GCPH Seminar Series 2017-2018, Lecture 2: Museums and Public Health in Glasgow - the Lessons of History.

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Summary: Mark is the former Head of Glasgow Museums and Associate Professor, College of Arts, University of Glasgow. Museums all over the world are developing projects and programmes aiming to improve the health and wellbeing of their visitors, from dementia-friendly tours to art therapy, and from exhibitions promoting healthy living, to projects for people with mental health issues. Can museums make a difference to health and wellbeing? Even if they can, do museums have the capacity to make a real difference at a population level? This talk explored historical and recent evidence to formulate some conclusions about the potential of museums to improve health and wellbeing. Using Glasgow as an example, this talk explored the connected histories of public health and public museums, as products of the Victorian era. Leading politicians of the time made an explicit link between cultural provision, and museums in particular, with public health. But were they right to do so? The second theme of this talk was recent epidemiological evidence that cultural attendance – simply visiting a museum or art gallery – has an influence on people’s health to such an extent that regular attenders live longer than infrequent visitors. Today we face different disease challenges than those that faced the Victorians. The emergent disease conditions of the 21st century are poor mental health, loneliness, suicide, substance abuse and obesity. Against such a backdrop, what is the contemporary role of museums as part of a shared public sector contribution to human flourishing? And if museums do really make a difference to health and wellbeing, how can we maximise that contribution?
Creators: Mark O'Neill
Copyright holder: Copyright © 2017 Glasgow Centre for Population Health
Tags: Glasgow Centre for Population Health, Population Health, Museums
Viewing permissions: World
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Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2017 10:43
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2017 08:46
URI: https://edshare.gcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/3285

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