Events to highlight importance of creativity for health and wellbeing

Three key events in May will highlight the importance of creativity for health & wellbeing in the aftermath of the pandemic and for the future:

  • During Creativity & Wellbeing Week, hundreds of events will offer the opportunity to take part in activities to benefit wellbeing.
  • The Arts 4 Dementia Best Practice ConferenceArts for Brain Health aims to transform the diagnostic experience through prescribing creative activities from the onset of dementia symptoms
  • The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts Health and Wellbeing will explore how culture and creativity can support the proposed changes to the Mental Health Act.

An event run by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing will be held on 17 May, during Creativity & Wellbeing Week.

The roundtable discussion will explore how creativity can contribute to a better experience for people who come into contact with mental health services. Contributors will examine how arts and culture can support the four principles on which the proposed changes to the Mental Health Act (MHA) are based. The principles aim to place people at the centre of decisions about their own care and ensure everyone is treated equally:

  • choice and autonomy – ensuring service users’ views and choices are respected
  • least restriction – ensuring the MHA’s powers are used in the least restrictive way
  • therapeutic benefit – ensuring patients are supported to get better, so they can be discharged from the MHA
  • the person as an individual – ensuring patients are viewed and treated as individuals

The event will be chaired by Dr Ben Spencer MP, Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing.

Dr Ben Spencer MP said:

“The Government’s White Paper on the reform of the Mental Health Act and Review rightly set out a set of core principles for people detained and treated in hospital for mental illness. This fascinating and timely session will look at how culture and creativity can support people when they are in hospital and severely unwell with mental illness. We will examine how best the principles can be achieved in practice, how the arts can help us understand people’s different responses to distress and illness, and how people can express their creativity in a psychiatric hospital.”

Sandra Griffiths, Founder and Director of The Red Earth Collective, will be speaking at the event. The Red Earth Collective uses the arts to inspire stories, stimulate thinking and to create conversations that support and improve the mental health and wellbeing of marginalised and racialised communities.

Arts 4 Dementia is campaigning for social prescribing of arts activities by GPs at the onset of dementia symptoms. Joining a weekly creative group empowers people to preserve their brain health. Arts 4 Dementia aims to transform the diagnostic experience by ensuring that social prescribing is offered early to help combat the isolating, stressful months leading to memory assessment and diagnosis.

Arts for Brain Health: Social Prescribing as Peri-Diagnostic Practice for Dementia, organised by Arts 4 Dementia runs on 20 and 21 May during Dementia Action Week. At the conference, policy makers, social reformers, academic specialists and culture, health and wellbeing experts will present evidence for creative ageing, highlight cross-sector referral and funding partnership practice for sustainable social prescription programmes and debate the way forward. 

Veronica Franklin Gould, President of Arts 4 Dementia, said: 

“This conference aims to unlock access to re-energising arts support for people from the onset of dementia, rather than endure lonely fear-filled months until confirmation that their brain is degenerating with no hope of a cure.

“Thanks to social prescribing link workers, available to every GP, instead of living in lonely fear of stigma in the wait for diagnosis, people can now be invited to choose empowering cultural and creative activity to preserve their brain health. By the time diagnosis comes, their involvement in the community will reassure them how they can continue to discover and enjoy life with loved ones, despite dementia.”

Ron Bennett was referred to Arts 4 Dementia’s partnership programme with Southwark Playhouse, while undergoing assessment for a potential dementia. He said:
“It gets your brain working – you get into the character. It was all about me and my acting. It takes you into the character. It’s amazing. You think something quick. You don’t usually think like that! It means a lot to me.”

Creativity & Wellbeing Week 17-23 May is a national festival celebrating a creative approach to supporting health and wellbeing. Online events run by organisations all over the country will offer opportunities from mindful stitching to nature photography, with the aim of encouraging people to consider their wellbeing through creativity. The festival has been running for eleven years.

The event is run by London Arts and Health and the Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance, a national organisation for everyone who believes culture and creativity can support health and wellbeing.

The festival will also offer a number of events to support the sector and encourage best practice, networking and peer to peer learning. 

The Week includes a conference from The Arts and Health Hub which brings together an exciting mixture of interdisciplinary speakers including artists, medics and researchers, discussing and sharing works on themes of care.

Victoria Hume Director of the Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance said:
“Creativity and culture have a key role to play in dealing with the mental health impacts of the pandemic for young people, for NHS and care staff and for all of us. Research confirms that culture and creativity support our health and wellbeing; they have protected our mental health during the pandemic and will be essential to supporting our collective recovery. Grassroots organisations all around the UK are using creativity to address entrenched health inequalities and support agency, confidence and build hope in change. 

“Through the events and campaigns that are happening during May, we aim to raise the profile of this important work, to offer opportunities to participate, and to encourage policy-makers to ensure that creativity and culture are built into our systems of health and care.”

