The University of Newcastle, Australia

New monthly radio spot features creative ageing researcher Dr Helen English

Friday, 14 February 2020

School of Creative Industries lecturer and Centre for 21st Century Humanities member, Dr Helen English will join ABC Radio Newcastle Mornings presenter Kia Handley in a monthly radio interview about her research that is focused on understanding the benefits of engagement with creative activities, such as in music, dance or art, for older members of society.

Helen English

The interviews start on Wednesday February 12 at approximately 10.45am and Helen will be heard across the Hunter every month throughout 2020.

“I’ll be exploring how engagement in arts activities like music and dance can help us discover untapped strengths as we age, keep the brain healthy and reduce age-related cognitive decline. As part of my research I’m looking at how much creative activity is optimal,” Helen said.

“We’ll be encouraging the audience to phone, text and email in during the show to give us their feedback about the topic of creative ageing. One of the first questions I want to pose to the audience is whether the term ‘creative ageing’ is the right term to use to describe what we are talking about. I want to get people’s views on that,” she said.

To determine the positive effects of creative activities on the ageing process Helen collaborates with UON colleagues, psychologists Professor Frini Karayanidis and Dr Michelle Kelly. They seek to measure the effects of creative activities and how they improve cognition and psycho-social well-being.

“We are looking at the different well-being factors such as mood, social connections and quality of life different activities offer and will then compare them, for example, visual arts versus dance versus singing.”

At present they are conducting a survey of older people in the Hunter to learn about what creative and physical activities they already engage with in later life.

The team are keen to work with community groups and aged care organisations. For more information please contact (02) 4921 7161 or email

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