Archive for February, 2009|Monthly archive page

We’re live

In happiness, new content, Uncategorized on February 28, 2009 at 11:09 am

I’ve been adding content to this site for a while now, but today I’ve told everyone about it. Here goes nothing.

There are plenty of links on here to pieces I’ve been writing recently.

And I’ll be updating the happiness project pages regularly as this research project develops.

Have a look around and let me know what you think.


Royal Museum, Edinburgh

In Museum [Insider], Museums, new content on February 25, 2009 at 4:07 pm

I was in Edinburgh at the end of last year and visited a few of the museums there. The Museum of Scotland is a wonderful place, recently redeveloped with a new interpretation strategy and a great display technique involving placing star objects in the middle of open spaces and forcing people to look at them.

Next door is the Royal Museum, currently under development itself. I’ve written a piece about the planned changes to the building for Museum [Insider]. There’s also a short film of what the new building will look like. I look forward to going back and seeing what’s happened.

Expressing our feelings is tough

In happiness on February 24, 2009 at 3:47 pm

Canon Lucy Winklett said something which struck a chord with me on Thought for the Day a couple of days ago. I’ve been thinking about it since.

The problem she analyses is quite timely for me. It’s sometimes hard to put into words exactly what we are feeling, especially when it’s an emotion or attitude we’re not used to speaking about regularly. I’m finding a lot of people I speak with about happiness face this issue too. Her solution to the problem is spiritual:

“However articulate we think we are, there are times in the face of tragedy or fear or incalculable happiness, when expressing ourselves seems very hard – and we just don’t know what to say. It’s at these times, when we don’t have the words, wrote St Paul, that the Spirit of God is close. “Don’t heap up empty phrases” Jesus of Nazareth taught his followers. Our prayers are our attempts to speak in the language of the human spirit – a language that is yours and yours alone – the silent speech of your soul.”

The full text of her thoughts is available on the BBC website.

Experiences vs possesions

In happiness on February 22, 2009 at 12:22 pm

Psychological research at San Francisco State University suggests that, in the long run, experiences make people happier than possessions.

That’s in part because the initial joy of acquiring a new object, such as a new car, fades over time as people become accustomed to seeing it every day, the research claims. Experiences, on the other hand, continue to provide happiness through memories long after the event occur.

But surely the experience of owning a possession linger just as long?

The full story is on the CNN website.

Women Farmer of the Year tells me what makes her happy

In happiness, new content on February 20, 2009 at 8:43 am

I’ve added another interview to the happiness pages of the site. I recently interviewed Debbie Keeble, Woman Farmer of the Year. She told me about what makes her happy, how her pigs are happy and why her husband loves Ken Dood.

Take a look under HAPPINESS PROJECT above, or just click here.

Is social networking bad for our health?

In happiness on February 19, 2009 at 9:52 am

So, it appears that the piece of research examining how happiness and online experiences correlate (mentioned on this website last week) might be flawed from the start.

An ‘academic’, Aric Sigman (whoever he might be), is now suggesting that because we spend so much time infront of computers, we are interacting socially less and less. And that this has a negative impact on our health.

He claims: that a lack of face-to-face networking could alter the way genes work, upset immune responses, hormone levels, the function of arteries, and influence mental performance.

Source: article today on the BBC website.

So, taking these two theories together, if we continue to interact using online social networking tools such as facebook and MySpace, we’ll end up being happier, but unhealthy.

I’m getting confused by all this. I might have to try and marry the two together.

Does social interaction make us happy?
Does it matter whether that interaction is face-to-face or online?

Plans at Dulwich Picture Gallery

In Museum [Insider], Museums, new content on February 16, 2009 at 12:03 pm

Here’s a piece published today on Museum [Insider] about forthcoming plans at my local, favourite museum Dulwich Picture Gallery.

The Gallery will celebrate its bicentenary in 2011 and there’s news here of how they intend to celebrate with an ingenious exhibition idea – borrowing twelve masterpieces from other art galleries around the globe and displaying them in the enfillade, one a month. So, you have to go back twleve times in one year to see them all. Good idea.

Here’s the piece.

Happiness on facebook

In happiness on February 14, 2009 at 1:21 pm

You can become a fan of anything on facebook. Even happiness, it seems.

Virtual happiness?

In happiness, what i'm reading on February 9, 2009 at 6:05 pm

I just came across the Virtual Happiness Project. It’s a research project with an interesting hypothesis:

1) The origins of happiness lie in social interaction. From sitting round the camp fire to the modern dinner table, we thrive when we are interacting.

2) The Internet has become a more and more social place in recent years. It’s the modern day camp fire.

3) Is the Internet virtual happiness?

These people are trying to evaluate the links between happiness and online experiences. Like many other research projects, it’s trying to unpick what it is that makes us happy. But what excites me about their work is that they are examining happiness in a truly modern context using the Internet as their frame of reference. Interesting stuff.

Take a look at their website and the short video there which explains the project in more detail. More details as and when they publish their findings.

Robert Burns on Museum [Insider]

In Museum [Insider], Museums, new content on February 5, 2009 at 7:37 pm

I’ve just started writing articles for the new online magazine Museum [Insider]. The aim is to provide online information for suppliers to the museum and heritage industry about what’s going on inside our nation’s museums. From tenders and contracts to features articles and inside news, the idea is to give access to news about developments in museums to those in the private sector. Anyone can read the bulk of the content on the site for free, but only those paying for the subscription service get access to the juiciest details.

My first piece about the developments at the new Robert Burns Birthplace Museum has just gone live on the site.