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Award-winners initiate Culture Shots, the UK’s first Museums & Galleries Week in Hospitals

Culture Shots

7 days, 5 hospitals, 70 creative events: Manchester Museums and Galleries invite hospital staff to experience how culture can make a difference

Following two Royal Society for Public Health Awards for Innovative and Outstanding Contribution to Arts and Health Practice and Research, Whitworth Art Gallery, The Manchester Museum and Manchester Art Gallery, in partnership with Central Manchester University Hospitals will present Culture Shots, the UK's first ever Museums and Galleries Week to be held on a hospital site, 6-12 February 2012.

Record numbers flocked to Greater Manchester's award-winning and richly diverse museums and galleries in 2011, and with good reason, as they are enjoyable and thought-provoking places to visit. But museums and galleries also make a distinctive and well-documented contribution to visitors' health and wellbeing, and recent research even suggests that those who regularly visit actually live longer.

Greater Manchester museums and galleries have long worked in close partnership with health professionals - often with impressive results, whether for patients or healthcare professionals themselves. From this ongoing affiliation, Culture Shots will be launched with an exciting week of informative and creative activities aimed at staff at Central Manchester University Hospitals. The programme has been created to enhance the wellbeing of hospital staff as well as promoting the positive contribution to health that spending time in museums and galleries can bring about.

Taking place across Manchester Royal Infirmary, Central Manchester Children's Hospital, St Mary's Hospital, Manchester Royal Eye Hospital and University Dental Hospital of Manchester, staff can choose from a menu of taster sessions, lectures, workshops, performances and handling sessions.

From art bites, an introduction to the art already in the hospital, to more practical painting and craft making to talks by museum experts and gallery curators that reveal the collections, each session is planned to fit around a busy working day. Some are 'drop in' - just stay for a minute or two while others are up to 45 minutes long.

Lectures and case studies provide an in-depth look at subjects such as the benefits of reminiscence for older people or how museum objects can enhance wellbeing by improving confidence, self-esteem and sociability.  Staff can learn about the science of soccer with the Footy Professor courtesy of the National Football Museum or delve deeper into historical figures through special live performances. There's even a rare opportunity to view and handle some of The Manchester Museum's collection of live reptiles and amphibians.

"We are delighted to be hosting the first ever Museums and Galleries Week in a hospital setting," said Peter Mount, Chairman of Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CMFT).  "We believe that this initiative will benefit staff in their professional practice and have a positive impact on patients' health and wellbeing.  This is a welcome addition to our growing arts programme and will show how the arts can contribute to quality of life and quality of care."

Many of the creative arts projects on display within the five Central Manchester hospitals have been developed by CMFT's own award-winning art charity Lime.  A tour of these artworks is featured in the Museums and Galleries Week.

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The following galleries and museums are involved: Manchester Art Gallery, The Manchester Museum, Whitworth Art Gallery, Bolton Museum and Library Service, National Football Museum, People's History Museum, Manchester Art Gallery with Higher Blackley Children's Sure Start Centre, Portland Basin Museum, Ashton under Lyne and Salford Museum and Art Gallery.