Miss Jane Hearst

Job: PhD student

Faculty: Arts, Design and Humanities

School/department: School of Humanities and Performing Arts

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH

T: N/A

E: j.hearst.jh@gmail.com


Personal profile

Jane is an entrepreneurial researcher specialising in Arts-for-Health. Her work examines how we measure and assign value to arts-for-health services within the UK health market. 

Informed by design theory, Jane's PhD compares the outputs of traditional healthcare services to those of arts-for-health and other community innovations. The study addresses how we may utilise evidence of differentiated health benefits to develop a more popularised and sustainable arts-for-health industry within the healthcare market. 

Prior to her PhD, Jane studied a BA in Media Production; specialising practically in Film Directing and theoretically in Film & Mental Health. After this, she went on to study a Masters in Business Administration (MBA), alongside which, she founded The Curious Observer (TCO); an organisation that designs participative film services to support wellbeing and champion social change. 

Jane's research is intrinsically multi-disciplinary - situating itself in the schools of ADH, HLS and BAL. Her approach to research is informed by lived experience of using the arts to heal, specialist academic knowledge of the research field and practical experience within the commercial market. 

Research interests/expertise

Arts-for-Health; Mental Health; Narrative Psychology; Participatory Arts; Entrepreneurial Arts; Filmmaking; Narrative Learning; Narrative Therapy; Citizenship Wellbeing; Culture; Social Change; Community Engagement; Personal Development

Areas of teaching

Personal Development; Entrepreneurship in the Creative Industries


BA Media Production; MBA Business Administration

PhD project

PhD title

An exploration of how arts-for-health services can effectively contribute to the promotion of wellbeing across different ethnic groups in Leicester.  


Arts-for-health is a social movement that has developed over recent years in response to rising social and mental health needs in the population. A large number of researchers and practitioners, from a range of disciplines, have quickly developed a body of evidence showcasing the ability of the arts to impact our health in ways otherwise neglected in the medical healthcare system. 

This study considers how, in response to this evidence, we can begin to integrate the arts more powerfully into our healthcare system in the UK and produce sustainable arts-for-health businesses as a result. It reflects on the barriers-to-entry created by our national culture, political landscape and economic structure, as we attempt to bring an entire industry to market. 

The study is a qualitative inquiry which consults with residents of Leicester, from a range of ethnic backgrounds, about their mental health needs. These are then used within interviews with service providers from arts-for-health, traditional health industries and other community innovations, to develop a map of service provisions. In doing so, the study showcases where gaps exist within the current healthcare system and identifies an over saturation of other services. This is used as evidence to demonstrate the importance of a comprehensive approach to healthcare design, warranting the inclusion of new types of services such as arts-for-health. 

Names of supervisors