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Health Research Institute (HRI)

We have complied an exhaustive list of all our international, national, and regional and local partners. These partners assist us with research, funding, and keeping the Centre up and running. plied an exhaustive list of all our international, national, and regional and local partners. These partners assist us with research, funding, and keeping the Centre up and running.

International Research Alliance

Professor Vicky Karkou, Director of RCAW, is a member of the International Research Alliance for arts therapies. This alliance, directed by Dr Nisha Sajnanum supports and progresses doctoral and postdoctoral research activity in the field of arts therapies. It links universities and communities around the globe, paying particular attention to reaching out to academic networks in resource poor countries.

Members are from New York, Drexel and Lesley universities in the USA, Alanus and Heidelberg universities in Germany, University of Haifa in Israel, the University of Melbourne in Australia and Edge Hill University in the UK.

Erasmus+ project partners

  • Università degli Studi di Roma ‘Foro Italico’
  • University Medical Centre, Utrecht
  • Incontradonna
  • ISESIstituto Europeo per lo sviluppo socio economico
  • Bulgarian Sports Development Association, Sofia
  • Klaipeda Region Women Information Centre, Lithuania

Edge Hill led the pilot of this European funded research project at Merseyside Dance Initiative in Liverpool, which involved the delivery of a sixteen week therapeutic dance programme designed for women who are in recovery from breast cancer, aiming to support both their physical and psychological health. A free training weekend was also provided for dancers and exercise professionals who were interested in delivering the programme independently. A publication on the project is underway.

Visit the Dancing Health website

Riga Stradins University, Latvia

In 2014 Prof Vicky Karkou was awarded the title of Honorary Doctor of Medicine from Riga Stradins University, Latvia for her services in supporting the development of arts psychotherapies in the country. Today the universities continue to foster their relationship, sharing knowledge, and collaborating on both events and research projects.

New York University

The Research Centre for Arts and Wellbeing enjoys a close collaborative relationship with New York University, sharing knowledge, working on research projects and publications together and facilitating network opportunities and collaborative events.

Through this partnership, students in Edge Hill University have also benefitted greatly. In March 2018 the university’s resident dance company 3rd Edge had the opportunity to travel to New York to perform at the US launch of the Oxford Handbook of Dance and Wellbeing.

The event was hosted at New York University by the Drama Therapy Programme, Dr Nisha Sajnani and Professor Vicky Karkou. Edge Hill University students closed the event with a performance of So Love…, choreographed by renowned dance artist, Mathieu Geffré.

Composite Regional Centre for Skill Development, Rehabilitation and Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Karnataka, India

Dr. Gnanavel K, Assistant Professor in Speech Language Pathology and Audiology has been a key collaborator for the Indian Pilot study of Dance Movement Psychotherapy with the caregivers of children with ASD and been a co-author of two publications.


A number of past and current research projects involve key collaborations with NHS services and Trusts. This includes IAPT services in Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Liverpool University Hospital, Alder Hey Hospital, community mental health teams in Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Trust, Staff Wellbeing services in Pennine NHS Trust and Art Therapies Service at Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust. 

Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group

A strategic partner for the centre, the Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group support the development of research activities through both funding, advocacy and brokering partnerships. LCCG are currently funding the Arts for the Blues research project for delivering creative psychological interventions in NHS and community services. They will also be supporting a future NIHR bid to develop this study further.

The Arts Centre, Edge Hill University

The Arts Centre is a focal point of cultural activity at Edge Hill University with a programme of high-profile comedy, music and performance, professional theatre and dance, and a diverse range of films, including National Theatre and RSC live performances.

Leading figures from the arts and creative industries, science and politics regularly deliver talks on campus, sharing their experiences with students and the local community. The Arts Centre also have strong partnerships with theatres, galleries and festivals throughout the North West which provide opportunities to access a host of cultural experiences.

The Arts Centre

Everyman Playhouse

Two theatres with a mission to inspire, reflect aspirations and concerns of audiences and fuel civic pride. Both venues create and receive forward thinking theatre, as well as having an award-winning youth arts programme, Young Everyman Playhouse (YEP).

Progressive Social Change reflects the theatres’ purpose in the city region and is the nucleus of the organisation. Priorities include:

  • Healthy Creative Lives for All : developing as a dual purpose city centre theatre and Life Room (a community hub for all including adults signposted from NHS mental health services which is a place of sanctuary, creative learning, recovery, health and wellbeing)
  • Inspiring young people and families, involving the development of a story and literacy programme for children, sustaining Young Everyman Playhouse involving 600 young people and development of educational partnerships.

The Everyman Playhouse Creativity and Social Change team are part of the Artistic Team at the theatres. They cherish creativity in the community, supporting people from first engagement, through artist development or the development of new work, to being part of the artistic programme.

The Everyman Playhouse


Mind mental health charity (Tameside, Oldham and Ashton)

Mind are a key partner for the Arts for the Blues study. Currently workshops and longer interventions are planned for adults with depression.

Arts for the Blues website for more information

Special Educational Needs schools

With thanks to the following schools who have hosted our intervention programmes, provided venues and access to research participants. 

Abbot’s Lea School, Beaconsfield Road, Liverpool L25 6EE

Chatsworth High School & Community College, Chatsworth road, Eccles, Manchester M30 9DY

University of Salford

Dr Joanna Omylinska-Thurston and Dr Scott Thurston at the University of Salford are a core part of the Arts for the Blues team.

We work closely with the University of Salford to collaborate on research projects, events and training under the Arts for the Blues umbrella.