Cultural and Museum Studies, University of Leicester
My creative practice spans individual work as an artist, curator, writer, and researcher and includes collaborative projects and creative project management. My background in museums, psychotherapy, women’s health, and community engagement. I am founder/co-director of Common Threads creative arts and health organisation, which works in partnership with museum. I am currently artist in residence at the Beeches Perinatal Unit, Derby Royal Hospital.
I am interested in the construction of individual and cultural identities, their constantly recalibration and mediation through objects.
PhD Title: Pathways to Wellbeing: exploring the social and spatial role of museums in supporting mental health.
Located within the AHRC-funded M4C, the PhD is a partnership between the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester and the Holburne Museum. Its focus is the Pathways to Wellbeing programme which supports mental health through a range of creative participatory activities at the Holburne and other partner museums in Bath.
The widely used ‘CHIME’ model specifies ‘identity’ as a key component in recovery from mental health problems. I will explore the role of museums in contributing to constructions of individual and cultural identities, interrogating the links between identity and memory, and the pervasive idea of museums as ‘collective memory’. I am interested in pursuing the idea of the gaps in collective memory perpetuated by museums, and how this might impact on mental health.
I will explore the project through three key research questions:
Exploring creative wellbeing programme practices in museums compared with current mental health interventions such as Art Therapy or ‘talking therapies’, and the impact of this on participants, delivers and museum staff.
Pathways to wellbeing
Pathways to Wellbeing: Changing Lives through art (Phase 1, 2016-19) is a museum-based community participation programme supporting people living with mental health issues, social isolation and homelessness through engagement with local heritage and creativity. The 3-year project was originally supported by Arts Council England and is now funded by the National Lottery Community Fund. The programme is made up of four key projects, all of which are free to participants. https://www.holburne.org/learning/community-engagement/pathways-to-wellbeing/
'Recovery stories: transitional identities and the ambivalence of the maternal experience' in Therapeutic Arts in Pregnancy, Birth & New Parenthood, Edit. Professor Susan Hogan, Routledge, 2021.
2021 Learning from Lockdown: Language, Mental Health & Commemoration in the Wake of Covid-19, Online Symposium, Nottingham Trent University
2018 QUAD Creative Wellbeing Symposium
2017 Arts & Humanities Symposium, University of Derby
2016 National Culture Counts Conference, The Lowry
2014 Understanding British Portraits Conference, National Portrait Gallery
2014 East Midlands Arts Awards Conference, QUAD, Derby
Founder/co-director of Common Threads creative arts and health organisation, which works in partnership with hospitals, Mind, community organisation etc., taking inspiration from museums and heritage sites. http://www.common-threads.org/
Currently leading a wellbeing project funded by BUPA with the Framework Knitters Museum
Artist in residence at the Beeches Perinatal Unit, Derby Royal Hospital.
National and regional museums awards received for engagment and partnership projects, 2027-2017
The construction of individual and cultural Identities, with specific refence to maternal expereince.https://cargocollective.com/jane-hardstaff/Motherlines-1