MMU Research and Knowledge Exchange Blog

Funding opportunities, news and guidance from RKE at Manchester Met

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MS Society 2019 Grant Round Now Open

The MS Society have now opened their 2019 Grant Round, as with previous rounds the applications are organised into either Care and services or Biomedical research funding streams. There are 4 types of award available:

  • PhD Studentship
  • Innovative Awards (up to 12 months, up to £40,000)
  • Project Grants (up to 36 months, no funding limit)
  • Junior Fellowships (Care and services research only)

Deadline: For all types of award Thursday 11th April – 12 noon.

All information on the schemes and how to apply can be found in the 2019 applicant guidance handbook available below.

For further information please visit the MS Society website. If you’re interested in applying for any of the schemes please contact your Research Development Team using the form below:

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Arts for Health project impacts public health worldwide


ARTS for Health is a research project that has truly made an impact worldwide.

From the House of Lords to countries as diverse as Cambodia, Afghanistan and Lithuania, the MMU-based project has been instrumental in changing the way people think about the contribution the arts can make to public health.

Support has come from artist Sam Taylor-Wood, broadcaster Melvyn Bragg, poet Simon Armitage and NHS Chief Executive Sir Nigel Crisp among many others.

And the centre’s research has had a direct bearing on Government policy, with the Invest To Save project central to a debate in the House of Lords, and current Director Clive Parkinson asked to help establish an All Party Parliamentary group for Arts and Health.

Strong roots

Established by Peter Senior in 1974 as Hospital Arts, within the Faculty of Art & Design, the original objective was to humanise NHS environments.

In 1988 the centre formally became part of MMU, and was renamed Arts for Health. It was the first academic department of its kind anywhere in the world, and Senior was awarded both an MBE and the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres.

When Clive Parkinson took over in 2004, the focus moved from clinical to public health with the research project Invest to Save: Arts in Health, funded by HM Treasury and identifying opportunities for research sites across the region to explore the impact of culture, creativity and the arts on health and wellbeing.

The research team of Clive Parkinson, Peter Senior, Amanda Kilroy and Charlotte Garner have also worked with six established projects as part of the Appreciative Inquiry research project, and found that their work led to reduced levels of stress, anxiety and depression while increasing happiness and well-being.

International reach

Invest to Save not only featured prominently in a Department of Health working group report, it was also championed by Earl Howe and Lord Howarth, and led to Clive Parkinson being asked to discuss the research with the Secretary of State.

Parkinson has also delivered a paper about the project at a number of national and international conferences, including the International Symposium on Arts Health in Australia, in 2008, at the European Capital of Culture in Vilnius, Lithuania, in 2009, and at the UK Faculty of Public Health’s research conference in 2010.

In 2011 the paper was disseminated to the Australian Parliament through a presentation to a special committee, and Arts and Health Australia presented Parkinson with the International leadership in Arts and Health Award.

The legacy of the project continued with the development of the North West Arts and Health Network, created with partnership funding from the Department of Health and Arts Council England. The network has more than 5,000 members, in countries as far-flung as Cambodia and Afghanistan.

New dementia research

Recently, the British Council asked Clive to present his work to the Lithuanian Government, and one of his papers was used to set the context in the Lithuanian Cultural Ministry’s first research report on arts and health.

He has also worked with the Asia Europe Foundation as part of a trans-disciplinary team exploring Global Pandemic Preparedness, specifically how the arts can enable visual communication around complex health messages.

In April last year the research came to the attention of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, and most recently Art for Health, along with the Universities of Bangor and Newcastle, was awarded £1.2 million for a three-year research programme called Dementia and Imagination. The project will explore the impact of visual arts on wellbeing, and investigate the arts as a vehicle for developing dementia friendly communities.

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MMU History project ‘increased community pride’


A HISTORY project in Hulme involved more than 2,000 people in celebrating their community’s past.

Zion 100 is an award-winning research project led by Terry Wyke and Alan Kidd to increase community cohesion and integration in Hulme. The project centred on the centenary of a chapel now used as the Z-Arts Centre.

The case study project began with an exhibition including previously unseen photographs of Hulme. This led to a study “revealing the diverse and changing roles of the Congregational Church among an increasingly working-class population from the early nineteenth century onwards and explaining to present-day residents why the building had survived in a district that had undergone three major waves of development since 1900.”

Members of the local community were encouraged to become involved by taking part in oral history training and then helping capture stories told by local people. This was supplemented by material brought in by local people on “archive days” or posted to a dedicated website.

Major events

The project culminated in two events, an exhibition displaying diaries and other artefacts from the community and a series of amateur historical re-enactments each relating to a different decade from the building’s history.

These included a 1940s street party and a film night. The final event, a theatrical re-enactment of key moments in the history of the building, involved more than 100 participants and 300 audience members.

Liz O’Neill, CEO of Z-Arts, said: “It increased our profile quite substantially.

“The audience and participation targets which we set at the start of the project felt like quite a challenge, so to have exceeded them by almost doubling audience members for the year is evidence of how beneficial the project was for increasing awareness of our organisation, the work we do in general and the history of the building.”

Increased pride

Talking about Zion 100 and an earlier project, Moving Memories, Niall Power, from City South Housing Association, said: “In my time working within Hulme and Moss Side I have attended many events that claim to capture the essence of these very unique places.

“I can without hesitation say that both these projects did capture something very valuable, but as importantly did so in a way which involved people from a range of backgrounds giving them a sense of ownership and indeed increased pride.

“Legacy is a much overused word. But these two projects have lived on in the minds of those who attended for which we are all grateful.”

In 2012, the project won the inaugural ‘Manchester Communities History Award’ at the Manchester Histories Festival.