Films to Make You Feel Good
Phoenix Independent Cinema and Arts Centre commissioned Coventry University to conduct a research project alongside a new strand of Phoenix’s Community Cinema Programming, Films to Make You Feel Good (FTMYFG). The mobile cinema programme, showing uplifting films at matinee events, was delivered between October 2015 and June 2016 at community venues in Leicestershire and Northamptonshire, and specifically targeted elderly and vulnerable people. Funding was received from the Film Hub Central East and Public Health.
The research question was:
“How might the screening of afternoon films attract new audiences to community cinema screenings, including people who are lonely or marginalised, to help enhance wellbeing, to uplift and inspire”
The following evaluation aims were addressed:
1. To understand the benefits of attending FTMYFG events, in particular responses to film screenings and their
ability to uplift, inspire and impact wellbeing.
2. To examine how film can connect people with members of their community
3. To understand best practice when delivering community arts programmes which address the needs of new,
harder to reach audiences
4. To explore higher education undergraduate students’ opportunities to engage with arts/health projects
The research team attended a selection of the 52 events delivered in 13 venues over nine months. The following evaluation methods were employed:
• Participant and stakeholder interviews
• Video shorts
• Art icons
• Audience survey
• Other creative methods – music and song
Parametric and non parametric methods were used for analysis of quantitative data. Documentary and thematic analysis were used for the qualitative data. Arts informed analysis and interpretation methods were drawn upon so research findings could be made accessible to diverse audiences.
Strengths and limitations of the study
• The study precipitated a new approach to examining the impact of projects for Phoenix, through a developing partnership relationship with Coventry University, and has supported Phoenix’s reputation nationally as an innovative cultural centre.
• New partnerships with Public Health are established and local authority partnerships strengthened due to the emphasis of programmes on health and wellbeing.
• Accessing the target audience was challenging.
• Participant wellbeing gains were evidenced from an immediate /short term perspective however; it was not possible to map indications of medium /longer term benefits due to the project timeframes.
Findings and recommendations for further research
• The programme provided important social encounters and opportunities to address and influence a range of physical and psychological issues faced by audience members, including reducing loneliness and enabling participation despite disability.
• Further work could examine how learning can be shared between venues to assist with development and sustainability of future programmes.
• Volunteer support and development is crucial in ensuring such projects are successful.
• Developing relationships with universities contributed to community partnership work enabling students to gain invaluable situated learning experiences.