Blog

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logo for Dawn Chorus
Creative Aging International (CAI) was started with the ideas of “making with” and “making for” at its core.
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‘Dads and Sons’ performing at ZoieLogic Dance Theatre’s Headfunk 2019 Photo credit: Matt Pear
‘Dads and Sons’ performing at ZoieLogic Dance Theatre’s Headfunk 2019 Photo credit: Matt Pear
A conversation between Victoria Hume (Director, CHWA) and Liz Ellis (Policy Project Manager, National Lottery Heritage Fund) Victoria: This year in a beautiful piece of synergy, Creativity and Wellbeing Week, theme Positive Futures, runs alongside Mental Health Awareness Week, theme Kindness.
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picture of a young person's hand, drawing a detailed picture of a cat
42nd Street
The Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance is gathering evidence of the sector's response to covid. This is an ongoing process (this page was last updated 29 May 2020).
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Manchester Museums- Spoons
Manchester Museums
Kids in Museums is a charity funded by Arts Council England as a Sector Support Organisation for the museum sector.
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Our Day Out, Creative Arts East- participants dancing
Our Day Out, Creative Arts East
In 2017, CAE received Spirit of 2012 funding to deliver Our Day Out, a unique dementia-friendly creative arts initiative for rurally-isolated older people. The initial three-year programme (2017-19) provided opportunities for people to engage creatively through fortnightly dementia-friendly, inclusive and interactive music and movement workshops in rural communities across Breckland and North Norfolk.
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Two people dancing in a care home
Live Music Now: A Choir in Every Care Home
At Live Music Now, our work at hundreds of care homes, hospitals and special schools stopped immediately because of the necessary and vital separation.
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Logo for Creativity & Wellbeing Week
Creativity & Wellbeing Week (18-24 May 2020) is giving us a snapshot of amazing work happening across the country. Working to our festival theme of Positive Futures, some of our contributors have organised digital events, and many others have told us about their work and organisations.
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Embroidery by Geraldine Montgomerie - featuring the words "we can't go back to where we were"
Geraldine Montgomerie
by Geraldine Montgomerie, Project Support Officer | Leeds Arts, Health and Wellbeing Network  
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photograph of a sign in a woodland. The sign says "Find the smallest movement". (Signs of Life by Rachel Howfield Massey. Photo by Pete Massey)
Signs of Life by Rachel Howfield Massey. Photo credit: Pete Massey
Health inequalities due to social determinants have all too often been neglected by policy makers and now inevitably the most vulnerable are the worst hit by social isolation and its consequences. No-one is claiming that connection to nature can compensate for this serious, structural inequality, but it may help ameliorate some symptoms of anxiety, loneliness and stress.
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 High Peak Community Arts’ Project eARTh; participants working with artist Caro Inglis
High Peak Community Arts’ Project eARTh; participants working with artist Caro Inglis
Suddenly, it seems that all art is about health. Cultural organisations and creative practitioners everywhere in the world have been responding to covid-19 with the huge variety of perspectives that you might expect. Some responses are critical, some are there to promote health guidance, some take a longer view of how the virus reveals about humanity...
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Close up of Mum's hand- embroidering
Mah Rana
' I enjoy creating a well-making space in my mother’s home where both my mother and I can breathe, de-stress, and attend to self-care through acts of creativity.' A reflective blog from artist/researcher and carer Mah Rana exploring the power of creating well-making spaces in unsettling times.
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picture of a young person's hand, drawing a detailed picture of a cat
42nd Street
Conversation between Hayley Youell and Julie McCarthy, Great Place Manager for Greater Manchester Combined Authority, 16 April 2020  
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a cartoon of facilities manager Jackie Marriot as the superhero 'domestic goddess'
Matt Roberts for Air Arts
All of our staff are working really hard at the moment and need to feel our immense gratitude for what they do. So many people are going above and beyond and we wanted to celebrate those people who were inspiring others and being such a positive force so we decided to turn them into super heroes.
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Scroll containing a perpetual calendar with illuminated sections. Ruzname-i dairevi - astronomical tables for both the Arebi (Islamic) and Rumi (Julian) calendars providing chronological accounts of seasonal change, entry of the sun into signs of the zodiac, times of summer and sunset.
MS Ottoman Turkish 3. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
…if you’ve self-isolated over years as I’ve done, you do slow down to a very, very different pace. The following is an interview with Gilly Angell, a founding member of the LENS group, from 31 March 2020  
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Equal Arts Carers’ Cultural Adventures’ Group flying their handmade Korean flags Photographer Dani Giddins
Equal Arts Carers’ Cultural Adventures’ Group flying their handmade Korean flags. Photographer Dani Giddins
All of us are still thinking through the implications of this immense international crisis. In the spirit of offering up questions and sharing what is currently influencing our thinking, we're sharing here a few blogs and articles, and works of art, from people who have been taking a step back and reflecting on the experience and implications of covid-19.
While great strides have been taken in research into participant experiences of Arts in Health, there has so far been very little exploration of practitioners’ perspectives (Naismith, 2019). This study will investigate the experiences of Arts in Health practitioners/ artists working in health, social care and participatory settings.
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Participants at the Winter School, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums
Participants at the Winter School, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (c) Bart de Nil
From Monday January 27 until Friday January 31 2020 professionals from Belgium, Canada, Israel, Hong Kong, Italy, United Kingdom, The Netherlands and Canada gathered at Great Museum North: Hancock in Newcastle for a unique training week on the deployment of cultural heritage for outreach activities with a focus on wellbeing. It was very intense and busy, but I am trying to summarize this week in a nutshell.
