Researching cultural wellbeing through Learning, Interaction, Feelings and Environment


LIFE is a free to join research project into cultural wellbeing, which will help you to evidence the impact of your service or project robustly. It is especially useful for organisations that want to encourage participation and activism, and that are working with their community, on ‘place-making’ or with the wider environment.

It has been developed by the national campaign Happy Museums in partnership with happiness economist Daniel Fujiwara, with Oxford University and lately in partnership with Social Value UK. We worked with 22 museums over two years to refine the content, and the questions link to national data for ease of comparison.

At its heart is, a free resource to measure your impact on cultural wellbeing.

The LIFE Survey is an online questionnaire that collects information about outcomes for participants, audiences or volunteers and staff. Coupled with diversity questions the results mean you can see how wellbeing results compare with local averages as well as who is coming and how your team is made up.

The survey measures wellbeing in terms of Learning, Interaction, Feelings and care for the Environment and surroundings. It is different from other wellbeing measures that come from a health background, because it is about the community not just individuals, focuses on our assets more than our weaknesses and asks about our ‘functioning’ as well as ‘feelings’ (which are two recognised types of wellbeing).  A full Guidance Document is downloadable here.

You will need to sign up to the app, choose a password for your organisation and then you can set up as many surveys as you want.

Can you please  complete a short survey so that we know what sorts of projects are using the app.

There are two opportunities for data analysis:

  • You can download your data directly and analyse as you see fit (you can use our online tutorial for simple analysis, which was developed for the previous Survey Monkey version but still holds true).
  • You can wait for our central statistical analysis when we will be considering all the data together and using some more robust approaches to get closer to proving cause and effect.

Watch a short video tutorial on how to analyse data from the Life Survey.

Download our Guidance Document

GUIDANCE – 2017 Cultural LIFE Survey

“A question of measurement. The who, how, what and why of good cultural evaluation”

Happy Museum in an established partnership with Kathryn Eccles at the Oxford Internet Institute, and Mandy Barnett of MB Associates to develop our ‘measure what matters’ expertise.  New to our partnership is Alice Purkiss (University of Oxford/National Trust Knowledge Transfer Partnership Associate) and the Social Value UK network.
In Autumn 2017 we are embarking on a Knowledge Exchange partnership for a step change in demonstrating impact, by sharing cutting edge expertise in communities, place-making, analysis and online media.
The aim is to better understand the methods for measuring impact in use across the cultural sector, and to compare these to methods and research in similar areas in the academic sector, in order to refine them.  Particular benefit will be drawn from the University’s expertise in research methods such as statistics, digital ethnography, network analysis and big data analysis, together with expertise in cultural value, audience engagement, and psychology. We will highlight best practice from the cultural sector’s expertise in community engagement, co-production and activism, together with creative facilitation and communication skills that lead to public impact. The workshops will create dialogue between the cultural and heritage sector and the University around how to measure what matters, and to question our ways of measuring.