The Practising Well Conversation Series with Nicola Naismith

Nicola Naismith’s new research ‘Practising Well Conversations and Support Menu’ explores the working conditions for creative practitioners. Nicola invites everyone to read the research, connect, and book onto one of the free Practising Well Conversations hosted with CHWA.

Nicola Naismith’s new research Practising Well Conversations and Support Menu published in January 2022 explores the working conditions for creative practitioners.

She shares

“This is a critical time, creative practitioners will be living and processing their own experiences of recent seismic events whilst supporting others through participatory arts offers. A culture change is needed in the participatory arts sector to ensure creative practitioners are consistently supported in the work they do.”

Her central research question for this report is:

  • What are the key challenges to mainstreaming the ‘affective support’ conversation within participatory arts?

This central question was supported by three areas of investigation. Firstly, what evidence-based information is needed to facilitate conversations around affective support between the stakeholders of this work? Secondly, when should these conversations within the various project models take place? Thirdly, how is affective support to be resourced, and who has responsibility for this? In addition to exploring these questions Nicola has included an updated glossary to aid a shared understanding of common terms.

In the literature review Nicola explores Wellbeing at Work, Precarity and Needs, Reflective Practice in People-orientated professions, Types and Methods of Affective support, and a range of associated materials. A combination of focus groups and semi-structured interviews lead Nicola to discussions that explore the impact of isolation and precarity, the symbiotic relationship between instrumental and affective support, the role of consultation and choice and an awareness of barriers to accessing affective support. Nicola makes eight recommendations under the following headings: Supporting, Promoting, Collaborating, Planning, Learning, Guiding, Evaluating and Developing.

Nicola invites you to:

  1. Read the research: Full report, summary or view a slide presentation
  2. Send Nicola an email with your thoughts and reflections on the research, or connect with Nicola
  3. Book onto one or more of the free Practising Well Conversation events in February / March delivered in collaboration with the Culture Health and Wellbeing Alliance.

In a series of conversations, curated by Nicola and the Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance, they bring together new research and examples from practice alongside an opportunity to meet with peers and explore what it means to practice well.

These events are free and supported by funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Thursday 10 February, 1- 2.30pm

Practising Well Conversation 1:  Nicola Naismith with Alex Evans (Kazzum Arts) – book here

Thursday 24 February, 1- 2.30pm 

Practising Well Conversation 2: Nicola Naismith with Roshmi Lovatt (Integrative Art Therapist & Creative Well Programme), Tracy Breathnach ( How Ya Doing?  Programme Manager, Wales Arts, Health & Wellbeing Network) and Alistair Gentry (Artist and activist) – book here

Thursday 10 March, 1- 2.30pm

Practising Well Conversation 3: Nicola Naismith with Daniel Regan (Artist and Arts + Health Hub), Arji Manuelpillai (Artist) and Chris Stenton ( People Dancing) – book here

For more information visit

Did you find this resource useful?

As a registered charity we are only able to continue to provide the information and resources found on this site if we continue to receive charitable donations and grants. If you found this resource useful, then please consider donating.