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Meghann Ward

Research student

Meghann Ward

Lancaster University

Furness Building



Tel: +44 7718 479239

Current Research

My ESRC-funded CASE Studentship considers the health and wellbeing benefits of engaging in participatory arts activities for people with dementia and their carers. The project is based at Theatre by the Lake's 'Setting the Scene' programme in Keswick, Cumbria, which is a multi-arts creative activity group, including storytelling, movement and dance, arts and crafts, singing and music, multi-sensory experiences and group games.

Using mixed methods - including participatory observations, interviews, photography and video data - the project aims to explore and evaluate the overall effectiveness of 'Setting the Scene' by considering:

  • the importance and effectiveness of the different individual activities involved.
  • how best to sustain the engagement of people with dementia in creative arts settings.
  • the role and benefit of 'Setting the Scene' to family and professional carers.
  • the role of additional factors including setting/space/space, group relations and materiality (objects and props used).

People living with dementia, their carers and theatre staff have all played an active role in the research project, aided by adopting a participatory action research methodology (PAR). Participant feedback contributes to both the research project and the gradual development and refinement of the 'Setting the Scene' programme. In addition to traditional research outcomes, the project aims to produce a 'Setting the Scene' toolkit for use by Theatre by the Lake, as well as an exhibition of research findings based at the theatre in Autumn 2020.

Fieldwork was conducting between July 2018 and August 2019. The research is underpinned by therapeutic landscapes literature (e.g. Gesler, 1993; Williams, 2007), more-than-human geographies (e.g. Whatmore, 2006) and wellbeing literature.

Supervised By

Professor Christine Milligan (Co-Director of Lancaster University Centre for Ageing Research)

Professor Emma Rose (Lancaster Institute of Contemporary Arts)

Research Interests

With a multi-disciplinary background in Psychology, Anthropology and Human Geography, my overall research interests and past projects include the following:

  • Health, Wellbeing and Quality of life
  • Ageing and Memory
  • Affect and Emotion
  • Music and Arts
  • Space and Place
  • Therapeutic Landscapes
  • Soundscapes and Multi-sensorial scapes
  • Human and Animal relations in wellbeing context
  • Materiality, Agency and More-than-human relations
  • Identity, Belonging and 'Dys'placement
  • Socioemotional selectivity theory


Ph.D Health Research - Lancaster University 2017 - 2020 (ongoing)

MRes. Health and Wellbeing - Lancaster University 2016 - 2017 - Merit

M.A. Anthropology - Queen's University Belfast 2015 - 2016 - Distinction

BSc. (Hons) Psychology - Queen's University Belfast 2012 - 2015 - 1st Class

Other Interests and Hobbies

I am a singer-songwriter and pianist but also experiment with woodwind and percussion instruments. I have been a member in a number of different bands and worked as a wedding musician for over a year in Northern Ireland. I currently take part in occasional open mics and special events at Lancaster University.