Day in the Life: Angela Awuah

“I saw no platform for young people with direct and indirect experience for mental illness, so I created one.”

EBP - Angela Awuah

What have you been doing today?

Today, I’ve been preparing for my pilot programme starting next month. It is a 6-week programme for 12 young carers in the Borough of Lambeth, which includes cognitive behavioural therapy, life coaching, nutritional education and creative art workshops. I’ve had to make a few phone calls, had a meeting and sent emails to potential collaborators.

Is that a typical day for you?

A typical day for me would be waking up between 6:30 and 6:45 to pray and read my bible, and then I check my phone for any emails and my social media. Then I have a shower, brush my teeth and have breakfast. I then send a few emails and create some content for social media. My day normally consists of working on my social enterprise, so at the moment I’m doing a lot of legal paperwork and finding ways of building my Mental Health The Arts programme, as well as preparing for The Arts Programme, which I’m piloting next month.

When did you start working with culture, health and wellbeing, and how?

I started working in culture, health and wellbeing officially in 2016 when I launched my now social enterprise Mental Health The Arts. I have been a carer for almost 10 years now and found dance was a way of expressing some of my darkest emotions. Being a carer for a family member with paranoid schizophrenia, I quickly realised that there is not enough support given to carers in university. I became the Nearest Relative and had to make key decisions for the family member I was caring for. So since I had used dance to help me communicate my feelings and create coping mechanisms, I thought that there were many other young people who have gifts and talents but do not know how to cultivate creative coping mechanisms. So I initially created a platform through doing events, workshops, being a community partner for the National Citizen Service, working with 15-17 year olds, and doing speaking engagements. I saw no platform for young people with direct and indirect experience for mental illness, so I created one.

What was the last project you came across that inspired you?

Mmm the last project that inspired me was Challenge 59, which is a dance project for children run by Joanna Rhodes. I’m honestly so inspired by Joanna’s work and the impact she has on the children she works with. She also helps the children create films and hosts a premiere for them. I’ve loved dance since I was a young girl, so seeing Joanna use dance to improve children’s wellbeing is phenomenal.

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Day in the Life: Tim Osborn

What have you been doing today?

Started my day finishing paperwork and updating sound clips for a group we ran yesterday afternoon – Melodies for Mums. It’s a research based 10-week singing group (based in London Borough of Southwark) aimed at women primarily with PND, stress, anxiety. The results from the research show that group singing can be really beneficial for this group. We run 2 groups of up to 14 participants. I then updated attendance records for Trust Harmonix – the community staff choir that Breathe AHR delivers into Guys & St Thomas’ NHS Trust. We meet every Monday evening and have around 30 singers. We are preparing for a performance at the end of March.

Then went to Guy’s hospital to support our amazing team of volunteers who were organising our weekly public lunchtime performance programme and spent time chatting with a couple of nurses, telling them about the performing programme we have, chatted to a coup[le of colleagues and delightful but world weary 92 year old lady who has been in hospital for over 3 months and had been brought along to the concert by an HCA and then (randomly) I sorted a problem with a broken store room door. Soup happened at some point during this time!

A team meeting followed and then came back to our office. Made a swift call to the lunchtime performer (a lovely jazz singer who features regularly in our programme) to check she was okay as one of the patients had briefly interrupted the end of her performance and although she is experienced with these type of  minor incidents, it’s always good to check in with artists when they crop up.

Finished the day with emails.

Is that a typical day for you?

Yes, or variations of.

When did you start working with culture, health and wellbeing, and how?

I’ve been with Breathe Arts Health Research for about 6 years, having moved from the NHS (the same Trust we deliver into in fact) and it’s great to be able use my experience from the inside to help shape what we do now. A good friend who had worked as an OT on the Breathe Magic programme many years ago told me they were recruiting.

What was the last project you came across that inspired you?

So many – there are some great programmes and inspiring pieces out there. Something that resonated with me personally is Vamos Theatre’s piece Finding Joy – a brilliantly executed masked performance that portrays the experience of dementia. It can be an amazing learning experience from so many perspectives.

Responses to ACE strategic framework published

Responses to Arts Council England’s strategic proposals for 2020-2030 have been published by the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance, the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance, and the All Party Parliamentary Group for Arts, Health and Wellbeing.

A number of the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance’s partners are also signatories on its response.

Overall the responses are supportive of ACE’s move towards more inclusive, socially-engaged practice across the cultural sector, and suggest areas where the framework could move more effectively towards these goals.

Responses:

Please find the full responses linked below:

APPG submission to ACE consultation

CHWA final response to ACE Strategy Consultation

National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance

Arts Council England Strategic Framework documents:

The strategic framework documents can be found here: ACE Strategy Consultation Framework_Autumn2018 Consultation and here: Shaping the next ten years_consultation_online_oct2018.

 

Update on the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing for the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance – January 2019

Alex Coulter, Director of Arts & Health South West, continues to provide the secretariat and project management for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing (APPG), on behalf of the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance.

Since the publication of the Creative Health report in July 2017, the APPG has pursued strategies to encourage the implementation of the ten recommendations, including six dissemination events around the country, in partnership with the regional leads for the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance. A further two events are being planned for April and May in the east and south east regions.

The APPG has held a further series of round tables in parliament to discuss the recommendations. You can find out more about the APPG’s activity during 2017/18 in the annual report: http://bit.ly/APPGAHWannualreport

The annual report includes information on the working group who continue to support the APPG in its ongoing work on Recommendation 1, for a national strategic centre. The King’s Fund conducted a feasibility study and consulted with a large number of stakeholders around the country.