During the pandemic, organisations all over the country have been using creativity to combat the effects of loneliness, improve mental wellbeing and keep communities connected.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority has coordinated a collective response across health, social care and cultural organisations to ensure people who cannot connect online are not forgotten. Tens of thousands of Creative Care Packs have been sent out to young people and older people with materials and activity ideas using music, writing, craft and other artforms. The kits also include phone numbers for help and support as well as hints and tips to protect mental wellbeing.

Plymouth Music Zone has run on and offline programmes, community creations, activities and workshops to engage, entertain and encourage the communities they work with, in particular people who were already experiencing levels of social isolation for a wide variety of reasons. This includes those in residential care, children with disabilities and sensory impairments, adults with mental health conditions, neurodiverse and disabled adults, and older adults with sight loss. Activities include Makaton and BSL videos with musicians, piano lessons by telephone, and weekly music quizzes.

The activities aim to engage people’s thinking and creative skills, to encourage them to try something new, to exchange ideas with others and to offer some respite from the relentlessness of being isolated. 

The Museum of You aimed to capture the experience of lockdown and support wellbeing. The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge in Canterbury released regular themes to inspire local people to create. Through accessible activities designed to improve health & wellbeing while at home, people created a range of artistic responses including paintings, drawings, photographs, textiles and prints. The activities were based on Mind’s Six Ways to Wellbeing and aimed to combat loneliness and support mental and physical health. Participants’ artwork was then brought together in the Special Exhibitions Gallery at The Beaney, with over 100 works displayed to the public. Participants were able to share their stories and demonstrate the value that creativity had had on their wellbeing

Intermission Youth has worked predominantly with young people between 16 and 25 from the Black and ethnically diverse backgrounds who are vulnerable, at risk and from socio-economically challenging backgrounds. During lockdown they provided a range of theatre-based workshops, performances and training, supporting physical and mental health and helping empower young people to support change in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Almost a hundred more such case studies of creative work reaching people, institutions and supporting people shielding at home can be found via the Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance.

Information about how to participate in Creativity & Wellbeing Week is available online.

Registration for Arts 4 Dementia Best Practice Conference 2021 is open. The report Arts for Brain Health: Social Prescribing as Peri-Diagnostic Practice for Dementia will be launched at The Culture, Health and Wellbeing international conference 21-23 June 2021. 

Registration for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing Webinar is open.

New sculptures at Exeter Cathedral to reflect hope, resilience and new beginnings

Four huge sculptures will float in the air above visitors to Exeter Cathedral. The human-like forms will reflect themes of hope, resilience and new beginnings.

The sculptures are part of a project by Devon-based artist Martin Staniforth (known as Morth) which begins in June. The project includes sculptures inside and outside the Cathedral, a contemporary dance event, creative wellbeing workshops and a community-crafted ‘Tree of Hope’ sculpture.

Scension 
Four sculptures will appear to float in the air; life-size echoes of human figures emerging from woven willow structures with gentle cotton drapes suggesting movement.

On the ground, there will be a 6m high woven willow structure which might appear to be falling down or growing up, depending on how the viewer interprets it; perhaps a meteorite falling to earth or a bulb shooting sprouting up from the ground. The title ‘Scension’ refers to this ambiguity of ascension or descension.


Martin Staniforth said:
“This project is inspired by the idea that an ending can also be a beginning. Tragedy is part of the circle of life. Things go wrong but the sun always rises tomorrow. When something comes to a close, this creates time and space for something new to emerge .

“I first began thinking about this idea as a teenager walking around London, photographing the statues. They were all male and looked very cold, stoic and proud. I thought that surely there were ways to reflect other sides of humanity, acknowledging frailty and vulnerability.”

Scension Dance Day
During a day of dance, six community dance groups and a professional dance company will perform amongst the sculptures to music composed specially by Fionn Connolly. Choreographer Daisy Harrison will work with the groups in the lead up to the performances in July. 

Tree of Hope
During the exhibition, visitors to the Cathedral are invited to contribute to a community sculpture by writing memories of the past and hopes for the future onto paper leaves. These will hang on the Tree of Hope, which aims to help people to build hope for the future. Contributions might respond to loss or loneliness due to Covid-19, or to climate change and sustainability issues.

Resurgo
Outside the Cathedral will be a sculpture created using timbers burnt during the fire at the Royal Clarence Hotel in 2016. The burnt timbers first found a new life when Martin incorporated them in a sculpture in 2017.

Martin said:
“The burnt timbers were going to be thrown away, but they still had life inside them. I used them to create ‘Hope & Renewal’ in 2017, and now I’m ‘re-reusing them’, reflecting the idea that an ending can be a beginning. I’ve sealed the loose, black, scaly surface of the timbers however, in time, the crevices would form a foundation for tiny plants to grow.”

The new sculpture dramatises the movement from the horizontal to the vertical, as if the material is rising again and heralding a new future.

Creative Wellbeing Workshops
As part of the project’s aim to promote wellbeing and social cohesion, a series of workshops will be held in partnership with Headway Devon and United Response.

Artist facilitators will work with participants to reflect on life, express their hopes and notice where they can find sources of strength and inspiration. 

