CHWA 2021 Awards Shortlist: Collective Power

Together we are stronger.  

In collaboration with the Ideas Alliance and The LENs this award aims to recognise an inspiring project, consortium, collective or movement of people in which meaningful partnership and co-production has improved the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities through culture and creativity. 

Boats on an Ocean

This project was a unique collaboration between researchers from Coventry University, producers at China Plate Theatre and a group of artists to create the audio artwork ‘Boats on an Ocean’, funded by ‘Coventry Creates’ (Coventry/ Warwick University). The artwork is a representation of the stories, experiences and emotions shared by healthcare workers (HCWs) from across the UK, gathered during an online creative workshop in June 2020 amid the Covid-19 first wave.  

Through the process of sharing stories and hearing them aloud within the artwork, power was devolved to HCW participants: HCWs explained that the project helped them to feel that their voices were being heard and that the artwork was a way for the public to relate to their experiences. Researchers, artists and HCWs learned from one another and developed a sense of commonality - although we are in ‘different boats’, we are all on the same ocean.

" We are delighted to be nominated for the Collective Power award. In particular at this unprecedented time for healthcare workers, we feel the arts are a way for the general public to relate to their stories and experiences. This nomination provides recognition of the importance of supporting healthcare workers as we enter the second phase of the project, working towards evidencing this arts-based intervention." 

Breathe Arts Health Research: NHS Staff Wellbeing Programme

Breathe Arts Health Research (Breathe) design and deliver creative programmes, underpinned by scientific research, to improve health and wellbeing. Our work is co-produced with healthcare staff, patients, artists and scientists to meet specific clinical and health needs.   

We’re proud to have supported NHS staff health and wellbeing since our inception in 2012 and with the support of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, 2020 has been no exception. In the face of COVID-19 Breathe immediately transformed our existing NHS Staff Wellbeing offering to an online programme, ensuring improved accessibility. In consultation with NHS staff, Breathe developed a selection of new programmes to meet specific needs that had arisen in response to the pandemic. The success of our approach is demonstrated in an external evaluation, 88% of participants reported a positive impact on wellbeing during COVID-19 and 97% would recommend Breathe’s activities. We believe this represents collective power; we’re stronger together.

‘The team at Breathe Arts Health Research, are delighted to be shortlisted for this award. This is recognition not just for us, but most importantly for the fantastic NHS Staff at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS who’ve been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic. By accessing our programmes staff have prioritised their own self-care, vital for continued health and wellbeing. Together we have co-created a wide range of exceptional creative programmes specifically designed to improve health – more crucial now than ever.’ - 

Yvonne Farquharson, Founder and Managing Director, Breathe Arts Health Research 

Dance On, Yorkshire Dance

Yorkshire Dance is a charity which champions the value of dance and its development in Yorkshire. We create opportunities for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to see, make and take part in high quality dance.

We work with dance makers who’d like to change the world, however big or small. We’re passionate about supporting artists who ask questions of themselves, their work and of the world.

It’s important to us to share the power of decision making with others. We support people to develop dance leadership in a number of ways; curating spaces, programmes of work, driving artistic projects, running courses or businesses. We work with communities to empower, shape and deliver dance programmes in their spaces, on their streets and with community partners who know them best. We place collaboration in every aspect of our work, recognising that our best work happens when we share power.

“Being nominated for Collective Power for the Dance On programme, is a huge moment for us, our partners and our participants and we take great pride in sharing this success with them. After an exhausting and demanding year in which our partnership have worked tirelessly to keep older people connected and active, this nomination exemplifies the approach and ethos that lies at the heart of our programme.”

Joy of Sound-Ever New Stories

If... we get it right for disabled people, we can get it right for everyone. Irrespective of gender, ethnicity, age or perceived sagacity... (Mark Jeffrey)

JOS works with people of all abilities as co-creators of effective, popular therapeutic arts and music activities of personal, social and aesthetic significance towards an equitable society of mutual interests and respect.

By regarding every person as a Rosetta Stone, we can learn about ourselves whilst learning about each other. Through our collective creative imagination we can build safe and healthy communities with mutual responsibility, as safe and secure home, and as legacy to future generations.

Through self cultivation we can learn to respect and nourish each other whilst nurturing society's wellbeing and enhancing global culture.

