Museums over meditation for under 30s?

Visiting museum and gallery spaces seem to be a more popular way of dealing with stress and anxiety than mindfulness or mediation, according to a recent study conducted for a national arts charity. 

The report commissioned by the Art Fund at the end of last year showed 63% of people under the age of 30 would visit a museum or gallery as a way of relieving stress or anxiety, the same percentage that talking to a friend or family member received.

In response to the report, that found under 30s to be one of the most stressed generations, Art Fund have decided to increase the age for their under 26 national passes to under 30, allowing for a larger number of people to benefit from discounted exhibition entrance fees.

A spokesperson for Art Fund told EN4 News: “We give around seven million pounds a year at the moment, a lot of that which is facilitated through our national art passes.”

This change was launched earlier this week but is already said to be being “well received” they said.

They also said that the report as a whole showed “those who visit museums and galleries on a regular basis are more likely to have lower levels of stress and anxiety than those who have never visited one.”

The results found by the report, Art Fund believe, have further solidified the existing research around the benefits exposing oneself to arts and culture on a regular basis can have on a general wellbeing.

Museums and Galleries, with their cafes, bright open exhibition spaces, and interactive displays, are used for numerous activities that could lead to an increase feeling of wellness.


National Portrait Gallery. Photo by Megan Merino


Kelvingrove Art Gallery in Glasgow. Photo by Megan Merino


But it may not only be the act of going to these spaces that can be beneficial to mental health. Instillations around Scotland are tackling themes of mental wellness and self reflection to allow for an even more introspective cultural experience.

A current exhibit at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art aims to allow visitors to reflect on their feelings and state of mind through an interactive light instillation.

EN4 news spoke with curator of the HappyHere exhibition Màiri Lafferty.

Màiri Lafferty, Daskalopoulos Curator of Engagement at National Galleries of Scotland.

HappyHere uses an interactive board to allow visitors to answer seven questions that are then presented in the form of light and colour on a custom-built screen for an abstract visualisation of the thoughts and feelings associated with the responses.

The instillation is inside the Pig Rock Bothy, a small space in the grounds of the Modern Art Gallery.

Credits: There will be no Miracles Here- Nathan Coley       Everything Will Be Alright-Martin Creed 

Despite creating a space that facilitates self reflection, Màiri added that it was not the job of a curator to force emotions on the visitor, but instead to allow the space for a personal experience and interaction with art.



Another new Edinburgh based exhibition addressing the theme of wellbeing is Beings at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery opening on February 2.

We spoke to Richie Cummings, Outreach Officer at the National Galleries about the upcoming exhibition that will display the artwork of young people as a response to other pieces in the National Galleries’ collection.














Robots are infiltrating Edinburgh

With a new exhibit looking at robots opening at the National Museum of Scotland today, EN4News shares what visitors can expect from the machines that are becoming more and more like humans.

Over 100 robots are the stars of a new major exhibition which has taken over the National Museum of Scotland.

“Robots” explores the quest to reimagine humans as machines, exhibiting androids of a variety of ages, from the earliest to the ones used in modern research labs.

The exhibit opened in Edinburgh today – January 18.

Five time periods are shown in “Robots”, explaining the role of robots in religious belief, the Industrial Revolution, popular culture, and society’s hopes for the future. Displays include an examination into why robots are being built to resemble people in appearance and interactive behaviour.


RoboThespian performs vocal exercises and gives a theatrical performance for visitors. Photo credit to National Museum of Scotland

Dr. Tacye Phillipson, who is the Senior Curator of Modern Science at National Museums Scotland, said;

“The exhibition highlights some of the capabilities of these mechanical marvels, but also examines how technically challenging it is for scientific fact to catch up with the imagination of science fiction.”

As Dr. Phillipson said, there is difficulty when comparing the truth of science with the fantasy that is science fiction. This will be discussed through an analysis of what a realistic future humans share with robots could potentially look like.


More than 100 robots are on display at the National Museum of Scotland from January 18. Photo credit to National Museum of Scotland

Various robots will show the latest advances in their technological designs, including Bipedal Walker walking like a person, Inkha answering questions and offering fashion advice, Zeno R25 replicating facial expressions, and ROSA moving its ‘eye’ to watch as visitors move.

With robots being at the very centre of popular culture since 1920, when the word ‘robot’ was first used, film buffs have a chance to see a T800 Terminator which was used in the film Terminator Salvation.

A new section to the exhibition, which was first developed in London’s Science Museum, has been added just for its time in Edinburgh. This is due to the city’s ground-breaking robotics work.

The display, by the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics’ Robotarium, analyses the creation of Valkyrie, a bot built by NASA and currently being programmed by the Robotarium with the hope of sending it to Mars on a mission.

Dr. Phillipson also said that the city is “a major centre for robotics research and we are delighted to have created a special section for the exhibition’s Edinburgh run which looks at some of this work.”

The funding for this unusual exhibition was provided by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery.

Senior Programmes Manager at People’s Postcode Lottery Hazel Johnstone said:

“Taking an in-depth look at the wonderful world of humanoid robots, visitors will be able to come face to face with a range of iconic examples; from some of those seen on the silver screen to robot workers.”

Visitors to the museum have until May 5 to see the “Robots” exhibit, with tickets costing up to £10 for adults. Purchase them here.

This is the last chance to see the exhibition in the UK before it begins to tour internationally.


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