Edge Hill University

Research Investment Fund

Arts for the Blues developed from a research project that started life under a different name, ‘Dancing the Blues’ which was funded by Edge Hill University in 2018. The aim of this project was to explore interdisciplinary collaboration between therapists and artists for dissemination and innovation in clinical practice for the treatment of depression. Further details can be seen on the original website

Research Questions

  1. In what ways can creative media be used to disseminate key research findings in dance movement psychotherapy and related fields used in the treatment of depression and thus maximise impact?
  1. How can interdisciplinary work amongst dance movement psychotherapists, talking therapists and artists advance theory and practice in the treatment of depression?


This initial study had two main phases.

Phase A: Creative dissemination of pre-existing findings

Phase B: Development of a creative treatment package

This research study was approved by both the ethical committee at Edge Hill University and the NHS Health Research Authority.

Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group

Research Capability Fund

In January 2019 Arts for the Blues secured a 12 month funding agreement with LCCG. This enables the team to adapt a new evidence-based creative psychological group treatment package for depression, in different NHS and community services, advancing prior research work initially developed in IAPT Manchester.

This new treatment package integrates research evidence from studies in CBT, counselling for depression, psychodynamic, and arts psychotherapies, identifying and repackaging effective techniques while integrating client perspectives and service structures.

Priority services for the study will be adult mental health, cancer care and children’s services, with a particular focus on outreach and community-based provision.

This funding will support three main objectives :

  1. To conduct an updated systematic review of literature that will include existing psychological support for adults with depression, people in cancer care and children
  2. To deliver workshops and focus groups in selected sites for staff and service users
  3. To deliver and evaluate a twelve-week long group intervention in at least one site.

It is hoped that findings from these developments/feasibility studies will support an application for NIHR funding in the future.