Edge Hill University has an established 10-year track record of undertaking internationally recognised research and evidence-based Knowledge Exchange (KE) activity in education, sport and mental health, including two 4* impact case studies from REF2014 on widening participation in education and safeguarding children and young people in sport. The significance of this work is reflected in our student-focused programme, Tackling the Blues (TtB), which has been delivered to 1,000 CYP in partnership with Everton in the Community (EitC, the official charity of Everton Football Club) since 2015.
In 2016, our students’ KE activity in Tackling the Blues received the Times Higher Education Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community, where the judges described the impact of the programme as ‘remarkable’ and noted that Tackling the Blues ‘has been selected as a national case exemplar.’ In 2017, Tackling the Blues received the Charity Times Award for cross-sector collaboration, and in 2019 an independent evaluation estimated that between 2016 and 2018 Tackling the Blues had generated a societal value of £9,755,000m (Real Worth, 2019).
With the addition of TATE Liverpool to deliver a new, innovative art-based strand informed by learning from our previous Knowledge Exchange and research with TATE Liverpool and in sport and mental health. Students will benefit from new KE-focused training sessions (three times per year) from external artists who will work with TATE Liverpool to support them in delivering art for mental health activities. Students will work with artists to co-design activities that engage TtB participants in their local cultural context, connect them to arts practice, provide opportunities to develop their own creative learning opportunities, enhance their cultural and creative capital, and build students’ and participants’ confidence and self-esteem. Students will be mentored by experienced programme co-ordinators and TATE Liverpool’s Learning Department, and will disseminate their new knowledge to other students in their programmes of study and TtB sessions. Students will also showcase their experiences of TtB at three annual exhibitions at sports (Everton) and cultural venues (TATE Liverpool) as a means of exchanging new knowledge with staff and local communities. This new scaled-up activity will enable 500 students annually to engage directly in TtB as mental health trained student mentors who participate in project delivery with sport and art professionals. It will also increase the proportion of students who benefit indirectly from 1,000 to 1,500 annually by embedding the learning from this KE activity into students’ curricular and enrichment programmes focused on transferrable graduate skills, attributes and ultimately, employability. Students across the HE sector will also benefit from the development of a transferable student-led partnership model of KE, based on learning from TtB, which can be implemented and scaled up elsewhere with different foci. This will be achieved through the development of a tool kit and online resources based on EHU students’ experiences of engaging with KE, and their work with staff and external partners.