Martin said:
“These workshops will explore the concept that an ending can be a beginning. After set-backs, many of us continue to carry around our inner anxieties, our pain, our concerns. Art can help us to access those inner feelings, to process and normalise them. Through these workshops, we aim to help people realise they’re not alone and that their voices are important.”

The project is funded by the Network For Social Change , Creative Beings CIC and Arts Council England.

‘Scension’ and ‘Resurgo’ will be at Exeter Cathedral from 12 June to 30 August, during Density and Lightness, an exhibition by South West Sculptors.

Ends

For more information
Gillian Taylor 07761 546075
gillian@gilliantaylorpr.com

Notes for Editors

Martin Staniforth (Morth) 
Based in East Devon, Martin is chair of the South West Sculptors. In 2020, he attracted funding from both the Network For Social Change and Arts Council England for Resurgo / Scension.

In 2017, Martin  co-founded Creative Beings CIC, a social enterprise that helps to cultivate creative practices for wellbeing. Creative Beings runs courses and events that help people to find the time and space to notice the process rather than get fixated by pressure to produce a ‘final’ output.  

Also in 2017, Martin received funding support from the Devon Community Foundation for an integrated ‘Hope & Renewal’ arts project including sculpture installation, community workshops and a national photographic competition. The 4-metre high sculpture was awarded the top prize at the TRAIL outdoor exhibition.

‘Density & Lightness’ exhibition from South West Sculptors
‘Density & Lightness’ will feature 75 sculptures from 24 artists, inside and outside Exeter Cathedral, from 12 June to 30 August. The diverse exhibits will include pieces made from stone, wood, ceramic, bronze, plaster and glass. Careful curation and juxtapositioning will highlight links between these guest sculptures and the Cathedral’s own permanent works.

South West Sculptors exist to showcase the work of skilled sculptors practicing with diverse materials in Devon, Cornwall, Dorset and Somerset. Formed in 2000, they are an informal and supportive group, embracing both emerging and established artists with a passion for sculpting. Their members include internationally-known sculptors and those who have: 
• displayed at the Mall Gallery, London and the Royal Academy, London
• exhibited at The Society of Portrait Sculptors’ annual exhibition
• received commissions for public artworks from local hospitals and international universities
• tutored at international conferences and workshops from Devon to Changzhou, China
• been elected as Royal Academicians
• regularly instructed plastic surgeons in 3-D language

Miniature pieces of art inspired by restrictions of the pandemic

An exhibition of miniature artworks will be displayed in a set of old printer’s letterpress drawers.

The drawers’ tiny compartments – which originally housed the print typefaces – have provided a stimulus for the exhibiting artists. Inspired by the restrictions many of us have experienced due to covid-19, more than 200 artists from all over the world have produced work, including a four-piece jigsaw, tiny books, a decorated coin, and small shell sculptures made out of old maps.

The new works will be exhibited at Clayhill Arts, Bridgwater, Somerset and showcased online. 

The idea was devised by artist Amanda Lynch who became fascinated by the Mail Art Movement which began in the 1960s, when artists sent postcards with poems or drawings through the post rather than exhibiting through conventional channels.

Amanda used the restrictions of the pandemic and the idea of Mail Art as inspiration for the exhibition. 

Amanda said:
“I’ve been sending postcards through the mail since the first lockdown began. It’s a good way to keep in touch, and it brings such joy when people receive a piece of art through the letterbox.

“One of the things I wanted to do with this exhibition was to include some of the people who sometimes find it harder to get their work exhibited, so I’ve reached out to disabled artists and to emerging artists and encouraged them to take part.

“I wanted to share this creative conversation with others, so as well as inviting people to send their tiny pieces of art, I’m setting up an artists’ network so that we can stay in touch and learn from each other.”

Work has been sent through the post from all over Britain, and as far afield as New Zealand, Japan and the Faroe Islands.

Benji Appleby-Tyler used his work to show that under the current restrictions, many of us do not feel ‘whole’. He created a small jigsaw with each of the four pieces displayed in a separate compartment. The work aims to show how people’s mental health is affected by the imposed restrictions which force many people to be alone.

The link with the letterpress drawers has a personal significance for the artist whose grandfather worked as a typesetter at the Weston Mercury for many years.

Michelle Wood is based in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside. She has created small shell-like forms from vintage maps, and a concertina folding book containing delicate drawings and prints of shells.

Michelle said:
“My work is inspired and sustained by our coastal location. Throughout the past year, I have been beach walking, scouring for shells and stones and dipping in the North Sea, with a view of the horizon and what lies beyond. There is a new and real tension between keeping ourselves close, with that of looking outward beyond our horizon. We are tiny creatures in a vast sea.”

Ruth Barrett-Danes is a print maker who has created tiny books reflecting the images from her window. Until lockdown, Ruth was very active, teaching printmaking and working with adults with learning disabilities.

