Category Archives: Research

Art Boxes

Over the Covid-19 restrictions Art at the Start have been sending out boxes of art materials and ideas to try at home to vulnerable families. The first 50 were funded by Vicky’s School of Social Sciences research budget and then we were lucky to win funding from the University’s Public Engagement Seed Fund to do 100 more. The boxes contained everything that families with young children would need to try 12 different creative activities and were designed to encourage positive interactions and help wellbeing during the pandemic.

A report looking at our preliminary findings from interviews with parents who received a Home Art Box has just been published. We saw several benefits including increased parental confidence to make art together and increasing connections between parent and child.

Our report – ‘Art boxes supporting parents and infants to share creative interactions at home: an art-based response to improve well-being during COVID-19 restrictions’ – is published open-access in Public Health and is free to read here:

We are really happy that the Art Boxes are continuing to develop and receive interest. We have done follow up packs with the International Women’s Centre and are now working with Amina, funded by the People’s Postcode Lottery so we can continue to reach local families. We are also looking at adapting boxes beyond the pandemic and creating a book resource based on all the ideas and the feedback from families.


Publications and conferences!

Holly has been working with Dundee Contemporary Arts on a couple of projects, and it seems Autumn is the time to share them!

Engage Journal

Firstly, she interviewed Sarah Derrick, Head of Learning, about the development of the learning programme at DCA over the course of 20 years. This article has been published by Engage, the National Association for Gallery Education:

43: Profession and Practice


Talking About Art

Secondly, Holly ran a project at DCA earlier this year exploring the impact of the Create Space on family learning. The full report is now available here: Talking About Art Full Report

Thanks to all participating families!

Engage Conference

And finally, Holly will give a short presentation on Talking About Art at this year’s Engage Conference in Newcastle, as part of the Soapbox session on 5th November, sharing her findings with gallery and museum staff from the UK and beyond.

Unlocking Culture: an entitlement for children and young people

Talking About Art: Call for Participants


We are looking for volunteer families* to explore, draw, and discuss art.

At a loss for words when you look at art?
Or do you always know what to say?
How can galleries help us find our voice?

As part of the long term project Art at the Start, University of Dundee is partnering with Dundee Contemporary Arts Learning Programme to explore what happens when families view and make art together. The Talking About Art project will research how families use the self-led activities at DCA. The researcher, Holly Rumble, aims to determine how these activities impact on family engagement with the visual art exhibitions.

Holly will lead the sessions, which last for 45 minutes, and take place in early 2019.
Sessions in January and February will look at the work of Lorna Macintyre
Sessions in late March and April will look at the work of David Austen

We will provide refreshments and a small gift to thank you for your time.

For an information sheet please click here: Adult information sheet

If you have any questions please email:

*(with at least one child under 16)

Thanks for reading!