International Conference and Exchange, 19–23 Jun 2017, in Bristol.

Other example projects:

  1. Shakespeare Disrupted’ involved staff and students from Occupational Therapy and Law working with an artist/educator from the RSC, exploring how Shakespeare could be used to examine complex course concepts to harness creativity through stepping outside disciplinary comfort zones.
  2. Curious Oddities involved students from Motor Sports and Health, working with a Coventry graduate and artist, during induction week, to create curious forms, using materials, scratch-built, from found objects, to stir their imagination and represent perspectives about the start of their learner journey.
  3. The Geese Theatre and problem-based-learning project involved nursing tutors sharing content with a Theatre company who performed a complex family scenario to 200+ nursing students. The performed content was then used in seminar groups interpreted through an evidence-based practice lens.
  4. We Have A Situation, Coventry! involved humanities students and an artist-in-residence, in dialogue with community residents and academics, exploring the relationships between the university and city and new models for active citizenship through creative praxis.
  5. Films To Make You Feel Good. This project provided second year Media and Communication students with the opportunity to work with Phoenix, Leicester’s independent cinema and arts centre and Leicester City Council’s Neighbourhood Management team to get hands on experience in supporting me to evaluate a programme of screenings as part of the ‘Films To Make You Feel Good’ project, in which community members, particularly those who may be more isolated or vulnerable, could enjoy high quality curated cinema experiences.

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