Ruth said:
“I never regarded myself as “vulnerable” until suddenly I found myself labelled as such and robbed of my ability to be able to interact within a vibrant community with shared interests and passions.”

Ann Mansolino is based in Blairmore, Alberta, Canada. The letterpress drawer compartments reminded her of the appearance of a Zoom call.

Ann said:
“A computer screen full of faces in little Zoom boxes has become, for me, one of the enduring symbols of this strange time and of the restrictions and limitations and alternate ways of communicating with others associated with it.”

She has made four photographic images showing herself playing different roles, fighting against the restrictive space of the boxes. Each image is framed with the Zoom interface – the box with buttons for mute, screen sharing, etc.

Kaoru Shibuta is from Kyoto, Japan
Through his art, he translates musical notes into images and contemporary installations, creating a poetic symphony composed of images, colours and harmony, fusing nature, music and art.

Toni Mosley is an artist and printmaker based in Auckland, New Zealand.
She has used prints bound up with thread so they are restricted – they cannot be opened and unfolded to their full size. Her idea relates to the lack of movement, isolation and of waiting for someone to cut the thread and release.

Sharon Gale and Jason Gale (known as Quiet British Accent) have painted a face mask onto the image of the monarch on a pre-decimal penny along with a slogan referring to our current times, specifically lockdown.

Theresa Kohlbeck lives on the Faroe Islands in the middle of the North Atlantic. She creates tiny tondos – circular works of art. One shows a heath orchid, restricted in its own space of a mossy meadow. This reflect the way that people are restricted to their homes during lockdown. 

As well as curating the exhibition, Amanda has set up the Correspondence Collective to bring together creative people to share knowledge and inspiration at a time when many artists are feeling isolated.

Contributed artwork will be archived by Clayhill Arts as a record of work created about this unusual time. 

The exhibition will be launched online by Clayhill Arts on Tuesday 23 March, a year on from the start of the first lockdown.

New music aims to raise the profile of the double bass

A new piece of music aims to raise the profile of the double bass. The tones and range of this often-underrated instrument are explored in Leo Geyer’s new work ‘Water Boatman’.

Inspired by the aquatic insect’s ability to swim and also to fly, the piece takes full advantage of the huge span that the double bass can cover. The music depicts the water boatman’s journey as it travels from the depths of the water to the surface, and eventually takes flight. 

Leo Geyer is a young composer with a passion for imaginative, daring and dramatic approaches to music-making.

The piece for solo double bass has been commissioned by The Musicians’ Company as part of the Young Artists’ Programme and is played by virtuoso player Toby Hughes.

Composed and filmed in lockdown, ‘Water boatman’ is played with a loop pedal which allows the performer to create layers of sound during a live performance. The full range of voices of the instrument can be heard in one piece.

Composer Leo Geyer said:
“Toby and I worked together on this piece during lockdown, exploring ideas and concepts over Zoom. We wanted to create a piece which showcases the expressiveness and virtuosity of the double bass, which led us to explore using a loop pedal. The result is a layering of lines which come and go, often reconsidered in different harmonic contexts to illustrate the water boatman’s journey to the sky.”

As well as performing Leo Geyer’s new piece, Toby Hughes has recorded a CD which aims to showcase the repertoire for double bass. 

Toby Hughes said:
“I feel very lucky that Leo has written Water Boatman which explores the full range of the instrument in one piece. The double bass is not just a deeper sounding cello – it has its own sonorous tone and it’s much more versatile than many people realise. There are some beautiful pieces for double bass which are not often heard. I’m on a mission to raise the profile of this misunderstood instrument.”

Water Boatman begins with a dark deep tone, reflecting the depths of the water, and describes the journey of the insect, with voices rolling underneath each other as it comes to the surface and then flies as the double bass transports the listener to different harmonic spheres. 

Water Boatman will be available on The Musician’s Company YouTube channel from Wed 24 Feb.

ends

For further information
Gillian Taylor 07761 546075
gillian@gilliantaylorpr.com

Notes for editors

Leo Geyer is a young composer and conductor with a passion for imaginative, daring and dramatic approaches to music-making, encompassing new work, interdisciplinary collaborations and re-imaginings of existing music. He is the Founder and Artistic Director of Constella OperaBallet, Music Director for the Devon Philharmonic Orchestra, and works as a guest artist internationally. He is also the Senior Music Scholar at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford studying for a doctorate in opera-ballet composition. His music has been performed across the world, including his opera ‘The Mermaid of Zennor’, described by The Times as “imaginative and beautifully shaped”.

Toby Hughes is a double bass soloist. He won the 2013 Chandos Symphony Orchestra’s ‘Young Musician of the Year’ and in 2014 was the first double bassist to win the string section of the Royal Over-Seas League Competition. In 2016 he won the Bromsgrove International Competition and in 2018 the Tunbridge Wells International Young Concert Artists Competition. 

