School of Arts and Cultures

Staff Profiles

Dr Anna Goulding

Research Associate



My research examines how cultural engagement relates to people's everyday lives and meaning making process. I explore the psychosocial barriers to engagement alongside the processes and outcomes of participation. Central to my work is investigating how motivation intersects with age, class, ethnicity and gender. My research in the fields of art consumption in the contemporary art gallery, lifelong learning and wellbeing specifically addresses questions of cultural value. Previous research has focused on the impact of art gallery educational programmes upon participants in terms of developments to their knowledge and understanding, self-confidence and sense of identity. With a background in gallery education, I am keen that research has a practical application and feeds into contemporary gallery education practice, providing meaningful experiences for participants. 

Prior to my current post I held the position of Research Fellow at the University of Manchester on the Ambition for Ageing programme, a £10.2 million programme of work which used a collaborative approach to combating social isolation in Greater Manchester.

I gained my PhD from the University of Newcastle in 2016, where I had previously worked as CI and PI on a number of research projects. These include:

  • The role of creative interventions in fostering connectivity and resilience in older people is an AHRC-funded project critically reflecting on a range of approaches to developing resilience including community-led design, visual arts interventions, gardening and theatre.  
  • Contemporary visual art and identity construction - wellbeing amongst older people, funded by the cross-research council New Dynamics of Ageing Programme, used a qualitative approach to gauge a range of older people's reactions to visiting contemporary art galleries.  This led to a follow-on project which contributed to research-informed arts policy and interventions designed to improve the lives of older people.  
  • Dementia and Imagination: Connecting communities and developing well-being through socially engaged visual arts practice is being led by Dr. Windle at Bangor University and is funded by the AHRC Connected Communities Programme: Communities, Cultures, Health & Well-Being Large Grants. This project brings together researchers from social sciences in areas such as dementia, gerontology, psychology and economics with research in the visual arts, cultural policy and museum studies.  The project aims to look at developing well-being and connecting communities through socially engaged visual arts practice. 
  • Research for Community Heritage was funded by AHRC under the Connected Communities Programme and involved working with heritage groups to develop their projects.

I am co-editor of The Sociology of the Arts book series published by Palgrave Macmillan.


Current Work

Recent research projects include:

Research Fellow - Big Lottery Fund's Ageing Better programme 'Ambition for Ageing'. A £10.2 million Greater Manchester level programme aimed at creating more age friendly places and reducing social isolation.

PI - AHRC Connected Communities follow-up funded project exploring the role of creative interventions in fostering connectivity and resilience in older people.

Named RA and on Management Group - AHRC Communities, Cultures, Health and Wellbeing large grant 'Dementia and Imagination: Connecting communities and developing well-being through socially engaged visual arts practice'.

CI/RA – a project exploring how the lives of older people can be improved by examining their use of contemporary visual art for identity construction practices funded by the New Dynamics of Ageing Programme (

CI/RA - ESRC-funded Follow-on project developing research-informed arts policy and arts interventions designed to improve the wellbeing of older people - based upon the NDA funded research.

CI/RA - a project that links University research with heritage groups in NE England funded by AHRC under the Connected Communities Programme.

Esteem Indicators


Newman, A. and Goulding, A., ‘Qualitative data collection, challenges and opportunities - learning from Dementia and Imagination, Gerontological Society of America’s Annual Scientific Meeting, New Orleans, November 2016. 

Goulding, A., ‘Co-producing a cultural offer with older people’, Royal Geographical Society’s Annual International Conference, London, September 2016.

Goulding, A. Invited keynote speaker, Arts and Health Australia’s Annual Conference, November 2015.

Newman, A., and Goulding, A., ‘Developing social support amongst older people through the consumption of art’, British Society of Gerontology's 44th Annual Conference, Newcastle, July 2015.

Goulding, A., ‘The role of cultural engagement in fostering resilience in older people’, AHRC Connected Communities Soundings and Findings  Conference, UEA, June 2015. 

Goulding, A., ‘The impact of participatory arts on older people: what the research literature tells us’, Invited keynote speaker, Arts Education in Older Age Conference,Kubia, Institut für Bildung und Kulture, Munster, Germany, November 2014.

Goulding, A., ‘Arts, older people and wellbeing’, invited speaker for European Conference Long Live Arts: Cultural Participation by Older People, Invited keynote speaker, the Baring Foundation, London, October 2014.

Goulding, A., ‘Older people and the contemporary art gallery‘, Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change’s Annual Conference, University of Manchester, September 2014.

Newman, A., and Goulding, A., 'Understanding the impact of creative activities on older people using qualitative methods’, British Society of Gerontology's 43 rd University of Southampton, Annual Conference, University of Southampton, September 2014.

Goulding, A. & Newman, A. 'The development of resilience through creative interventions', 8th International Conference on Cultural Gerontology, National University of Ireland, Galway, April 2014

Goulding, A. & Newman, A. 'Research into the use of arts to improve the lives of older people and its impact upon policy and practice', 5th Annual International Arts and Health Conference, UNSW, Sydney, Australia, 12-14 November 2013

Newman, A. & Goulding, A. 'Engaging with contemporary visual art: Maintaining health and well-being', British Society of Gerontology's 42nd Annual Conference, Oxford University, 11-13 September 2013 

Newman, A. & Goulding, A. 'Contemporary visual art and the wellbeing of older people: policy and practice'. British Society of Gerontology's Annual Conference, Keele University, 11-13 July 2012

Newman, A. & Goulding, A. 'The role of social networks in determining the nature of older people’s engagement with contemporary visual art and its relationship to wellbeing', 64th Annual scientific meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, Boston, USA, 18-22 November 2011  

Newman, A. & Goulding, A. 'The impact of engagement with contemporary visual art on the wellbeing of older adults'. VII EUROPEAN INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS, HEALTHY AND ACTIVE AGEING FOR ALL EUROPEANS "II", Bologna, Italy, April 2011.

Goulding, A. 'Lifelong learning for people aged 64 within the contemporary art gallery context', European Conference on Educational Research, Helsinki, Finland, August 2010. 

Goulding, A. 'Bringing digital media into the classroom'. 4th International Conference on the Arts in Society, Venice, Italy, July 2009. 

Goulding, A. 'Digital media artists working with teachers'. British Educational Research Association, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, September 2008. 

Goulding, A. 'Project Transfer - shifts in the social and cultural capital of Further Education apprentices involved in constructing an artwork' at BERA (British Educational Research Association) Institute of Education, London, September 2007.