About the contributors

Contributors to the 2018 Conference included:

Day 1: Keynote speech and Q&A

Clive Parkinson, Director,  The Manchester Institute for Arts, Health & Social Change and Reader in Arts, Health & Social Justice delivered the Conference Keynote address, exploring the place  of the arts  and artists in a  contemporary health context, taking the city as its starting point.

Plenary 1 – Community engagement: Tactile to virtual

Chaired by John Whall, Digital Participation Curator, Derby QUAD

Rachel Massey, Arts and Wellbeing Engagement Programmer, Yorkshire Sculpture Park reflected on Leap of Faith – a collaborative engagement project that involved women’s centres, artists, therapists, a researcher and a horse-assisted learning practitioner.

Professor Karen Ingham, Interdisciplinary Artist and Honorary Fellow, Swansea University Medical School and Swansea College of Art, University of Wales Trinity St David discussed Virtual Embodiments,  a pilot project that uses creative virtual reality tools to help young people manage  their mental health.

Parallel sessions 1: Where and how we live, work and recover

Delegates chose between:

Gallery and hospital collaborations

  • Amal Khalaf, Projects Curator, Serpentine Gallery
  • Kate Pleydell, Art Projects & Engagement Coordinator, Imperial Health Charity

Kate and Amal led a conversation on the benefits of collaborative residencies between health organisations and galleries

Social prescribing

  • Iona McCann, Outreach Manager, Art in Healthcare
  • Jane Willis, Director, Willis Newson

Iona and Jane considered how the arts fit into the model of social prescribing, with an explanation of the health policy that is driving it forward and how museums and galleries can contribute and collaborate. The session also introduced ROOM FOR ART, a series of visual arts workshops delivered by artists throughout Edinburgh using a social prescribing approach.

Curating hospitable art space

  • Fraser MacDonald, Collections Coordinator, Grampian Hospitals Art Trust

Fraser told us more about their development of arguably the UK’s only bespoke commissioning exhibition space with a healthcare setting, The Suttie Arts Space (winner of the Best Collaborative Arts Project 2017 – Building Better Healthcare). The session engaged with concerns around supporting art practice and audiences within this context.

Dance in hospitals

  • Clare Farmer, Dance Well Project Officer, Akademi
  • Archita Kumar, Dance Well Artist, Akademi

Clare and Archita introduced Dance Well, the health and wellbeing work of Akademi South Asian Dance UK, in community organisations and hospitals. Professional dance artists lead movement and dance workshops based on South Asian dance forms including Kathak, Bharatanatyam, Odissi and Bollywood to help improve physical and mental wellbeing of older adults and people living with dementia. This session included a short discussion of Akademi’s health work followed by a practical workshop led by Archita Kumar.

Performing Medicine

  • Bella Eacott, Research Manager, Performing Medicine
  • Carly Annable-Coop, Programme Manager & Associate Artist, Performing Medicine by Clod Ensemble

Bella and Carly introduced delegates to a series of practical exercises and techniques to help prepare for, respond to, and wind down from busy and stressful schedules; building stamina and resilience.

Creative, Participative Practice in Case Settings for Older People

  • Jon Daffydd-Kid, Artist Mentor, CARTrefu, Age Cymru
  • Angela Rogers, Development Coordinator, Engage Cymru Coordinator

Jon and Angela led an Age Cymru cARTrefu Interactive workshop exploring creative, participative practice in care settings for older people.

Day 2

Parallel Sessions 2: Wellbeing

Delegates chose between:

The expanded field of digestion 

  • Natasha Rosling, Artist

Natasha invited delegates to expand upon the theme of ‘digestion’ both literally and metaphorically — questioning the binary oppositions that have traditionally encompassed the body such as inside and outside; emotional and physical; human and non-human and exploring the role that different food cultures play in shaping our relationship with what is ‘other’ and the links this has with wellbeing. 

Measuring the outcomes of co-produced projects

  • Julie McCarthy, Manager, Great Place, Greater Manchester Combined Authority

Julie considered the challenges of developing useful outcome measures for work that is co-produced by the culture and voluntary sectors – what are the dilemmas we face balancing the truly participative, with tangible and positive outcomes for participants alongside and artistic quality?

Virtual spaces: Whitworth Minecraft

  • Steven Roper, Primary School Coordinator
  • Gemma May Latham, Digital Artist
  • Pete Bottomley, Co-founder and Director, White Paper Games

Steven and Gemma invited us to explore the gallery in the specially commissioned Whitworth Minecraft to open discussions around how this virtual resource could be used in the context of health and wellbeing. Pete discussed Ether One and how we’re able to use games to communicate difficult subject topics.

