AHSW's Director and Trustees reflect on various aspects of arts, health and wellbeing.
Director’s Monthly Reflection
AHSW Director Alex Coulter shares her thoughts and reflections for February 2021
As I write, I can see snow falling gently. My bedside book is Braiding Sweetgrass and the author, Robin Wall Kimmerer, botanist and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, writes about the time of the Hunger Moon and the legendary monster of the Anishinaabe people, the Windigo, who stalks the snow covered hills looking for humans to gobble up. She says: ‘Born of our fears and failings, Windigo is the name for that within us which cares more for its own survival than for anything else.’ The legend brings to mind many of our fears and failings in relation to the planet and the pandemic.
This month’s full moon, rising on February 27th, is the Hunger or Snow Moon. But there is a feeling of hope in the air and on the 1st February it was Saint Brigid’s Day, the Gaelic festival of Imbolc, to mark the beginning of Spring. It is celebrated with crosses woven from rushes. Braiding rushes weaves through the story of Cap O’Rushes, which is the source material for a new composition by Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian to be premiered at the Culture, Health and Wellbeing international conference in June. It is lovely to be part of a creative process during this time. You can find out more in the recent conference newsletter HERE.
Tickets for the Culture, Health and Wellbeing International Conference will go on sale at the beginning of March. It is a very exciting programme, drawing on over 200 submissions from 20 countries. If you want to sign up for future up-dates, sign up HERE.
Current AHSW Activities
Quite a few of you will be waiting to hear about your Thriving Communities bids. It’s a dynamic time for social prescribing and we hope to be able to share the learning from those south west partnerships which are successful in securing funding. The Community Connections social prescribing project in Weston-super-Mare, delivered in partnership with the For All Healthy Living Centre and Theatre Orchard, is now in its 3rd year.
During the pandemic, our social prescriber, Laila, has been helping support the community in the Bournville Estate as well as working with Culture Weston to encourage access to cultural activity online and offline. Theatre Orchard’s Theatre Lounge, now Open Door, has continued to provide online drop-in sessions for adults throughout the lockdown. Writer, Elspeth Penny, has worked with us to document the experiences of those involved in Community Connections and you can read our stories in the Bournville Tapestry.
Our newest podcast episode is out – Basketry, Horticulture and Care. In this episode, AHSW General Manager Hannah is joined by Jakki Weaden, a former nurse from Bristol who talks about her journey from working in nursing into now building a creative vocation in basketry-making. They share a conversation about the parallels between basketry, wound care, and horticulture; the metaphors associated with care and weaving; and the resourceful creative outlook needed to work in nursing.
“You have to be so creative with your resources as a nurse… I love bandaging, I could bandage all day… there was one bandage called a figure of eight, and it gives you this most amazing argyle effect, kind of plaited – when you see it, it’s really pretty! Looking back now that’s probably quite significant really because of the weaving. With wound care, you have to observe, you have to be quite creative with how you adapt dressings to make them ergonomic to the person, you have to think about the person and their lifestyle… there were so many bits of it; the layering of that role was so delicious; something about it got me…”
Recently, I have been working three days a week on setting up the new National Centre for Creative Health, which comes out of Recommendation 1 in the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing’s Creative Health Report.
We are also advertising for trustees and the deadline is 21st February. So, please help us spread the word – ncch.org.uk/news/trustee-advert
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