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

Introducing the 2020 Spring School

Director’s Blog – January 2020

Don’t forget the deadline for Spring School applications is this Friday, the 10th January. The 2020 Spring School is from the 10th-13th March and is on ‘Creativity and Mental Health: helping ourselves and others make new meaning from illness’. We invite academics, artists and health professionals working with mental health to apply. We will be joined by two people with lived experience of ill health. The aim is to bring professionals together with those prepared to share their experiences of illness in an equal and trusting space. One thing to note is that we will preference applications from people living or working in the South West region. Selection is based on your motivation and rationale for attending and we look for a good balance of different experience and interests. Here’s the link to apply.

The Spring School is part of our developing Learning Programme. This year we will also be delivering regular webinars. Our webinar series kicks off on 6th February at 12-1pm with Julia Puebla Fortier discussing her research report “Creative cross-sectoral collaboration: What factors influence the development of an arts, health and wellbeing strategy in South West England?”. This research project forms part of Julia’s Public Health doctoral studies at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and underpins the collaborative regional strategy we have been working on for the past year. We will be talking through the process and findings, which place the regional strategy in the context of how collaborative cross-sectoral relationships work. It should be fascinating! You can register your interest in joining the webinar here.

Over the last year, our Chair, Sue Isherwood, has facilitated Action Learning Sets in Dorchester and Bristol. These have been very well received and Sue is now supporting both groups to be self-sustaining. Sue will be facilitating further Action Learning Sets in Exeter over the next six months. This pilot phase has shown that there is a demand for Action Learning in the region and we are planning to expand the offer in partnership with Jayne Howard, who is Director of Arts Well UK CIC and a trained Action Learning facilitator. Jayne will be offering a Virtual Action Learning Set from March and there will be more details in the next newsletter. Action Learning is a method of group coaching which involves questioning, listening to self and others and taking action on real issues. It can be particularly helpful to freelance practitioners who may have few opportunities for professional development, but is also relevant for people working in organisations who are in need of some reflective time with others facing similar challenges.

Finally, a very BIG thank you to everyone who attended the launch, pledged or donated to our Big Give Christmas Challenge and helped to raise a fantastic £6,987 for our Tackling Loneliness Campaign. It is through such generous support that we can continue to help develop arts, health and wellbeing work across the South West. As a small organisation AHSW couldn’t do what we do without the help of so many people who passionately believe in the value of the arts and creativity in enhancing health and wellbeing. Thank you!


Alex Coulter

9th January 2020

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