Increased inclusive social awareness encourages the appreciation of human difference, and of natures immense diversity as a sustainable community garden of shared resource, potential and delight.

" Joy of Sound (JOS) is a very small volunteer led organisation, working on a shoestring to deliver much needed creative wellbeing respite to some of our society's most vulnerable people.

We have survived heartily and have actually increased our front-line service delivery by rapid uptake of new technology during the covid 19 pandemic.

This nomination comes as a welcome and moving acknowledgement for ALL JOS participants, volunteers, support givers and associates; for our shared achievements and ongoing work. Such recognition is a flutter of spring blossom in the wake of a long and testing covid winter."

Maternal Journal

Maternal Journal is a peer-led movement with over 60 groups worldwide, and a thriving online community who regularly share their work together on social media.

Maternal Journal helps people process the major changes they might be experiencing in pregnancy, birth and beyond by connecting through their creativity and shared maternal and caring experiences.  By capturing meaningful thoughts and experiences in their journal people find a positive way to process challenging and as well as joyful moments.

Maternal Journal is anchored in journaling as a radical feminist practice, highlighting the history and collective power of women’s diaries and journaling and ‘making circles’ from the past.

Taking part in a journaling group is an empowering experience. People tell us they feel seen, heard and validated. New parenthood can be isolating and with the added impact of a global pandemic Maternal Journal can be a positive factor in addressing maternal mental health and wellbeing.

" We are delighted to be shortlisted for the Collective Power Award!

Maternal Journal is a community peer-led movement. This recognition honours all the workshop leaders who have been supporting mothers and people who birth, particularly during the pandemic, as well as all the incredible people who take part, sharing their experiences and creating wonderful work in their journals."

Misery Meets

Misery is a peer-led collective, created to support the mental health and collective care of our community; queer, transgender & intersex Black & people of colour (QTIBPOC). 

Misery draws its strength from creativity, community wisdom/lived experience, and collective power and creates spaces to provide the community with the resources, support, and joy that it deserves. 

We champion practices of community care, accessibility, and ancestral modes of healing and are known for hosting sober parties, workshops, performances, healing circles, skill & resource-sharing, and other events centered around harm reduction and therapeutic practices. 

Quickly responding to the pandemic, we collaborated with other QTIBPOC mental health practitioners and artists and delivered Misery Meets, a monthly online healing circle followed by a creative workshop designed to support the mental health of QTIBPOC. 

Since 2019 we have held 21 free arts and wellbeing events, supporting over 1200 individual members of our community.

" It's an honour to be nominated for the CHWA Collective Power Award, amongst so many other brilliant projects and collectives that continue to inspire us. If anything, last year has demonstrated the importance of community and the need for us to work together if we want to survive future pandemics and the climate crisis. Creating spaces of collective care will continue to be increasingly important, and it feels amazing to be recognised for our hard work. Thank you! " 

Outside Edge Theatre Company

Using drama as a creative outlet, Outside Edge Theatre Company's strength-based approach helps people affected by addiction to build the skills required to lead productive, healthy lives with 97% of participants reporting that we supported their recovery.

During lockdown our participants experienced acute loneliness, boredom and depression, which are triggers for relapse, so we were pleased to see a 40% increase in attendance since moving activities online. Over the past year we have brought people and organisations together to cooperate to achieve the shared goal of improving health and wellbeing in our local Recovery Community through the arts. We have co-produced new activities to address the urgent needs of the people we support, we have partnered with new artists and organisations with lived experience of addiction and we have worked with our existing partners to maintain a safe working environment for our staff and participants. 

To allow us to build our capacity, we have strengthened our volunteering offer so that existing participants have more opportunities to contribute to our creative work and support their peers. This led to the co-design of a new Peer-led Check-in group, which is run by volunteers who were recognised by the Mayor of London with a Volunteering Award for their outstanding achievement throughout the pandemic.

" We are honoured that Outside Edge Theatre Company’s work has been recognised by the Culture Health and Wellbeing Alliance with a nomination for the Collective Power Award.

We are grateful to share this nomination with the incredible arts, health and wellbeing organisations we partnered with over the past year that helped us grow a nation-wide creative Recovery Community which is not limited by geography or art form."