Art and Social Change

An Erasmus+ partnership project, which AHSW helped to deliver, between 2017-2019.


Art and Social Change was an Erasmus Plus project that developed new training methods using the arts to prevent burnout for healthcare professionals working with people in recovery from substance use. The 7 partners were from Germany, Italy, Lithuania and the UK.

The UK based partners were Arts & Health South West and Manchester-based Portraits of Recovery.

AHSW’s role was to facilitate the development of a web-based community of practice resource for the project partners, and ultimately a web based resource on a co-produced training methodology. AHSW also supported dissemination.
PORe delivered three separate training rounds led by the artist Kate McCoy. 41 people participated in the training programmes and in response a group of trainees made this powerful and poignant testimonial film.

The Art & Social Change project sought to contribute to developing an innovative training programme aimed at strengthening transversal competences of health staff working with people in recovery from substance misuse and dual diagnosis.

Art & Social Change sought to establish a series of interdisciplinary groups composed of:

  • Artists
  • health professionals and
  • people in long term recovery

The aim of these groups was to explore the impact of the arts to deliver better quality services, with increased capacity to establish and create empathetic environments centred around collective relationship development that support equality of voice.

Following the first learning event, the project group intended to explore how art has been used successfully in addiction recovery and develop training to increase awareness of, engagement with, and access to such support.

We believe in embedding an action learning approach that can support health workers as well as improve outcomes for people in recovery, and in the process challenge misconceptions that contribute to stigmas.

The project was particularly keen to amplify the messages emerging from the ‘Recoverist’ movement in the UK and develop training to inform and support health care professionals, building on successful pilot work in Italy.

The project ended in 2019, but resources will continue to be available at the project website.

A project report with a summary of the project learning, and recommendations, can be downloaded below.

You can listen to a series of podcasts (created by AHSW) about the project and some of its emerging themes, here.


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Art and Social Change Project Report

Art and Social Change: A Path to Recovery - download now as a PDF. Click the button to download or click here to open in your browser.


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