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Culture, sport and wellbeing evidence review

What Works Wellbeing: Culture, Sport and Wellbeing Evidence Review: Social Diversity and Context Matters

This evidence review, is one programme of work within the What Works for Wellbeing centre and aims to find out about the subjective wellbeing (SWB) benefits of different culture and sport practices and how they are distributed between different groups and user communities including: males and females, different socio-economic groups, diverse ethnic and minority groups; a range of age groups; and people with disabilities. We also wish to ensure that our findings on SWB can be most effectively combined to meaningfully inform policy about, and delivery of, culture and sport activities.

Throughout our project we use the Office of National Statistics definition of SWB which monitors SWB in terms of life satisfaction, experiences of happiness and worry, and worthwhile things in life.

To conduct our project, a group of researchers from Brunel University London, the London School of Economics and the University of Brighton work closely with 5 stakeholder groups; policy makers, commissioners, service deliverers, leaders and the public who are interested in finding, promoting and sharing the evidence to maximise the potential of culture and sport to enhance SWB. We run a series of workshops in the first 6 months of the project where stakeholders had the opportunity to discuss with researchers the relevance of SWB to culture and sport and to agree key topics and questions which can be answered using systematic searches of a range of literature sources. Following this the researchers identify and assess the evidence for the topics suggested and report to stakeholder groups through a series of ideas exchange workshops. We will focus on ensuring that the best evidence is presented and disseminated to relevant groups so that they can use it to inform policy on and delivery of cultural and sporting practices.

We have support for our project from several stakeholders in the culture and sport sectors. We recognise that stakeholders have time and workforce challenges in supporting this kind of project and so we work to use a range of online and virtual methods of communication as well as face-to-face approaches.

This evidence review aims to find out about the subjective wellbeing (SWB) benefits of different culture and sport practices and how they are distributed between different groups and user communities including: males and females, different socio-economic groups, diverse ethnic and minority groups; a range of age groups; and people with disabilities.

We focus on short, medium and long term achievements framed by three impact objectives:

  • to collaborate with key stakeholders in culture and sport to agree topics and outcomes most important to policy and practice.
  • to develop awareness of the evidence synthesis; sharing our findings amongst culture and sport stakeholders.
  • to influence stakeholders in developing policy and practice to enhance wellbeing through culture and sport, to diverse communities across the life course.

Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Professor Christina Victor - Christina joined Brunel in October 2009. She is  Professor of Gerontology and Public Health and Vice Dean (Research) in the  College of Health and Life Sciences as well as the Ageing Studues Theme Leader in the Institute of Environment, Health and Societies. Christina started her academic career as a geographer with a particular interest in the spatial distribution of health and illness and access to, and provision of, health and social care. She has a BA in Geography from Swansea University and an M Phil in medical geography from Nottingham.  It was whilst working at the Medical School in Cardiff that she developed  her interests in gerontology and her PhD investigated outcome after discharge for older people in Wales and she now focuses her interests in public health/population medicine on to the experiences of old age and later life. Christina’s initial research interests were focussed upon  health and health inequalities and the evaluation of services for older people.   More recently she developed a keen interest in loneliness and isolation; the benefits of exercise and activity in later life and the experiences of old age and later life amongst minority communities and the experience of ageing for people with intellectual disabilities. She has received funding for her research from a range of funders including ESRC, NIHR, Dunhill Medical Trust, Leverhulme and the British Academy. Christina has written over  200 journal articles and book chapters and has published 8 books in the field of gerontology. Her most recent book, Ageing, Health and Care, was launched by Policy Press at the British Society of Gerontology conference held at Brunel in July 2010. She is Editor of Ageing and Society, the leading social gerontology journal in Europe. She is a member of a range grant awarding bodies including NIHR and ESRC. She is a Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health and an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences.  In 2017 Christina was awarded the Lifetime Achievement award of the British Society of Gerontology and awarded Fellowship of the Gerontological Society of America. Qualifications: PhD, M Phil, BA

Related Research Group(s)

Health and Wellbeing Across the Lifecourse

Health and Wellbeing Across the Lifecourse - Inequalities in health and wellbeing in the UK and internationally; welfare, health and wellbeing; ageing studies; health economics.


Partnering with confidence

Organisations interested in our research can partner with us with confidence backed by an external and independent benchmark: The Knowledge Exchange Framework. Read more.


Project last modified 15/07/2021