Can participation in non-assessed, altruistic, creative learning experiences in blue spaces, contribute to improved mental health and wellbeing within the 3rd year student population and support their transition from university into employment? Can a creative programme predicated on this approach improve students non-clinical and non-acute mental health, develop agency and social capital, helping them to stay at university and progress into a creative career, by giving them hope and professional confidence.
The Falmouth University Springboard Studios (SBS) HealthWorks Cornwall programme identified non-acute and non-clinical mental health conditions as one of two main barriers preventing our students from progressing into the creative industries after graduating.
Furthermore, a lack of high-quality & professional creative industry experience, that both evidences their application of their creativity in a professional context, being the other barrier. Both factors have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
As outlined in our original bid, our approach used the evidence that the engagement non-assessed, place-based and altruistic creative learning experiences that are unique to Cornwall, can improve our student’s mental health and wellbeing.
Furthermore, giving them the opportunity to work on creative, high-quality, transdisciplinary, professional, collaborative, placed-based & altruistic briefs for local charities can develop agency, social capital and professional confidence to support progression into creative careers after graduating.
Can engagement in non-assessed, place-based, blue-space and altruistic creative learning experiences improve students mental health and wellbeing, and progression in to work?
Can the opportunity to work on creative, high-quality, transdisciplinary, professional, collaborative, placed-based & altruistic briefs for local charities develop agency, social capital, and professional confidence to support progression into creative careers after completing a creative undergraduate course in Cornwall?
Place-based learning, to better engage students and attain three important goals of education: student agency, equity, and community.
Builds on the work of Associate Professor, Daisy Fancourt whose research focuses on health, loneliness, social isolation, community assets, arts and cultural engagement, and social prescribing.
Embeds the Five Steps to wellbeing in creative learning experiences, NHS, Blue Mind, by Professor Wallace Nichols, explores the science that demonstrates how proximity to water can improve performance, increase calm, diminish anxiety, and increase professional success, by developing a Blue Mind, one that is creative, connected, curious, calm, and collaborative. A unique asset to Falmouth, a HEI surrounded by water.
Over two and a half years we co-designed a series of non-assessed, creative, learning experiences, embedded with the five steps to wellbeing, targeting level 6 students, which concluded with a year-long programme focusing on place, blue-space and altruistic opportunities. The programme followed design thinking methodology, identifying need through empathising with target participants, defining the specific problems and need through direct consultation with level 6 students, ideating, prototyping and testing learning experiences.
- Anna Mankee-Williams
- Rob Ingram
- Kamran Harandy
- Sasha Dobrota
- Nicola Wotton
- Owen Davis
- Lauren James
- Kamran Harandy
- Neil Fox
- Lucy Frears
- Naomi Frears
- Dion Star
- Steve House
- Mark Jenkin
- Julie Ripley
- Peach Doble
- Paul Ruskin
- Laura Blight
- Oli Udy
- Joanna Henley
- Josie Purcell
- Simon Poole
- Donna Poade
European Social Fund, via Cornwall Council:
- Value of project: £340,000
Outcomes & outputs
- 220 students participated, with 80 evidencing their ability to look for graduated entry level work, four weeks after completing their course.
- 6 paid interns.
- 1 film.
- 3 podcasts.
- Producer presented at Core Academic Training.
- The final programme called Blue Your Mind, concluded with students working with Alumni, on a brief for internationally acclaimed charity Surfers Against Sewage to help them diversify the membership. One of the campaigns is being used by the charity after all the campaigns were presented to the charity at their request.
Impact & recognition
The participating students have positively evaluated the creative activities both on themselves but also the nuanced impact on their approach to the transition between education and employment. Eighty students successfully searched for employment during the final month of the programme (and many later) within the creative industries. Their experiences, captured on their CV’s with the live brief experiences, added a competitive edge to this crucial transition.
FXU Student Union President, campaigned for the concept of Springboard Studios being embedded and broadened. Further discussions on longitudinal research establishing the evidence base for the model being deployed to support retention of vulnerable students in their first year of university is being explored.
The main beneficiaries were 3rd year level 6 students.
Public media for Springboard includes:
Listen to our Springboard Studios Podcast