We’re delighted to be working with the BBC and Wellcome Collection on the Touch Test – touchtest.org. The Touch Test is an online survey that we’ve developed in collaboration with Professor Alice Gregory (Goldsmiths), and Professor Aikaterini Fotopoulou (UCL). It seeks to understand the role of touch in our daily lives.

The study explores issues such as:

  • How our attitudes towards touch vary by age, gender, nationality, context, and relationships to others
  • How the touch we experience relates to our health and wellbeing.
  • How touch might relate to empathy, loneliness or the size of our social networks.
  • Which materials or textures we like or hate to touch.
  • When we consider touch from others to be appropriate or inappropriate.
  • Attitudes towards touch during a doctor’s consultation or in therapy.
  • How touch relates to our sleep.
  • Whether contemporary society allows us to get enough touch or leaves us wanting more.

The Touch Test was launched with a special BBC Radio 4 programme hosted by All in the Mind presenter Claudia Hammond in January 2020 and we’ll be collecting data until spring.  The results will form the basis of a new series, The Anatomy of Touch, in autumn 2020.

You can take part in the survey at touchtest.org. It takes between 15 and 35 minutes to complete depending on the choices made.  We are keen to get responses from a diverse range of people, and for the survey to be the largest and most up to date survey of our experiences of touch.

As part of Wellcome Collection’s national arts partnerships programme our findings will also help in developing two art commissions exploring touch, with the arts organisations 20 Stories High in Liverpool and Revoluton Arts and Sudha Bhuchar in Luton. Using The Touch Test as a starting point, 20 Stories High will produce Touchy, a gig theatre performance developed with young adults, which will tour the UK in autumn 2020. Revoluton will work with writer and performer Sudha Bhuchar to explore touch with communities around Bury Park in Luton.