AHSW's Director, Trustees, and Members reflect on various aspects of arts, health and wellbeing.

Director’s Monthly Reflection

AHSW Director Alex Coulter shares her reflections for November 2021, and the theme of sustainability ahead of our 2021 Annual Conference!

Not long now until our Annual Conference! What Next for Sustainable Practice?  will be an opportunity to share ideas and inspire each other, helping us return to our work with renewed energy and purpose. Once you have signed up you will be sent some homework!  These will be recordings of sessions from the international conference which are particularly relevant to the theme of sustainability. There are keynotes from speakers in India, Nigeria, Nepal and Columbia as well as discussions about structures, networks and funding in the UK. More specific sessions include ‘Creating a Sustainable Musical Care Culture in Care Homes for Older People’ and ‘Practitioner Training and Experiences’, and a panel led by Jane Willis on ‘Self-care and the Collective’. In October, Jane and Rachel Hawkins-Crockford hosted a writing for self-care retreat. In this blog they reflect on how caring for ourselves impacts not only our own wellbeing, but also our ability to create caring cultures.

The recent COP 26 and the climate emergency provides the global context of course. Keynote speaker, Cleo Lake, who was the first Green Party Lord Mayor of Bristol, will talk about how sustainable practice is bound up with creative diversity and planet health. You will be able to take part in a breakout session with the Art and Energy Collective, creators of the Moths to a Flame project for COP 26. Or you can choose a Creative Enquiry workshop with Dr Louise Younie and environmental artist Natasha Duggan.

You can see the full programme here

And you can buy a ticket here 

If you work in the NHS, you will be familiar with the NHS ‘Healthier Planet, Healthier People’ campaign. Our own health and wellbeing is intimately linked to planet health. For example, in the UK, air pollution is the single greatest environmental threat to human health and there is growing evidence linking it to asthma. Metered-dose asthma inhalers account for approximately 13% of the NHS carbon footprint related to delivery of care. There is evidence that singing can support lung health, which is an important area of Singing for Health practice. Could singing help reduce the number of prescriptions for inhalers?

This brings us back to the south west because Torbay Culture’s long-planned partnership project between Hospital Rooms and Devon Partnership NHS Trust has begun. There are workshops in the hospital and the community in November and December and you can find out more here.

Also finally, AHSW Member Lisa Townsend, Project Manager of Dance Centred, recently shared reflections on their 12-week programme ‘Physical Postcards’ and how it was developed via our Blog. “There have been some moving and memorable conversations. Connecting with people all across the county who feel isolated or are struggling to keep active and having something positive to offer feels very powerful. We want to keep spreading the word about this special project and hope others will help us too.” Dance Centred are looking for new partnerships and collaborations as they expand the Physical Postcard project out of Cornwall and across the South West. If you would like to start a conversation about how the project could benefit your community then please contact them on physicalpostcards[at]

Keep well,


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