Toby has performed with major international orchestras both in Europe and the UK. He has been awarded support from The Tillett Trust, The Musicians’ Company and Making Music, and his recital engagements have included appearances at Wigmore Hall, St-Martin-in-the-Fields, The Edinburgh Festival and at Queen Elizabeth Hall. He has been a City Music Foundation artist since 2018 and his debut CD will be released later this year on the Champs Hill Record label.

The Musicians’ Company, also known as The Worshipful Company of Musicians’ is the only City of London Livery Company dedicated to the performing arts. They nurture and support emerging musicians through prizes, bursaries, scholarships, and awards given to music students of the highest calibre, awarding around £200,000/year.

The Young Artists’ Programme is a scheme for musicians who have won one of their awards.  It supports musicians during the vital first few years of professional practice and allows them to share their skills and passion with the wider community through participation work.

www.youtube.com/themusicianscompany

New National Centre aims to make creativity integral to health and social care systems

A new national centre for creativity and wellbeing launches on Tuesday 9 March. The National Centre for Creative Health aims to make creativity integral to health and social care systems.

At the online launch of the Centre, Chair of Trustees, Lord Howarth of Newport, and guest speaker, Lord Victor Adebowale, Chair of the NHS Confederation, will reflect on how the arts, culture and creativity can support people and organisations in the context of the pandemic and increasing health inequalities. 

Lord Howarth of Newport said: 
“This is an exciting and very important moment. It’s an opportunity to make a difference. We know from thousands of studies that creativity is vital for everyone’s wellbeing. The new Centre will advance research, inform policy and promote good practice and collaboration in order to foster the conditions for creative health to be integral to health and social care systems.

“The creative health movement believes that active engagement with the arts and culture – whether through our own creative practice or through our enjoyment of the creative practice of others – is beneficial for the wellbeing and health of all of us. Health inequalities are a key priority for the Centre; lack of access to cultural and creative opportunities too often mirrors other inequalities. The Covid-19 pandemic has reinforced and increased inequalities and made this work all the more urgent.”

The Centre has been formed in response to the Creative Health report, the result of a two-year inquiry led by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing

Evidence from research shows that engagement with the arts and culture is beneficial for health and wellbeing. The Creative Health report brings together over a thousand published studies outlining the role of arts and creativity in supporting health across the life course. 

Other speakers at the launch:

  • Rachel Clarke, Palliative care doctor and author of Breathtaking: Inside the NHS in a Time of Pandemic, will talk about the experience of healthcare staff during the pandemic and a growing concern for their health and mental wellbeing. In the coming months and years, enabling health and social care staff to engage in creative health programmes will support their own wellbeing as well as that of their patients.
  • Lucinda Jarrett, Director of Rosetta Life and participant, Pauline Boye, will talk about the Opera I Look For the Think made in lockdown.
  • Christopher Bailey, Arts and Health Lead at the World Health Organisation, will speak about the wider global context for arts and creativity in the time of the pandemic.
  • Dr Jane Povey, Clinical Lead for Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Sustainability and Transformation Partnership will reflect on how creative approaches to health and wellbeing can become integral to health and care provision.

In partnership with NHS England, the National Centre for Creative Health will work with Integrated Care Systems to spread learning and embed creative health approaches through a programme of ‘Hubs’.

Dr Jane Povey, Clinical Lead for Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP), said:
“I am thrilled to be celebrating the launch of our National Centre for Creative Health. This is extremely timely since we will be able to work with Integrated Care Systems as they emerge across the country. This will ensure creative approaches to health and wellbeing become integral to health and care provision. In Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, we are looking forward to playing a part in enabling this, to benefit our community and share the approaches we evolve with other Integrated Care Systems.”

During the pandemic, a remarkable transformation of creative health practice has enabled people who are vulnerable and isolated to continue to engage and be supported. Pauline Boye, a former nurse and a Stroke ‘Ambassador’ will talk about her experience of taking part in the Opera I Look For the Think made in lockdown with the Garsington Opera Adult Community Company. Stroke Odysseys is one of three interventions in the major King’s Health Partners’ SHAPER programme.

Pauline Boye said:
“It was very touching, the songs about how we leave hospital and start a new life – I loved singing those parts. It was very moving. I look forward to joining each session, I like the exercise and I wish we could do it every day because it makes me feel happy, my mood, each time we perform I feel a bit more confident, a little goes a long way”

A panel at the launch will include

  • Nikki CraneSHAPER Programme Manager
  • James Sanderson, Director of Personalised Care, NHS England and NHS Improvement
  • Rob Webster, Chief Executive of South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Lead Chief Executive West Yorkshire and Harrogate Integrated Care System

Rob Webster said:
“In West Yorkshire and Harrogate, we are delighted to be one of the four Integrated Care Systems working with the National Centre for Creative Health on this programme. We know that creativity is part of the lifeblood of our communities, is a major contributor to our economies and helps to define the places we live. Creative health has been a priority for us for the last five years. There is also an impressive evidence base on the relationship between creativity and health. During the pandemic this has become very clear, with creativity playing a role in supporting people’s mental and physical wellbeing, especially those who are shielding or isolated.”