The B-Positive Choir

  • Verna Davis, B-Positive Choir
  • Zena Taylor, Mentor and Vocal Instructor, B-Positive Choir

Verna and Zena hosted a singing workshop that allowed listeners to experience how singing can help enhance their wellbeing, especially in preparation for the day that lies ahead.

Living artefacts: Exploring healthy ageing in urban areas through dialogical interaction

  • Sarah Lindley, Professor of Geography, University of Manchester
  • Rebecca Taylor, Research Associate, University of Manchester

Sarah and Rebecca introduced The Green Infrastructure and Health and Wellbeing Influences on an ageing population project is a multi-disciplinary and cross university research project under the ‘Valuing Nature Programme’ funded by NERC, AHRC and ESRC. The project creates an exciting opportunity to study healthy ageing in urban areas and specifically focuses on the benefits of caring for green spaces. This breakout session asked if ‘living artefacts’ could be an appropriate definition for objects, items or things that embody how green space is valued by those who take care of it.

The ethics committee

An invited panel took questions from the audience on a broad range of issues related to the ethics of art and health practice. Topics of discussion might include gallery education – impact and responsibility; health inequalities; revisioning collections to reflect changing perspectives on mental health and social progress. Chair: Angela Samata, Freelance Arts and Mental Health Professional Panellists include: Katy Culbard, Programme Manager at Loudspeaker, Nottingham Contemporary, Claire Ford, Artist, Cathy Cross, Schools & Colleges Artist in Residence, Heart of Glass and John Whall, Digital Participation Curator at Derby QUAD

Parallel session 3: Re-education – artists and clinicians

Delegates chose between:

Health services for children and families

  • Katy McCall, Learning Manager, Families, Manchester Art Galleries

Katy examined how galleries and art objectives support the delivery of health services for young children and their families, with reference to innovative work at Manchester Art Gallery in partnership with the Manchester Health Visiting Team, Sure Start and Manchester Metropolitan University.

Dementia and imagination toolkit

  • Clive Parkinson, Director, The Manchester Institute for Arts, Health & Social Change and Reader in Arts, Health & Social Justice
  • Claire Ford, Artist

Clive led a hands-on workshop building on research undertaken as part of the Dementia & Imagination research project. This workshop conjoined theory and practice to explore the critical ingredients to facilitating rich and inspiring visual arts projects with and for people living with dementia.

Gallery and hospital collaborations

  • Amal Khalaf, Projects Curator, Serpentine Gallery
  • Kate Pleydell, Art Projects and Engagement Coordinator, Imperial Health Charity

Kate and Amal led a conversation on the benefits of collaborative residencies between health organisations and galleries. (Repeat session from day one)

Prevention training

  • Angela Samata, Freelance Arts and Mental Health Professional

Would you know what to do if someone said they felt suicidal? The co-author of the internationally acclaimed See Say Signpost training described this innovative approach to suicide prevention and showed us how anyone can have the conversation.

Cultural First Aid kit

  • Lucy Burscough, Artist, The Whitworth

Lucy introduced the Cultural First Aid kit, which provides 30 creative and fun activities and workshops that can be completed in the comfort of your own home, in hospital or care centres and homes. The activities have been created by artists, musicians and therapists for people to carry out themselves or with family and friends. Creativity can be incorporated into the day to day care and rehabilitation pathways of people and everyone should have the opportunity to access creative and meaningful cultural activity throughout their lives.

Cultural First Aid Kit

  • Daisy Strang, Arts for Health Programme Assistant, The Whitworth

Daisy introduced the Cultural First Aid kit, which provides 30 creative and fun activities and workshops that can be completed in the comfort of your own home, in hospital or care centres and homes. The activities have been created by artists, musicians and therapists for people to carry out themselves or with family and friends. Creativity can be incorporated into the day to day care and rehabilitation pathways of people and everyone should have the opportunity to access creative and meaningful cultural activity throughout their lives. (Duplicate session due to high demand).

Keynote 2

Esme Ward, Director, Manchester Museums

Plenary 2: Working together

Chaired by Jane Willis, Director, Willis Newson

Alex Coulter, Director of Arts & Health South West and Chair of the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance reported on The Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance and outline recommendations from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing.

Phil George, Chair, Arts Council of Wales introduced Building Arts and Health Alliances – a Memorandum of Understanding with the Welsh NHS Confederation, the Cross Party Group in the Assembly and impact research relationships with Higher Education.

Rachel Blanche, Lecturer in Cultural Policy and Management, Queen Margaret University Edinburgh looked at embedding quality insights from the participatory arts sector into next-practice for Arts and Health Commissioning.

Zoe Brown, Outreach Officer, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, focused on the practical stuff – delivering what and with who? Setting up referral pathways. Meeting multi partner outcomes, identifying the overlaps.