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

Director’s Monthly Reflection

AHSW Director Alex Coulter shares AHSW news and sector updates for April 2021

Over the last year, many of us will have looked at New Zealand’s handling of the pandemic with admiration. In 2019, New Zealand was hailed as the first western country to design the national budget around wellbeing priorities, with a focus on poverty and mental health. In the previous year, I had met a New Zealand Minister, Carmel Sepuloni MP, who was visiting London and wanted to discuss the Creative Health inquiry and report. Following the 2020 general election, Carmel Sepuloni was appointed as Minister for Social Development & Employment, Minister for Disability Issues and Minister for Arts, Culture & Heritage. She is also New Zealand’s first MP of Tongan descent. I am really pleased that she has agreed to speak at the International Conference on Monday 21st June. The theme of the day is Inequality.

Another exciting addition to Monday’s programme is a conversation between New York Theatre Director, Ping Chong, and Professor Hiromi Sakamoto from Kindai University in Japan. They will discuss their collaboration on ‘Difficult Lives’, part of Undesirable Elements, an ongoing series of community-specific interview-based theatre works examining issues of culture and identity with individuals who are outsiders within their mainstream community. On Tuesday 22nd June, in an early evening keynote, Dr Rachel Clarke, author of ‘Breathtaking: Inside the NHS in a time of pandemic’, will be in discussion with Dr Sunita Puri, a palliative care doctor based in California. They will talk about the power of the imagination in the context of death and dying. Following the talk, facilitated ‘Listening Circles’ will enable delegates to explore personal responses to what they have heard.

Early bird tickets for the international conference are available until 7th May. They cost £150 and will give you access to all live presentations and workshops, including a choice of over 90 parallel sessions, and numerous opportunities to network and connect.  You will also be able to catch up on sessions and keynotes you have missed, during the conference and for two days afterwards until 25th June.  You can spread the cost and share your log in with colleagues. Find out more HERE.

The Culture Health and Wellbeing International Conference Programme

Browse the 100+ live sessions available at our upcoming online conference, as the full programme for our upcoming international conference is now available HERE! The programme draws on over 200 submissions for practice and research from 20 countries. Attendees will have a choice of more than 90 presentations, workshops and films, covering subjects as varied as dementia and the arts, hip hop therapy, young people’s mental health, singing for health, staff wellbeing and training, partnerships and access, population level research and theoretical contributions.

Volunteer Digital Assistants

If you are confident about all things digital you may be interested in volunteering at the conference, as we are looking to recruit a team of Volunteer Digital Assistants. Assistants will receive free access to the whole event, in return for ‘hosting’ 4 live sessions per day, across the three days.

We’re looking for those who are;

  • Competent using technology and able to learn to use new technology quickly
  • Have a good internet connection, ideally by ethernet connection to router, or strong Wifi connection
  • Have access to a computer with Google Chrome browser

Commitment: 4 hrs per day, between 9:30am – 5:30pm BST (British Summer Time) on Monday 21st, Tuesday 22nd and Wednesday 23rd June 2021 (all 3 days)

Deadline for Applications: Midnight on Sunday 25th April 2021

To read the person specification and information about what’s involved and how to apply, click HERE.

Other AHSW News

We have a new AHSW Podcast Episode out!  This episode is a conversation between AHSW General Manager Hannah, Katrina Millar and Kirstie Millar, the creators of Ache magazine. Ache is an intersectional feminist publisher exploring illness, health, bodies and pain. The discussion explores the ways writing can be used as a vehicle for opening up irrational, subversive narratives about bodies, and how this can be a way of resisting the rational medical discourse on health. Other areas this episode touches on are personal experiences of Endometriosis, eating disorders and health anxiety, ways to approach health from a more intersectional perspective, and exploring illness creatively within a community.

Listen and subscribe via
Apple Podcasts:
Or via our website

National News

Join the Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance  for their National Conference – Culture of Care, Wednesday 21 – Friday 23 April, Ticket sales end Monday 19th April, 12 noon.

The Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance (CHWA) national conference will be held online across 3 days, 21-23 April 2021, ending with the celebratory CHWA 2021 Awards Gathering. The core theme of care includes caring for each other, caring for the environment and caring economies. The conference will be delving into conversations about the big topics that have been amplified by Covid-19, including practitioner support and grappling with the sector’s role in challenging health inequalities, reflecting on how we can work more collaboratively and more intersectionally to address the multiple emergencies we face; a global health pandemic, the climate and ecological emergency, and rising inequality.

Find out more HERE >>

The CHWA National Conference is part of a series of events across spring and summer 2021, celebrating the power of creativity and culture to transform our health and wellbeing, this includes our CHW21 International Conference, and Creativity and Wellbeing Week hosted by  London Arts in Health  and Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance.


Keep well,




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