Spring School 2020

The Spring School in March 2020 will have a focus on adult mental health.

10th – 13th March 2020



The 2020 Spring School is an intensive, immersive residential for people with lived experience of and for those working in the field of mental health and the arts. It offers time for people to work together, learn from each other, reflect on their experiences, and bring their thoughts back to the group. We encourage applications from academics, arts practitioners and health professionals. The aim is to bring professionals together with those prepared to share their experiences of mental illness in an equal and trusting space. We will be living, cooking, eating and working together which helps to make connections  between people who have never met before. Understanding each other will lead to personal growth and more informed professional attitudes. We will be considering how creativity can help us find new meaning in our lives and the world around us. Nature will be one focus of our creative explorations.

The Spring School 2020 is planned and delivered by:
Alex Coulter, Director of Arts & Health South West
Paul Dieppe, Trustee of Arts & Health South West and Emeritus Professor of Health and Wellbeing, University of Exeter
Hannah Mumby, General Manager of Arts & Health South West

An artist facilitator will join us.

Who Is It For?

The Spring School will be of particular interest to health professionals working on mental health; artists working in socially-engaged practice; and academics interested in these areas of theory and practice. We are looking for six participants from these groups to join us for two and a half days of collaborative experiential learning and reflection. The activities will integrate creative participation and theory and reflection. We aim to have a balanced group of participants reflecting different professional and personal experiences related to mental health and creativity. We are conscious that people may come with a particular professional ‘hat’ but have personal or professional experience that crosses over defined roles. We want the process and the interaction to be creative and fluid. The emphasis is on experiential learning for participants as an end in itself.

Accommodation & Venue

We will be staying in The Mount in Swanage https://www.themountswanage.co.uk/  Bedrooms are twins and participants will be asked to share a room. All meals are cooked and eaten together. We will spend our days at Durlston Country Park https://www.durlston.co.uk/

We are very grateful to Durlston Country Park for supporting the 2020 Spring School.


We ask those who can afford it to contribute £100 towards food and accommodation.

Quotes from previous participants:

 “Although it wasn’t always obvious how the different sessions or parts of the experience would directly relate to my research or to my work, I think that this was significantly less important than the fact that the whole School was clearly organised in a holistic, explorative way, seeking to make connections and create space for potential and expansive thinking, rather than just instrumentally teaching or completing problem-solving exercises.  I have faith that even when the relation isn’t yet obvious, the benefits will emerge with time.”


“I particularly valued the opportunity to connect with the other participants – I very much hope to collaborate with several of them in the future, but even if projects do not emerge, the chance to discuss, to talk, and to share was really valuable. I think the School did an excellent job of creating an open, supportive, caring atmosphere in which people were able to share experiences and stories. I would add that the chance to cook and eat together was probably valuable in creating this atmosphere – it was certainly fun!”

Evaluation report from Spring School 2019

Spring School 2019 Report FINAL


  • 1st November 2019: Applications open
  • 10th January 2020: Deadline for applications at 5pm
  • 31st January 2020: Successful applicants notified
  • 10th March 2020: travel to Dorset for early evening arrival and supper
  • 11th March 2020: full day of experiential learning and reflection
  • 12th March 2020:  full day of experiential learning and reflection
  • 13th March 2020: half-day reflection and wrap up and travel home

Selection Criteria:

Most importantly, a commitment and interest in creativity and the arts for health and wellbeing.

  • Healthcare professionals should be able to explain why they are interested in this area of practice and research and how participation would impact on their working practice.
  • Artists should have practical experience of delivering arts and health projects and be able to explain why they would benefit from this opportunity to explore this particular area of focus
  • Researchers should have some experience of working in this field or be interested in pursuing it. PhD students can apply.

How to Apply

The deadline for 2020 applications has passed, if you have applied, we will aim to contact you by the end of January 2020.

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