There has been a great deal of media coverage claiming that craft-based hobbies are good for mental health and general wellbeing. Recent reports have compared these activities to mindfulness and meditation, due to the repetitive and focused nature of many crafts. However, the evidence is largely subjective, and studies rarely used experimentally derived methods or peer-reviewed reporting.
Led by SPCR Research Fellow Dr Emma Palmer-Cooper and Health Psychology Researcher Dr Anne Ferrey, The Yarnfulness Project aims to engage with local and online communities who practice yarn-based crafts, in order to understand their opinions of mindfulness practice, as well as the widely reported benefits of yarn-based craft.
The project is one of 12 recipients of a University of Oxford Public Engagement with Research Seed Fund Award, an internal fund for academics and researchers to support the development of new ideas, improve existing public engagement activities, and evaluate and gather evidence on the impact of public engagement with research. Projects typically receive between £1200 and £4000.
Through the Yarnfulness Project, Emma aims to use the information gathered to design a pilot study to objectively and empirically investigate the impact of yarn-based craft on health and wellbeing. The project will be public facing, and progress will be reported using an open access, web-based blog.