The Practising Well Conversation Series with Nicola Naismith

Practising Well Conversations & Support Menu logo
Nicola Naismith

Nicola Naismith’s new research Practising Well Conversations and Support Menu published in January 2022 explores the working conditions for creative practitioners. She shares,

"This is a critical time, creative practitioners will be living and processing their own experiences of recent seismic events whilst supporting others through participatory arts offers. A culture change is needed in the participatory arts sector to ensure creative practitioners are consistently supported in the work they do."

In this series of conversations, curated by Nicola and the Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance, we bring together new research and examples from practice alongside an opportunity to meet with peers and explore what it means to practice well.  

These events are free and supported by funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Thursday 10 February, 1- 2.30pm - Practising Well Conversation 1:  Nicola Naismith with Alex Evans (Kazzum Artsbook here

Thursday 24 February, 1- 2.30pm -  Practising Well Conversation 2: Nicola Naismith with Roshmi Lovatt (Integrative Art Therapist & Creative Well Programme), Tracy Breathnach ( How Ya Doing?  Programme Manager, Wales Arts, Health & Wellbeing Network) and Alistair Gentry (Artist and activist) book here

Thursday 10 March, 1- 2.30pm - Practising Well Conversation 3: Nicola Naismith with Daniel Regan (Artist and Arts + Health Hub), Arji Manuelpillai (Artist) and Chris Stenton ( People Dancing) - book here

Practising Well Conversations & Support Menu Report 2022

Building upon the Artists Practising Well report from 2019, The Practising Well: Conversations & Support Menu research project was supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council via Clore Leadership.

Click on the link below to access the full report, summary and slideshow presentation.

Speakers and Collaborators

Nicola Naismith- Practising Well Conversations 1, 2 & 3

Nicola Naismith is a visual artist, researcher, coach, mentor and Higher Education lecturer with over 20 years experience of working in the arts. She explores topics of value, labour, the workplace and wellbeing at work through self-initiated collaborations and by working to commission. Nicola completed a Clore Fellowship in 2018, this was followed in 2019 with her research report Artists Practising Well. The follow on research to this - Practising Well: Conversations & Support Menu - was published in January 2022.

Alex Evans- Practising Well Conversation 1, Thursday 10 February

Alex Evans is an Artist whose practice encompasses drawing, performance and social engagement, working locally, nationally and internationally.

In his current role as the Artistic Director of Kazzum Arts he leads a multidisciplinary team of artists to support children and young people facing adverse childhood experiences within hospitals, schools and refugee settings.

He originally studied Drama at The University of Hull and Theatre at Wimbledon School of Art. He has since gained a qualification as a Child Therapeutic Wellbeing Practitioner with the Institute of Art in Therapy and Education.

Roshmi Lovatt- Practising Well Conversation 2, Thursday 24 February

Roshmi worked in the Arts and Health field before training as an Arts Psychotherapist.  She runs a clinic offering counselling, psychotherapy, arts therapies, supervision and reflective practice.  Her particular interest is to support professionals to work sustainably in jobs which induce burn out, compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma.  This has included work with arts therapists, community artists, teachers, justice service workers, NHS staff and refuge workers.  Roshmi has a trauma informed, relational, embodied, creative and social justice led model of working which validates the whole individual within their context.

Alistair Gentry- Practising Well Conversation 2, Thursday 24 February

Alistair Gentry is a writer, artist, researcher and activist who makes performances, interventions, live role playing games and other creative projects, mainly for audiences outside of conventional theatre or gallery spaces. He is currently artist in residence at Watershed’s Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol.

 He is also a researcher and activist drawing attention to the precarity of creative people’s livelihoods and the resulting physical and mental health issues. He has worked on UK-wide projects including a-n’s Paying Artists Campaign, UK Disability Arts Alliance’s #WeShallNotBeRemoved campaign for inclusive renewal of the arts for disabled, deaf and neurodivergent people, and lead on national disabled artists’ funder Unlimited’s support for artists on low incomes, state disability benefits, and/or precarious employment.

Dr Tracy Breathnach- Practising Well Conversation 2, Thursday 24 February

Dr Tracy Breathnach works with Wales Arts, Health and Wellbeing Network as the Programme Manager of the Wales-wide artists’ wellbeing programme How Ya Doing? Sut Mae’n Mynd? Having worked extensively across arts and community settings for over 20 years, Tracy is also a somatic performance artist and coach, researcher and writer. Tracy’s practice as research PhD (2018) explored identity, narrative and trauma in autobiographical storytelling.

Daniel Regan- Practising Well Conversation 3, Thursday 10 March

Daniel Regan is a photographic artist exploring complex emotional experiences, focusing on the transformational impact of arts on mental health, building on his own lived experience. He shoots commissions and personal works, delivers socially engaged projects and provides consultancy in arts & health. Daniel is Founder and Executive Director of the Arts & Health Hub, a non-profit organisation supporting artists that work in the arts and health sector. His particular interest and focus is on practitioner support for artists with lived experience of mental health difficulties. Previously Daniel worked as the Director of an arts and health charity in the NHS.

Chris Stenton- Practising Well Conversation 3, Thursday 10 March

Chris Stenton is Executive Director of People Dancing, the development organisation and membership body for community and participatory dance. He leads on strategy, development, and partnerships for People Dancing and brings 30 years' experience of working with dancers, teaching artists, community practitioners, and arts organisations to this role.

Chris led the UK-wide programme for Big Dance 2012, part of the London 2012 Festival and is a regular contributor to publications and events in the UK and internationally. He has served on various Boards, including East London Dance and Creative Lives and is currently Chair of Dancefest, the community dance organisation for Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

Arji Manuelpilla- Practising Well Conversation 3, Thursday 10 March

Arji Manuelpillai is a poet, performer and creative facilitator with over 15 years experience of working with some of the country's most vulnerable children, young people and adults. Arji’s trauma informed approach has led to him working with people from all backgrounds in everywhere from prisons to schools and colleges. Over the last ten years Arji has specialised in facilitating workshops with refugee and asylum seeker groups. This has led to him working internationally in refugee camps, immigration removal centres as well as within schools and youth clubs raising awareness about the challenges facing migrants into the UK. Arji pioneered the podcast series ‘Working with Migrant’s’ funded by the Finnish Institute looking at good practice across the world.

Arji works with a trauma enforced approach drawing on extensive training and research, working in a multi-disciplinary style to use his expertise and knowledge in poetry, storytelling, music production, visual art and drama. He believes wholeheartedly in the power of art to bring positive change in society.