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

Connecting through Creativity: Tackling Loneliness Campaign

Director’s Blog – December 2019

Yesterday we launched our Big Give campaign at the Watershed with a fascinating talk by Emma Lazenby. Emma showed us ‘Mother of Many’, the BAFTA winning animation inspired by her mother, a midwife. I am about to be a grandmother for the first time and found it extremely moving. Our Big Give campaign is ‘Connecting through creativity: tackling loneliness’ and at the launch we tried an experiment based on Theodore Zeldin’s Conversations. I think it worked quite well and hope we can do more events with food and conversation menus! We hope you will donate to the campaign before next Tuesday lunchtime. 1200 people receive this newsletter and if just 200 of you were to give us £5 we would reach our target. Your £5 would miraculously become £20!

Please donate here

The 2020 Spring School is on ‘Creativity and Mental Health: helping ourselves and others make new meaning from illness’ and the deadline for applications is 10th January. This builds on last year’s Spring School on young people’s mental health and storytelling. We invite academics, artists and health professionals working with mental health to apply. We will be joined by two people with lived experience of mental health and two artist facilitators. The aim is to bring professionals together with those prepared to share their experiences of mental illness in an equal and trusting space. The experience is very immersive and we connect through shared meals and experiential learning in a beautiful coastal location. The experience is the purpose but the connections created tend to catalyse further work in the future. Here’s the link to apply.

We hope lots of you will join in with Creativity and Wellbeing Week next year. The theme is Positive Futures: mental health in young people, climate change, ageing through the life course and public health and everyday creativity; but any events that relate to any health or wellbeing issue can be part of it. It is an open festival where you can showcase whatever you are doing. If you would like to find out more and network with others in the region do come to an event to discuss plans on the 22nd January 2-4pm at RAMM in Exeter. It is free to attend but places are limited and you can book here.

Since the last newsletter, the World Health Organisation’s evidence report on arts and health was published. The author, Dr Daisy Fancourt, has written a blog about it for the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance. The report is structured in two sections: on prevention and promotion; and on management and treatment. Overall, the findings demonstrate that the arts can potentially impact both mental and physical health. Over the next few months, we will be considering the findings for different areas of practice and sharing some thoughts with you. As part of our regional strategy work, we are planning a series of webinars for next year, to help support learning and disseminate knowledge. The first will be on February 6th and is a discussion between me and Julia Fortier about her research across the region on creative cross-sectoral collaboration. More on that in the next newsletter.

Have a lovely Christmas and New Year!


Alex Coulter

4th December 2019

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