About the project

How can creativity, culture, and heritage address health inequities in Greater Manchester? Organisations of Hope is seeking to establish a creative health coalition to address this question.

Creative Health Coalition

Greater Manchester is home to a wide range of arts and cultural organisations, charities, and health and care providers. These assets support the health and wellbeing of our diverse communities. However, community assets are not necessarily located where they are most needed, nor are they always well resourced, and they can be difficult to find or access.

By mapping creative health assets in Greater Manchester, using data collated from various Greater Manchester-based groups, Organisations of Hope is building a creative health coalition that brings together communities and organisations to address health inequities across the city region. Creative health assets might include a park, a dance club, a choir or a community centre. We want to understand where these assets are and what residents would appreciate more of in their neighbourhoods.   

Once formed, the next phase of the project will see the team and its partners work together to assess and understand how each of the assets in the coalition can collaborate to improve people’s health and wellbeing and tackle the social determinants of health, with an initial focus on mental health and well-being. Much of this work will involve testing, observing what approaches work best and why, and how they can work better. In turn, the team can then seek ways in which successful activities can be shared or replicated to benefit other communities, better inform those working in various community organisations about the need for creative health, and provide training where needed.

Where did this all begin?

Despite Greater Manchester’s strong people focus and forward thinking, residents in Greater Manchester have, on average, worse health outcomes than people living in other areas of the UK, both for physical and mental health. Most striking is how these poor health outcomes vary across the city region, impacting some areas and communities more than others.

To address these issues, Greater Manchester has committed to becoming the world’s first creative health city region, the strategy for which was launched at the beginning of November 2022. The belief behind this is that creative and cultural activities can have a positive impact on people’s health and mental wellbeing, and can be harnessed to address health inequalities and inequities. Therefore, once the strategy has been fully implemented, creative activities and opportunities will be accessible to multiple community groups establishing a supportive environment where people suffering from long-term physical and mental conditions can benefit.

Organisations of Hope will help to achieve this outcome by understanding and mapping the existing links between all of these creative health community assets.

Funding

Organisations of Hope is funded primarily by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

In 2021, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) established the £26 million Mobilising Community Assets to Tackle Health Inequalities investment, which has enabled AHRC to fund several research projects that examine how to scale-up small, local approaches to tackle health inequalities. Organisations of Hope is one of these research projects.

Professor Helen Chatterjee, AHRC’s Health Inequalities Programme Director, remarked on the necessity of these projects for creating a fairer and more equitable society, that they guarantee shared infrastructure and spaces serve the entire community and play their part in addressing inequality. “It is exciting to consider how bringing together and rethinking the use of cultural assets in these regions might change health outcomes for their communities.”