The Centre will play a pivotal role in enabling creative health approaches to become integral to health and social care and wider systems in the UK. The Centre’s priorities are: health inequalities; advancing good practice and research; informing policy; and promoting collaboration.

The National Centre for Creative Health will be launched at 2pm on Tuesday 9 March at an online event. 

Ends

For further information
Gillian Taylor 07761 546075
gillian@gilliantaylorpr.com

Notes for editors
To receive an invitation to the online launch event, please email: info@ncch.org.uk, including your name and publication/media outlet.

The public link to join the launch: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/launch-of-the-national-centre-for-creative-health-tickets-141143601311

The Creative Health report is the result of a two-year inquiry led by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing. It brings together over a thousand published studies outlining the role of arts and creativity in supporting health across the life course. 

The World Health Organisation scoping review: What is the evidence on the role of the arts in improving health and wellbeing? synthesizes the global evidence on the role of the arts in improving health and well-being, with a specific focus on the WHO European Region. Results from over 3000 studies identified a major role for the arts in the prevention of ill health, promotion of health, and management and treatment of illness across the lifespan. 

Build Back Fairer: The COVID-19 Marmot Review investigates how the pandemic has affected health inequalities in England.

The increasing gap in inequalities was evidenced in Health Equity in England: The Marmot Review 10 Years On, published in February 2020.

The Centre is working with Integrated Care Systems to explore models for integrating creative health at a systems level through a programme of ‘Hubs’ in Gloucestershire, West Yorkshire and Harrogate, Suffolk and North East Essex, and Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.

New National Centre for Creative Health Launches

A new national centre for creativity and wellbeing launches on 9th March. The National Centre for Creative Health aims to make creativity integral to health and social care systems.

At the online launch of the National Centre for Creative Health, Chair of Trustees, Lord Howarth of Newport, and guest speaker, Lord Victor Adebowale, Chair of the NHS Confederation, will reflect on how the arts, culture and creativity can support people and organisations in the context of the pandemic and increasing health inequalities. 

The Centre has been formed in response to the Creative Health report, the result of a two-year inquiry led by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing

Evidence from research shows that engagement with the arts and culture is beneficial for health and wellbeing. TheCreative Health report brings together over a thousand published studies outlining the role of arts and creativity in supporting health across the life course. 

Lord Howarth of Newport, Chair of Trustees of the National Centre for Creative Health said: 
“This is an exciting and very important moment. It’s an opportunity to make a difference. We know from thousands of studies that creativity is vital for everyone’s wellbeing. The new Centre will advance research, inform policy and promote good practice and collaboration in order to foster the conditions for creative health to be integral to health and social care systems.

“The creative health movement believes that active engagement with the arts and culture – whether through our own creative practice or through our enjoyment of the creative practice of others – is beneficial for the wellbeing and health ofall of us. Health inequalities are a key priority for the Centre; lack of access to cultural and creative opportunities too often mirrors other inequalities. The Covid-19 pandemic has reinforced and increased inequalities and made this work all the more urgent.”

During the pandemic, a remarkable transformation of creative health practice has enabled people who are vulnerable and isolated to continue to engage and be supported. At the launch of the National Centre for Creative Health, a person living with a brain injury due to stroke will talk about their experience of making the Opera “I Look For the Think” made in lockdown with 60 Stroke ‘Ambassadors’ and the Garsington Opera Adult Community Company. 

Participant Pauline Boye, a former nurse, said of the project:
“It was very touching, the songs about how we leave hospital and start a new life – I loved singing those parts. It was very moving. I look forward to joining each session, I like the exercise and I wish we could do it every day because it makes me feel happy, my mood, each time we perform I feel a bit more confident, a little goes a long way”

The experience of healthcare staff during the pandemic has led to growing concern for their own health and mental wellbeing as we emerge from the crisis. At the launch of the National Centre for Creative Health, we will be joined by Rachel Clarke, palliative care doctor and author of ‘Breathtaking: Inside the NHS in a Time of Pandemic.’ In the coming months and years, enabling health and social care staff to engage in creative health programmes will support their own wellbeing as well as that of their patients.

The Centre is working with Integrated Care Systems to explore models for integrating creative health at a systems level through a programme of ‘Hubs’.

Dr Jane Povey, Clinical Lead for Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP), said:
“I am thrilled to be celebrating the launch of our National Centre for Creative Health. This is extremely timely since we will be able to work with Integrated Care Systems as they emerge across the country. This will ensure creative approaches to health and wellbeing become integral to health and care provision. In Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, we are looking forward to playing a part in enabling this, to benefit our community and share the approaches we evolve with other Integrated Care Systems.”

The National Centre for Creative Health will be launched at 2pm on 9th March 2021 at an online event. 

ends

For further information
Gillian Taylor 07761 546075
gillian@gilliantaylorpr.com


Notes for editors

To receive an invitation to the online launch event, please email: info@ncch.org.uk, including your name and publication/media outlet.

The programme for the launch will be available in mid February.

