Read below for our history from 2003 to the present day:


November: a Feasibility Study commissioned by Arts Council England South West (ACESW) from arts in health consultants Willis Newson Ltd. identified a clear need and demand for a forum which would bring people together across the arts and health sector to share news, information, learning, good ideas and good practice.


March: A strategic plan was produced by Willis Newson Ltd. ACESW awarded a £21,000 grant to the South West Arts and Health Forum for research into the arts and health sector in the region and for an interim Co-ordinator to establish the Forum

April: Registered as a company limited by guarantee. Certain members of the steering group became the founding Company Directors, later to become Trustees.

May: Ruth Hecht was commissioned to undertake an audit and analysis of arts and health activity across the region.

September: The Shared Territories report was published

October: Ruth Hecht was appointed as interim Co-ordinator to put in place all the necessary structures and funding to establish the organisation.

November: The forum was formally renamed Arts & Health South West and new Memorandum and Articles of Association adopted.(PDF saved in folder as 1A Memorandum and Articles)


January: ACESW Grant for the Arts was awarded for 3 years’ funding towards the running costs.

April: Web site went live & membership drive launched.

May: Part time freelance Co-ordinator appointed.

July: AHSW became a Registered Charity (no: 1115339)


February: Awards for All – £5000 – awarded for development of web site.


March: ACESW Grants for the Arts of £60,000 was awarded towards the running costs for 3 years.

June: AHSW appointed their first Director, Alex Coulter, on a 2 day a week contract.

October: AHSW appointed a new Coordinator, Jackie Henville, on a 3 day a week contract.


February: NHS South West awarded £24,000 towards core funding for AHSW for the year 2011-12.

March: AHSW became an Arts Council England National Portfolio organisation with a budget of £120,000 for three years: 2012 – 2015.

June: The Fine Family Foundation agreed to fund the AHSW Prize (£10,000 p.a).

September: Dementia and the Arts conference


March: Arts and Primary Care Conference; Culture, Health and Wellbeing Strategic Commissioning seminar

June: The inaugural AHSW Prize was awarded to: Berkeley Vale Health; Double Elephant Print Workshop; and Louisa Newman, Arts on Referral Manager, NHS Bristol.

November: Annual Conference: Patient and Participant Voice


June: Arts & Health South West ran the inaugural 3-day Culture, Health and Wellbeing international conference.

The AHSW Prize was awarded to: Arts for Health Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly; Creativity Works; and Rebecca Seymour, dance artist, and Jane Willis, Director of Willis Newson (joint individual prize).

November: Annual Conference: Creative Ageing and Arts and Health Research


AHSW’s Director begins role providing the secretariat and project management for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing (APPG).

March: AHSW was funded as a National Portfolio Organisation 2015-18.

November: Annual Conference

2014-15: AHSW delivered the Somerford Wellbeing Project with young people to explore wellbeing. A film was made by young people from Somerford in Christchurch, Dorset, facilitated by film makers Matt Gillett and Angie Belcher from Bad Chicken Productions and supported by Christchurch Activities for Young People (CAYP). Funded by Dorset County Council.


June: AHSW Prize was awarded to: Plymouth Music Zone; Coda Music Trust; and Viv Gordon, Director of Mean Feet Dance.

November: Annual Conference

2015-16: AHSW delivered Music for a While, a project with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra to provide music for people with dementia in 3 hospitals in Wessex. The University of Winchester conducted a research project at Winchester Hospital. Funded by the Wessex Academic Health Science Network and Awards for All.


June: The AHSW Prize was awarded to: ForMed Films CIC; Independent Arts; and Jayne Howard, Director of Arts for Health Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

August: AHSW awarded funding from ACE Catalyst Evolve programme to support fundraising and development.

November: Annual Conference

2016-2018: AHSW was the lead for ‘Alternative Visions: Undiscovered Art in the South West’, a partnership project with Outside In and Bristol Museum & Art Gallery to deliver a touring exhibition of work by people who feel excluded from the mainstream art world. Funded by ACE Strategic Touring Funds and participating venues: Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Falmouth Art Gallery, Poole Museum and The Wilson, Cheltenham.

2016-2019: AHSW was a partner in the Art & Social Change project withPortraits of Recovery (UK) and partners in Germany, Italy and Lithuania, to develop arts-based training tools to support the wellbeing of healthcare workers and people in addiction and recovery. Funded by EU Erasmus Plus.


June: AHSW ran the second 3-day Culture Health and Wellbeing International Conference, with over 400 delegates and speakers from 23 countries.

July: the APPG published the Creative Health report at the end of a two year inquiry, for which AHSW provided the secretariat.

July: AHSW was awarded Arts Council England NPO funding for 2018-22; AHSW was the lead organisation for a successful application to Arts Council England for a new Sector Support Organisation, the Culture Health and Wellbeing Alliance.

August: AHSW became a Kaleider Resident.

November: Annual Conference: Social Prescribing


March: the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance launched. AHSW has governance responsibility for the organisation.

2018– AHSW secures funding for the Community Connections Social Prescribing project in Weston-super-Mare in partnership with the For All Healthy Living Centre, Alliance Homes and Theatre Orchard. Evaluation Framework developed with the New Economics Foundation. Funded by the Tudor Trust and Arts Council England Catalyst Evolve match funding.

December: Annual Conference: Diversity and Inclusion

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