Research shows participating in the arts promotes kindness

Arts charity People United has published a new report using evidence analysed by psychologists at the University showing that an effective way to encourage kind thoughts, feelings and actions is by enabling people to participate in arts experiences.

People United will launch a ‘be kind’ campaign focusing on World Kindness Day on Monday 13 November. The charity says this will be a ‘call to action for everyone who feels that the world needs a bit more kindness’. It aims to create a ‘be kind’ revolution with ’be kind’ signs popping up across the UK.

Their report, entitled Changing the World through Arts and Kindness, draws together ten years of quantitative evidence about the impact of People United’s projects, collated and analysed by academics at Kent’s School of Psychology.

That evidence is complemented by qualitative research gathered through conversations, interviews, observations, surveys and films by a range of researchers. Together the evidence shows the positive changes in how people think, feel and act towards one another after taking part in arts experiences.

The key findings, based on a decade of projects involving artists based in schools, communities, care homes and museums, show that the arts can lead to kind intentions and behaviour, reduce prejudice, enhance empathy, and increase connections between people and places.

The evidence also indicates that the arts can contribute to self-efficacy – a sense that we can make a difference and we can make change happen.

‘be kind’ campaign featuring Michele Gregson (People United, Learning Associate)
Nikki Wood (Community Liaison, Dame Janet Primary Academy)
Becky Vincer (People United, Project Assistant)
Shazza Ali (People United/University of Kent PhD Student)