Best of both: combining arts and science to measure the benefits of online culture for mental health in young people
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An inter-disciplinary project undertaken by museum and psychiatry staff at the University of Oxford in 2020 set out to find out if online cultural content could be effective against common mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. The O-ACE (Online Active Community Engagement) project used traditional arts engagement research methods such as surveys and co-production alongside health status measures and psychometric tests as part of a randomised control trial of more than 400 participants. As a result, it generated new understanding of how GLAM [Galleries, Libraries and Museums] organisations can actively involve audiences in medical research and of how cultural interventions may positively impact individual wellbeing, prior to diagnosis, treatment or social prescribing pathways.