The Creative Health report is the result of a two-year inquiry led by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing. It brings together over a thousand published studies outlining the role of arts and creativity in supporting health across the life course. 

The World Health Organisation scoping review: What is the evidence on the role of the arts in improving health and wellbeing? synthesizes the global evidence on the role of the arts in improving health and well-being, with a specific focus on the WHO European Region. Results from over 3000 studies identified a major role for the arts in the prevention of ill health, promotion of health, and management and treatment of illness across the lifespan. 

Build Back Fairer: The COVID-19 Marmot Review investigates how the pandemic has affected health inequalities in England.

The increasing gap in inequalities was evidenced in Health Equity in England: The Marmot Review 10 Years On, published in February 2020.

The Centre is working with Integrated Care Systems to explore models for integrating creative health at a systems level through a programme of ‘Hubs’ in Gloucestershire, West Yorkshire and Harrogate, Suffolk and North East Essex, and Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.




Somerset joins together to create a county-wide panto

People in Somerset will have the opportunity to appear on the virtual stage with Cinderella.

Venues in Somerset have come together to create the perfect solution for panto in a pandemic. Each scene of ‘In Search of Cinderella’ will be recorded at a well-known theatre or arts centre as part of an online performance.

Families across the county and further afield will be able to enjoy the virtual panto from the comfort of their own homes as they join together to celebrate Somerset. 

Acts will be performed at venues around the county, and the winners of the Ugly Sisters competition will be filmed trying on Cinderella’s slipper.

The play is produced by Richard Crowe, Over the Wall in association with The Engine Room. Writer Richard Crowe of Over The Wall said:
“We’re creating something very special with and for the people of Somerset. There’s a fantastic local tradition of panto, and we wanted to involve people across the county at this unusual time. This story belongs to us – Somerset isCinderella. We’re the county people drive through without stopping, and we’re the county that punches above its weight. We don’t always acknowledge the amazing things that happen here, such as Carnival and all our local traditions. This is an opportunity to join across the county and celebrate what we’ve got and who we are.”

The participating venues are: Strode TheatreTaunton BrewhouseThe Regal Theatre MineheadBridgwater Arts CentreThe David Hall South Petherton, and the performance will end with the Prince and Cinders’ wedding at Glastonbury Abbey.

As well as the Ugly Sisters competition, designs are invited for the glass slipper and the wedding cake to appear in a gallery as part of the show.

Children at Butleigh C of E Primary School are gearing up to record their ‘It’s behind you’ moments for the performance.

The project is funded by Arts Council England, Somerset West & Taunton Council, the BARN initiative (via Take Art) and by the people of Somerset and further afield, through a fundraiser.

In Search of Cinderella premieres online at 6pm on Wednesday 20 January. Information about the performance and competitions will be available at insearchofcinderella.com

Ends

Notes for Editors

In Search of Cinderella is a Richard Crowe | Over the Wall production in association with Somerset Film and Wassail Theatre Company and with the participation of the theatres and arts centres of Somerset.

Donations will be in aid of the participating venues to help support them in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.

The production was created and recorded in accordance with the latest government C-19 guidelines.







Disabled Actors Joined by Coronation Street Star for Lockdown Play

A cast of Devon-based disabled actors will be joined by Coronation Street star Cherylee Houston in a short film which explores isolation in lockdown.

‘When The Wheels Come Off’ is a new drama which will be premiered online on Thursday 29 October. It is produced by CEDA and performed by their drama group, a company of actors who use performing skills to tell their stories of life and disability. Their work deals with the trials and frustrations, the victories and challenges of everyday life.

The group worked together online to build a story around thoughts, feelings and ideas which they had started to discuss in workshops before lockdown. The drama starts before lockdown, with a news report about Rona, a wheelchair user who was isolated in her flat for over six weeks because the lift was broken.

As part of the drama, Rona looks out of the window and the audience hears her thoughts which are voiced by Cherylee Houston.

CEDA’s Craig Bowden said:
“When we were looking for someone to voice Rona’s thoughts, we felt it was vital that that person was a disabled actor. We invited Cherylee to be part of the project, and we were delighted when she accepted. It’s been a great experience for the team to work with her as an actor, and as an advocate for disability access.”

Actor Cherylee Houston said:“Lockdown has made us all on a level, a place where we can all get into the same virtual room; this for disabled people is very different in life away from COVID. I absolutely loved meeting and working with the CEDA team, it was great to be part of a film which was led by the group members’ ideas and experiences – CEDA are doing great work! I was keen to be part of the project for this very reason – often our stories are untold, and our everyday experiences ignored. It’s great when disabled people are allowed the space to advocate for themselves and tell our stories in our own words. That’s how life will change for us – change how we are included in society, to be allowed our proper place alongside everyone else.”

Writer and Director Conor Magee said:
“Many disabled people experience isolation in their lives, and feel the frustration of not being able to do the things they need to or the things they enjoy, because the system lets them down. During this unusual time, we have all had a taste of what that’s like – but will we all remember after the pandemic has passed? That’s the question we ask through this drama. It’s a tough question to confront the audience with, and it’s a very important one.”

