Our project, and other recently funded work, all respond to the challenges laid down in the Mendoza and DCMS Culture is Digital reports and dovetail with the Arts Council England’s emphasis on technology within the museum sector. We plan to deliver new ways of digital engagement, train our staff and create new opportunities.
This project responds to international work on how cultural engagement could enhance health and wellbeing and reduce loneliness [APPG report, Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing, 2nd ed.] and to evidence that active intellectual stimulation improves the wellbeing of many patients [Uwajeh & Iyendo, IJMAS,2016]. It is designed to improve the wellbeing of hospital patients and their carers, and to support the DU in providing stimulating experiences for their service users (Corrigan et al., 2017, IMJ).
Our existing work with the DU, whose patients are typically aged 65-80, involves bringing handling collections to facilitate bedside conversation. However, partnering with MIAB enables us to respond to DU evaluation feedback that patients would like more interactions and have a wider multi-sensory experience. The MIAB collaboration will bring aural, sensual and visual engagement through replica and 3D-scan derived objects linked to cutting-edge technology, enabling new modes of interaction for both CYP and DU users - 45% of whom suffer from sight loss - with cultural provision in non-museum locations.
In addition to conversations facilitated by Glen, we intend to leave a box in the DU’s public common room for patient access, along with relevant reading material, ensuring that the needs expressed by DU users are fully accounted for. This project goes beyond MIAB’s existing work, as most of their outputs have been focused around museum and school engagements; clinical and informal learning settings like those run by CHYPPS are an under-investigated space for MIAB. In the future, the silicone-coated boxes - which are easily sanitised to avoid cross-contamination - can be updated with additional material via Wi-Fi . Through a series of blog posts, a best practice workshop, and a self-produced video, Glen will promote the use of MIAB to other UCM and regional museums for relatively cheap, easy-to-implement and replicable tool for engaging different audience groups.