Accounting for the experiential complexity of socially-prescribed activities

Year of award: 2022


  • Dr Annabelle Edwards

    Lancaster University, United Kingdom

Project summary

Social prescribing, and specifically, the prescription of community-based activities such as walking groups and choirs, is envisaged as a means to improve the health and wellbeing of people with common mental disorders (CMD) such as anxiety and depression. Little is known, however, about what it is like to participate in prescribed activities. By bringing together auto-phenomenology, in the form of my own participation in socially-prescribed activities, and semi-structured interviews with others engaged in these activities, I will capture phenomenological (embodied, emotional, and affectual) accounts of emergent experience. These accounts will provide insight into experiential complexity that will inform the development of social prescribing services and improve outcomes. Specifically, this insight will influence how activities are developed, selected, and understood, and moreover, how they are presented to service users. This proposal builds upon, and advances, my novel ‘therapeutic landscapes’ research (the study of places and activities associated with being good for health and wellbeing). By attending to experience emerging when independent choice is disrupted, and within landscapes not typically considered as ‘therapeutic’ (e.g. community centres), it will contribute to my efforts to conceptualise ‘therapeutic landscape’ experience as a spatially-unbound process; a conceptualisation that will broaden the scope of ‘therapeutic landscapes’ research.