Learning from experience

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'Connection I' (detail) by Norie Hatakeyama. Part of the Paintings in Hospitals collection. © the artist
'Connection I' (detail) by Norie Hatakeyama. Part of the Paintings in Hospitals collection. © the artist

The LENS group is a critical friend to the Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance. It is a collective of people who have experienced the value of creativity and culture in tackling complexities in their own health and wellbeing. We have spoken to some of the LENS' members and share their responses and thoughts about covid-19 below.

An interview with Gilly Angell

Gilly is a founding member of the LENS, responsible for much of the early work to bring the group together. Here she discusses her own long experience of isolation in response to her own health issues, and what she has learnt from the experience. …if you’ve self-isolated over years as I’ve done, you do slow down to a very, very different pace. This page has both a recording of Gilly, with some original music and a written interview.

Tony Fisher

Tony Fisher is a photographer based in rural Derbyshire. He has started a madcovid diary, sharing images and thoughts. When the lockdown came in I was already working on a three-year project on loneliness and isolation funded by Arts Council England, so some of the work I’m doing now will be added for exhibitions when this is over, though isolation/loneliness in its broadest sense will not end.

Mah Rana

'Creating well-making spaces builds our resilience, disperses anxiety and helps us to find ways of coping with in unexpected situations such as the Coronavirus lockdown.'

Mah is a researcher, artist & maker, filmmaker, writer and curator.  Alongside being a LENS champions for London, she is also an ambassador for Dementia Carers Count and a member of the Stitching Together network (to name a few). In this blog, Mah reflects on her own experiences as a carer and how the ritual of creating well-making spaces and crafting together signals the focus towards a mindful connection to the moment, each other and ourselves.

Shanali Perera

Shanali is a digital artist based in Manchester. She uses colour as a method to capture and portray energies surrounding pain, fatigue and her everyday, living with illness in an attempt to objectify the subjective. Isolation is subjective. Given the surrounding gloom during this scary unsettling time, Shanali started a twitter discussion, #MakeIsolationBright, inviting people to give a colour and shape to isolation and share photos/artwork/thoughts around this, creating to connect and to keep humour alive.