I studied at the Courtauld Institute of Art and Chelsea School of Art and then spent five years living in central Spain. We have three children and we go back every summer to a tiny village in the province of Segovia. Spain is a very important part of our family life.
My work in arts and health began at Dorset County Hospital where I had a wonderful job as arts coordinator for 15 years. I was completely hooked after attending the World Symposium on Culture, Health and the Arts in Manchester in 1999. Hearing Patch Adams speak was a revelation.
I have been Director of Arts & Health South West since 2010. I’m very proud of the organisation and very grateful to our staff and trustees for all their incredible work. The Culture, Health and Wellbeing international conferences in 2013, 2017 and 2021 have been highlights as well as recent projects such as Community Connections and Alternative Visions. I really enjoy working with colleagues across the region and I hope our collaborative work on a regional strategy will help support the whole field to develop.
I believe that creativity is at the heart of human flourishing and I am on a mission to ensure more people can experience the benefits for their health and wellbeing. My world has expanded vastly through working with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing. The Creative Health report and all the subsequent developments have been a roller coaster ride. These days my work is often removed from direct engagement with participants, but their stories and experiences are at the heart of everything we do.
I have been at Arts and Health South West since November 2015. I work for AHSW part-time, and on my other days I have a freelance illustration practice. What I love about working for AHSW is the sense of friendship across distances (we all work from home), the feeling of helping people and joining people up, and the sense of scale and impact of the work.
I make sure the organisation keeps running smoothly, I host and produce the podcast, and recently I’ve been excited to have more of an input into developing the visual/brand side of the organisation.
Before joining AHSW, I had come into contact with the idea of ‘arts for health’ through a number of routes: I managed a theatre-going project for adults with Learning Disabilities in Exeter, ran access training sessions for theatres with Include Arts, and worked as a project manager for Exeter arts for health charity Magic Carpet. Before my move to Devon in 2012 I worked for 3 years on the ‘Crew’ at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Newcastle upon Tyne, spending my days getting to know a lot of wonderful artworks, and trying my best to enable visitors to feel inspired, which I really enjoyed. I studied History of Art & English Literature at The University of York, and completed an MA in Illustration in autumn 2019. I live with my partner in Exeter.
Fundraising and Development Manager
Alexis has 17 years’ experience of engaging audiences, partnership working, and producing innovative programming across the arts and cultural sector in the UK, and across Asia.
As a real ‘people’ person she offers a hands-on approach to creating supportive networks and is strong at building relationships through collaboration. What Alexis loves about working for AHSW is that her variety of skills can support partnerships and help develop an organisational culture which supports others in personal or professional wellbeing.
She works for AHSW part-time, and on her other days she supports a range of other creative organisations, SMEs, and not-for-profits. As an art graduate, she can also often be found painting or creating silver jewellery.
Freelance Finance Assistant
Sarah is a languages graduate who first worked for the BBC World Service. While living in Bristol she rekindled her love of dance and joined the Board of Bristol Community Dance Centre. This, along with other performing arts experiences, encouraged her to work full-time in arts administration. In 1996 she moved to Exeter to take up the role of Performing Arts Administrator with the Arts Council (then South West Arts), where she worked for five years. When she started her family, Sarah decided to work freelance and has spent the last 17 years working for a number of clients, mostly in the voluntary and arts sectors, as an administrator, bookkeeper and fundraiser.
Sarah joined Arts & Health South West in April 2017 to help out with the International Conference and has never left. She still loves dance and live performance.
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