Studying Wellbeing in Artful Moments

Following the use of the The Museum Well-Being Measures Toolkit (Thomson and Chatterjee, 2015), we asked participants for their perspectives and added our own observations and reflections. Our program was a combination of participants who were new to the program and a few who had worked with us in previous projects. Feedback revealed two key ideas:

  • The tool was easy to use, and yielded useful and easy to analyze data, in particular the ‘Thoughts and Comment Bubbles’ where participants commented on their experience in many different and insightful themes.
  • The umbrellas, which we used for each session became overly repetitive, with the same word choices every week. Over time participants’ responses were largely unchanging.

In later programs, we used a recurring questionnaire with three questions asked before the program began, mid-way and at the end. The focus was on mood and feelings of connection. We found similar results and challenges. Focus groups at the end of each 8-week program yielded the richest data.

Artful Moments - Participants hear about the day’s plan and our research.
Participants hear about the day’s plan and our research.

For our current work we considered what tool to use to capture effective measures of wellbeing using methods that are easy to use and meaningful for participants. We realized that our tool should be in line with our program philosophy. We needed to empower and amplify the voices of participants, and to gain an understanding of their experiences in their own words. And, the best way to do this? Ask them.

For the The Museum Well-Being Measures Toolkit, researchers began their work with a blank umbrella, using their work with participants to determine the most relevant words for the final umbrellas. In our work, we have returned to that moment, but with a twist.