As many of you will have seen, Arts Council England has published its new strategy: Let's Create. Like the National Lottery Heritage Fund's strategic funding framework (published last year) it is full of references to health and wellbeing. This has not come from nowhere. The Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance would like to acknowledge the hard work of all our members and partners, and everyone else who took part in the ACE consultation process, whether they went to meetings or responded online, and made the case for considering health and wellbeing, as well as supporting the broader shift towards inclusive, participatory creative and cultural practice. All this has led to what Nicholas Serota refers to in his introduction as "the dissolving of barriers between artists and the audiences with whom they interact".
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Hear and Now 2019 in Bedford, co-produced by Orchestras Live and the Philharmonia Orchestra © Beth Walsh
There is now substantial research and evidence, which shows that taking part in performing arts activity brings benefits for older people living longer. TV programmes such as the BBC’s Our Dementia Choir illustrate beautifully the power music can have in reducing the impact of symptoms such as depression and agitation, and in turn the isolation that those living with dementia feel. These improvements in quality of life can often be greater than any symptom control provided by drugs, which are hugely expensive to the NHS over the lifespan of an individual’s illness.
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"D-iagnosis", an image of two faces representing anguish after a dementia diagnosis, and the potential for engaging with the arts to create a more positive state of mind
“D-IAGNOSIS! Arts to Preserve Wellbeing” has been commissioned from artist Jane Frere by Arts 4 Dementia.
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a young man and an older woman laughing together
Live Music Now: LIBOR concerts 2017-18
by Alan Dix, Artistic Director 509 Arts This was originally a talk given by Alan at the Creative Arts and Dementia Conference, MAC Birmingham, on 24 September 2019. The featured image above is from Live Music Now's LIBOR concerts.
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Lucy Suggate's swarm sculptures (sculptures made of people) for Yorkshire Dance, photo by Andy Wood
Yorkshire Dance: Lucy Suggate's Swarm Sculptures at Juncture 2016 ©AndyWood
For the last 18 months I have had the pleasure of working with the World Health Organisation on their developing agenda around arts and health. This month, we have released the largest evidence report ever published on arts and health.
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Hold Exhibition at FACT Liverpool, by Invisible Flock, images Ed Waring
Hold Exhibition at FACT Liverpool, by Invisible Flock, images Ed Waring
"This is why we use technology and are constantly drawn back to it, by thinking of it in a malleable way, like a medium, it allows us to uncover new aesthetics and new ways to approach conversations and real world interactions."
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People taking part in the Spaces Between Walk (Creative Recovery) with Barnsley Town Hall in the background
Spaces Between Walk (Creative Recovery); photo by Charlotte Armitage
A few things you need to know about Barnsley… We are a town born of industrious makers, grafters, rebels, campaigners and creatives. 
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Millions of people in the UK can have significant difficulty in accessing museums and other cultural venues
Morgan Salisbury, Meltdown Tracker
A blog by Morgan Salisbury You’re walking round a museum, and the noise in the entrance area echoes and makes you feel like you’re in a swimming pool of random noises, pain jutting at your ears. You turn your collar up and think about getting out the ear defenders buried at the bottom of your rucksack, then realise there’s no room to put your bag down to rummage.
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Brightly coloured sculpture - Land Sea Light Koan by Liliane Lijn
Land Sea Light Koan by Liliane Lijn
I write this short reflective piece as I retire from my role as manager of Healing Arts for the Isle of Wight NHS Trust at the end of August 2019, having arrived to work with the then Isle of Wight Health Authority in June 1986.
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photograph by Trish Thompson of the audience laughing at a Creative Arts East touring event during Creativity & Wellbeing Week 2019
Audience at Creative Arts East touring event. Photo: Trish Thompson
‘There is growing evidence that engagement in activities like dance, music, drama, painting and reading help ease our minds and heal our bodies. It is most encouraging to see just how much potential and ambition there is for joined up action on this vital work in Norfolk.’ Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England.
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A photograph of two people as part of a Singing in Care Homes project by Live Music Now and Creative Inspiration Shropshire Community Interest Company
Singing in Care Homes; Live Music Now and Creative Inspiration Shropshire Community Interest Company
We like big numbers here at BBC Music Day HQ. 14 million on radio. 13 million on TV. 1000 live music events across the UK. 100 external partners. 100 BBC production teams across TV, radio and digital. And we want to build on that this year – with your help.
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Tin Arts performing at Cultures of Health & Wellbeing national conference
Tin Arts performing at Cultures of Health & Wellbeing (21-22 March 2019, Greant North Museum: Hancock)
I have been thinking about cooperation a lot lately. The Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance is a small organisation in terms of resource – but in terms of partnership and collaboration its reach is enormous. Over 3,000 people have now signed up as members, along with almost 70 partner organisations.
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Messages left on the grass wall in 'Nature Calls' - the finale exhibition of Paintings in Hospitals 'Art in Large Doses' project - Photo by Glenn Michael Harper
Messages left on the grass wall in 'Nature Calls' - the finale exhibition of Paintings in Hospitals 'Art in Large Doses' project - Photo by Glenn Michael Harper
The Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance is a national organisation representing everyone who believes that cultural engagement and participation can transform our health and wellbeing. We are developing a new statement of values and would like your help to answer the following questions:
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Lucy Suggate's swarm sculptures (sculptures made of people) for Yorkshire Dance, photo by Andy Wood
Yorkshire Dance: Lucy Suggate's Swarm Sculptures at Juncture 2016 ©AndyWood
Matt Hancock’s speech on 6 November – ‘The power of the arts and social activities to improve the nation’s health’ – is enormously significant.
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A brightly coloured Sand Mandala
Victoria Hume
The UN has told us that we have 12 years to sort out climate change. This is the largest health and wellbeing – and indeed cultural – challenge we face.