The drama was filmed using mobile phones with remote direction via zoom. Although this process was challenging, it also opened up possibilities for the team.

The drama was produced as part of CEDA’s ongoing partnership with Exeter Northcott Theatre and will be premiered online, followed by a live Q&A on Thursday 29 October as part of Unlocktoberfest.

Creative Transitions – Creativity helps wellbeing for vulnerable young people in Torbay

Young carers, young parents, and young disabled people in Torbay are receiving creative packs in the post as part of a project to improve wellbeing.

As part of Creative Transitions, artists are using creativity to benefit vulnerable young people who face challenges as they go into adulthood. The project, which is organised by Torbay Culture, aims to help the young people gain confidence, build resilience and improve their communication skills.

The three groups of young people taking part are facing transition to adulthood in different ways.

Participate Arts  have been working with a group of young carers, sending them regular parcels during lockdown, with all the things they need for a creative project, including a snack to make the experience even more enjoyable. Activities have included creating a mandala, making a matchbox keepsake, clay modelling and writing journals. Meetings happen online, and will continue digitally.

Becci Eriksson from Participate Arts said:
“These young people are caring for relatives who are vulnerable, which often has meant the whole family has been shielding during lockdown. The young carers are more isolated than usual, so the idea behind our project is to send out weekly art packs and then follow up with the participants. Each pack’s task is connected to a Creative Journal they are making, giving them some time out to enjoy something for themselves. It’s an opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings, express themselves creatively and be heard.”

Visual artist Anna Bowland has been meeting online with a group of disabled young people from PHAB. Everyone in the group receives a box of materials to create artwork which they then share and discuss.

Musician Laura Forster is working with a group of young parents from South Devon College. She has created a pack of simple musical instruments for each family and held zoom singing sessions. The group is creating a series of songs which they plan to make into a CD to share. When college starts again, they plan to meet together as a group to continue their activities.

The project is part of Torbay’s Great Place Scheme which helps residents lead healthier, happier lives through creativity. The Scheme is delivered by Torbay Culture which aims to improve the quality of life for people in the Bay through participation in culture, as outlined in Enjoy, Talk, Do, Be, Torbay’s ten year cultural strategy. Creative Transitions builds on the knowledge gathered through a series of ‘test and learn’ projects over the last four years.

Torbay Culture Director Martin Thomas said:
“One of the objectives of Torbay’s ten-year cultural strategy is to harness the health and wellbeing benefits of culture. An increasing amount of academic research shows the beneficial outcomes that culture can provide. With this project, we’re creating the opportunity for groups of vulnerable young people to take part in a creative project focussed on building resilience and supporting the transition into adulthood.

“Each of the projects has responded to the needs and desires of the young people taking part, and we hope that this project will catalyse the creation of ongoing groups, led by the young people, to create safe spaces and sustainable activities.”

The projects run to the end of October; some groups will continue digitally, while others hope to meet in person.

Creative Transitions is a Torbay Culture project delivered in partnership with Public Health Torbay and Imagine This…

Thousand year old riddle inspires interactive artwork

red field contrasting with bright blue sky. Telegraph cables in distance

A thousand-year-old riddle has brought together printmakers, historians, a poet and a filmmaker.

Riddle 57 from The Exeter Book has inspired artwork which has been used to create an online interactive version of the riddle.

Double Elephant Print Workshop invited visual responses to Riddle 57 from The Exeter Book – one of only four surviving manuscripts of Old English poetry and probably the oldest surviving book of English poetry in the world.

Poet Jacob Polley wrote a series of prompts as inspiration for artists whose contributions have come from around the country, and further afield. These visual responses have been used in an animation.

Three experts were invited to translate the riddle, and viewers can now select from a range of possible meanings to create their own modern-day version of Riddle 57. With seven lines, and three different translations, there are 2,187 possible versions of the riddle.

Each translation is an interpretation of the original meaning. This is interesting enough with a regular poem, but with a riddle, possible solutions may be closed off when the translater makes choices about the words to use. The writer of the riddle was playing with words to intentionally misdirect the reader, so each translator has to make decisions about what the original writer wanted to say.

Poet and Professor of Creative Writing, Jacob Polley said:
“These artistic responses to the riddle 57 are new interpretations of a text that’s lasted over a thousand years, showing that the mysteries of the riddles can provoke and inspire extraordinary creativity today.”

Emma Molony, Project Manager, Double Elephant Print Workshop said:
“We’re interested in how the language and imagery from a riddle that’s a thousand years old can resonate today and inspire new work. This has been a really positive project for us to focus on during isolation. It’s been a new challenge for us to pull it together collaboratively online with project partners locked down across the world.”

The interactive animation of Riddle 57 will be online from Thursday 20 August.

The project has been funded by The National Lottery through the Arts Council England Emergency Response Fund and is an Exeter UNESCO City of Literature Associate Project.