CHWA 2020 Practising Well Award

Practitioner wellbeing is a recurring concern and priority for us all. Working in collaboration with Nicola Naismith (Artist/Researcher and author of the ‘Artists Practising Well’ Report), this award aims to focus on practice that is leading the way in championing, delivering and embedding practitioner care into project design, commissioning and management.

We invited artists or museum/heritage practitioners to nominate commissioners, employers, peers or organisations who are supporting practitioners and creating conditions that nurture better wellbeing and enable everyone to practice well.

Judges: Nicola Naismith, Damian Hebron (Nesta) and Ruth Sapsed (Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination and Lived Experience Network)

Plymouth Music Zone

" It is extremely helpful and encouraging to know that we are not isolated in our work. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and isolated in the emotional backdrop of what we do. It is also really important that we are ‘fed’ by interesting, motivational and current thinking that supports our work."  

Plymouth Music Zone is a compassionate community music charity that seeks to improve health and wellbeing, reduce social isolation and build a richer sense of self and community by reaching up to 800 people a week via 35 - 50 weekly music activities, special projects and events. It does so in partnership with over 100 education, health and social organisations with a ‘Music Leader Support Hub’ at its heart. Music Making a Difference. 

*Highly Commended*
Music for Life, Wigmore Hall

" The support that I have received as part of the Music for Life team has formed the core of my development as an artist. Not only has it equipped me to work meaningfully with people living with dementia, but it has enabled me to integrate my identity as a musician with being a human being. "

Music for Life is a pioneering programme for people living with dementia and their families, friends and carers, founded by Linda Rose in 1993 and led by Wigmore Hall since 2009.

The programme encompasses a range of projects in care settings, community settings and at Wigmore Hall. Musical improvisation and reflective practice lie at the heart of the work, creating space for genuine creativity, collaboration and learning.

Never Better Project, Gloucestershire Archives, Strike A Light and GUST

"As an arts practitioner I work with many different people in diverse roles. The Never Better project taught me to recognize and value my own wellbeing, and understand how important it is to not be afraid to ask, ' I don't know, but can we can find out together?"

The Never Better Project was a collaborative site specific theatre project inspired by the archives of a mental health asylum. Lead partners included, Gloucestershire Archives, Strike A Light (a Gloucester based theatre company), and GUST (an arts and cultural organisation in Gloucester)

The cast and crew of Never Better were keen to support each other – it was a project about dealing with mental ill health through the ages – and we all have to take care of our mental health. Part of that responsibility is, we felt, being kind to each other, respecting the integrity of what we felt, and what we shared, and having some fun!” 

Britten Pears Arts - MOTs for Musicians Working in Challenging Settings

" Having the opportunity to attend the programme has give me a renewed understanding of myself and in turn had a profound effect on my creativity, my mental health and the work I do. It has changed my life."

Britten Pears Arts is a pioneering music, arts and heritage charity based on the Suffolk coast, including Snape Maltings. 

Supported by Help Musicians UK, Snape Maltings provided MOTs for Musicians Working in Challenging Settings. These 5-day immersive retreats consisting of reflective sessions, creative workshops and other interactive activities are for experienced music leaders working in settings such as care homes, prisons, hospitals, hospices and other community contexts. 

The MOTs for Musicians Working in Challenging Settings received 3 nominations from practitioners who had accessed the programme.


" The support offered by Re-Live has enabled me to feel confident about delivering high quality, safe, creative/expressive sessions for a group of people who often present with highly complex issues. It also encourages me to continue to advocate training, supervision and CPD opportunities in my other freelance work contexts. "

Re-Live is an award-winning charity providing a dynamic, inspirational programme of Life Story Theatre work. 

Re-Live believe that practitioner care plays a vital role in the success of all our Arts in Health and wellbeing work. Supporting the health and wellbeing of our practitioners is as important as supporting our participants.

Re-Live received two nominations from practitioners.

The Artists Practising Well Report

Artists Practising Well (2019)  is a research report by Nicola Naismith, which focuses on the topic of affective support for creative practitioners working in participatory arts in health and wellbeing.

The research was supported by a grant from the the Arts and Humanities Research Council via the Clore Leadership Programme.

The report has been prepared with a wide readership in mind: creative practitioners, arts commissioners, organisational leaders, funders and policy makers.