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 monthly reflections, as well as AHSW upcoming events and news!

Last week, Arts Council England published ‘Creative Health & Wellbeing’, their plan for how they will deliver the ambitions in Let’s Create to help people and their communities live happier, healthier lives. The plan describes how ACE aims to work across the spectrum of poor health to general wellbeing through strategic partnerships, a place-based approach, and skills development for creative practitioners. They have also launched a refreshed Creative Health & Wellbeing online resource hub, which includes further information about creative health, case studies, evidence, and resources. This is a major milestone for us and for ACE.

ACE suggest: “This way of working represents a fundamental shift away from ‘health projects’ as additional activity and moves us toward viewing health and wellbeing as an integral delivery outcome for our sector.”

In the Creative Health & Wellbeing plan, skills development for creative practitioners is one of three main strands: Place, Partnerships, Practitioners. At AHSW, we will be working with colleagues and partners across England to contribute to this priority area through our Creative Health Learning programme. Our ‘Navigating emotions in Creative Health delivery’ online workshop on 6th July was very well received.

Participants said: “the recognition of the emotional labour that goes on while designing, preparing for, delivering of and processing after sessions was extremely validating to me as a practitioner”, and “all themes resonated, especially the nature of participatory work needing a wide range of skills, often underestimated, and how the work is very nuanced in different settings”.

The next workshop is on ‘Facilitating social connection in Creative Health delivery’ on  7th September at 12.30pm, followed by a session on the INNATE framework with Katey Warran on 10th November at 1pm.

To inform our learning programme, we have a question for you: In your practice, do you actively support social connection between participants and, if so, how do you approach it? Please answer the question by emailing info[at] Also, let us know if you would be willing to have a short email or telephone chat as a follow up, and/or if there are good practices, models, or research you rely on, we’d especially like to know.

Not long until the Creativity & Joy event in Sidmouth on 27th July. If the weather carries on like this you’ll want to bring your swimming gear! Come and enjoy dancing, drawing, surreal performances, and rituals on the beach, an opportunity to focus on your own wellbeing and self-care.

Also, we’ve recently launched a new fundraising campaign ‘Towards Tomorrow: Recovery Through Creativity’, as a charity it will support us to provide free and subsidised training and development opportunities to freelance creative practitioners who are themselves struggling to sustain their practice amid current financial challenges. After recent times, we know everyone is facing their own wellbeing and financial challenges, and as a charity we are no exception. Donations of any size will make a real difference, so please do feel free to donate if you can! Donate HERE >>

Keep well,


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