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Films to Make You Feel Good

Lab Contact: Katherine Wimpenny
Team: Esme Spurling


This project is providing second year Media and Communication students with the opportunity to work with Phoenix, Leicester’s independent cinema and arts centre and Leicester City Council’s Neighbourhood Management team to get hands on experience to support a programme of screenings as part of the ‘Films To Make You Feel Good’ project in which community members, particularly those who may be more isolated or vulnerable, can enjoy high quality curated cinema experiences.

The programme of films has been specifically selected for their ability to uplift and inspire and hopefully make audiences laugh. Students are supporting the project evaluation in collaboration with the DMLL, to capture what impact this art project has on the community members’ well-being. Further, the project is seeking to understand more widely how the project impacts students’ learning and contributes to promoting transdisciplinary perspectives about art and health initiatives. The students will be able to use their experience as part of module learning and as an assessed piece of live project work.



  1. To examine the transdisciplinary learning gains created – through the interaction between the community participants, Phoenix Artists, health and media students, research leads and public health services, arising through and from the project.
  2. To uncover and reformulate what high-quality arts experiences offer harder to reach and vulnerable people within (urban) communities – how it is exemplified, and if, and how, new perspectives emerge  and develop during the project


Technology Application

Students will be working with video and photography to capture community members feedback about the cinematic experience. Students are creating storyboards of how a video could be constructed, and how they can capture feedback creatively for photography.

The students will be designing and developing high-quality media outputs for presentation as part of their module work. These artworks will be showcased at the Student Hub, February 2016.



  • Students engaged in a media workshop facilitated by Kate Green, Esme Spurling, and Alex Masters, in DMLL, to consider the use of film and photography as research tools.
  • In early January 2016, students will attend a follow-up workshop to look at techniques for framing photographs and films. Students will also organise themselves into pairs and triads to go out to the screenings to capture data.


Films that make you feel good




  1. Students recruited to the project

    Media students offered 140 characters about their interest in being involved. Students also sent a short video captured via smartphone or webcam telling us why we should choose them for this placement.  (Video to be no longer than 1 minute)

  2. Meetings with the DMLL research team, module staff and students to discuss research approach and tools.
  3. Students, research and module team members to visit Phoenix and meet with Sallie Varnum, Project Manager, and other Project team members to discuss the creative research framework.
  4. First screening and pilot data capture to start from 26th November to April 2016
  5. Students showcase their work in the marketplace Square 1 to a public viewing
  6. Data analysed, interpreted and project report developed
  7. Final report produced and signed off by Phoenix

Download the films that make you feel good PDF banner


Key Findings


Six key themes emerged from analysis of the qualitative and quantitative data:

  1. Community Venues: use of space
  2. The Feel Good Experience and Community Engagement
  3. Impact on sense of self
  4. Accessing the hard to reach members of the community
  5. The influence of others
  6. Student learning gains


Student learning gains:
  • There is an opportunity for universities to be involved in community projects, both as subjects of research and as providers of experience for students to take part in live community projects. Developing relationships with universities has been seen to effectively contribute to community partnerships and has enabled students to gain invaluable situated learning experiences.
  • Students require ongoing support once recruited, to enable them to gain the best learning experiences from live project work. Effective communication, planning, preparation and monitoring, amongst project staff, university staff and students are required to enable students to be able to fulfil their roles while maintaining effective delivery of the programme.
  • The contribution of the arts to both education and wellbeing offers the potential for future artistic work, for example, the participants’ stories have potential to be developed into written scripts and performed by community youth theatre groups.
  • The students involved in working with Phoenix and with community participants, benefited from gaining first-hand knowledge, understanding and experience of how arts and health projects impact people and communities.
  • The learning gained from recruiting and supporting media students to engage in volunteer work experience placements on community arts and health projects has informed the development of frameworks of good practice for experience-based learning.


Films that make you feel goodFilms that make you feel good


Project report

To access the full report please use the following link:

Wimpenny, K. & Varnam, S. (2016) Films to Make you Feel Good: Evaluation Report, July 2016.


Conference paper

The project will be presented at the Culture, Health and Wellbeing International Conference and Exchange, 19–23 Jun 2017


Project Timeline:

Start date:

24th September 2015

End date:

June 2016


Junes 2017

Associated Faculties, Schools and/or Course(s):

  • Faculty of Arts and Humanities
  • Media
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