Recommendation 2

The APPG was very pleased that the Secretary of State for Health quoted the Creative Health report’s key messages in his speech at the King’s Fund Social Prescribing conference in November: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/the-power-of-the-arts-and-social-…. Jeremy Wright spoke about health and wellbeing in his recent speech in Coventry: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/jeremy-wrights-value-of-culture-s… and said: “My department is working closely with the Department of Health and Social Care, and NHS England, to support greater use of social prescribing, in particular to address loneliness and help people with their mental health.”

Recommendations 3 & 4

A number of NHS trusts, Local Authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups have identified arts and health champions. The APPG is hosting a meeting with them to discuss network support. The APPG contributed to an event organised by NHS Providers and promoted the idea of champions with the trusts represented there.

Recent round tables

The APPG held a round table on Everyday Creativity with Dr Daisy Fancourt and BBC Get Creative, Voluntary Arts and 64 Million Artists. We also heard from NHS Digital and received a submission from Public Health England about the process for public health campaigns.

In the Health Secretary’s speech he spoke about the potential to grow the role of libraries in social prescribing, as well as the importance of the arts and mental health and of music to support people with dementia. The APPG’s spring programme responds to these priority areas and there was a round table on Libraries and Health on the 21st January, with contributions from CILIP, Libraries Connected, ACE lead for Libraries, Public Health England and the Care Quality Commission amongst others. Future round tables are planned on young people’s mental health and the arts, and on music and dementia.

A Day in the Life: Hayley Youell

What have you been doing today?

Today was a day of all sorts; as a freelancer, I am often juggling lots of different tasks. I responded to emails regards for planning for all projects next year, proof-read and sent off a funding application, did year end finances for the charity I co-founded and then headed out to the local bus station with the Street Piano and the Uplift Choir and We Can Survive Singers for a festive sing-along. We then returned for a gathering at Creative Recovery HQ, before closing up shop for the year.

 

Is that a typical day for you?

Every day is a mix of roles, but perhaps not every as jam-packed.

 

When did you start working with culture, health and wellbeing, and how?

I started working within the field back in 2008, but it has always been central to thinking as a creative, linking with my innate curiosity about how the arts and culture, particularly music and singing, can transform peoples’ health and lives. This curiosity became more pronounced when I experienced my own struggle with mental health issues during my final year at University and early 20s. One day whilst serving coffee and enthusing to a customer about my experiences of the power of singing and findings from my own self-directed research, I caught the ear of a local mental health commissioner. From this encounter, I was invited to lead a workshop for World Mental Health Day in Barnsley, and as they say, the rest is history.

 

What was the last project you came across that inspired you?

Watching musician, Amy Rose Atkinson (of Access the Arts) working with members from the Barnsley Deaf Forum for the ‘This is My Home’, heritage lottery funded Hear My Voice project [at Barnsley Museums]. Many participants experienced their first exposure to music and witnessed a performance of a song for the first time, through vibrations and Amy’s unique performance style blending BSL and creative expression. They then went on to create their own artworks, using mediums they had previously thought they couldn’t, wouldn’t be able to access.

STREET PIANO XMAS.jpeg

70 Stories: Drawing for Wellbeing

©kate-smith-2018-postcard-painting-1
A Watercolour painting, ‘Celebrating Psychosis’

Kate Smith is an award-winning children’s illustrator/designer and a workshop leader, who has a diagnosis of  ‘Acute and transient Psychotic Disorder’ which was triggered by stress and anxiety in 2005.  Kate was encouraged to make Christmas cards by an Occupational Therapist from the Early Intervention Service in Derbyshire as a coping strategy.  This initial step also instigated a new way forward for Kate.

I gradually got more confident to sell cards at local craft fairs and design new ranges for seasonal occasions. Then I decided to do a free ‘ focussing on creativity course’, and I got a grant to start my own business. During the course I met a jewellery maker who introduced me to a creative director and I started up my own company. I’m now represented by an illustration company and have done freelance work for Moonpig, Igloo Books and Marks and Spencers.

During all this time, since 2005, I have suffered from four psychotic relapses and a few minor episodes. I have been lucky enough to be looked after by my husband and family. During these episodes, I forget how to eat and lose all track of time but I’m highly creative. I get obsessive in mark marking on paper, my senses are heightened, colour and sound become brighter and intense. I draw and record every moment with photography and in a doodle diary.

For me, drawing and creating is a release process.

In November 2012, Kate joined the ‘All Being Well’ Art group and later became the lead artist and facilitated creative workshops at the Hope and Resilience Hub based in the Inpatient Radbourne Unit in Derby.  Kate’s contributions were recognised by the Trust as she was awarded the Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust Volunteer of the Year Award in 2015.  This passion and commitment to engage others in using creativity is now central to Kate’s workAlongside her professional illustration/design practice,  Kate now leads and develops activities as a freelance artist to support and inspire others to use drawing and creativity for wellbeing in Derbyshire.  She is also an active Mental Health Ambassador, raising awareness of Mental Health challenges and works to reduce stigma. Kate has appeared on BBC East Midlands Today and BBC Radio Derby and has been mentioned on BBC Radio 2talking about her experiences, creative story, community work and artwork using the ‘Arts as Therapy.’

I really enjoy helping and being with people that have suffered similar problems like me, and I want to do more of this type of work. I get so much from helping others and I want to pass on what I have learnt through having this mental health condition to others. And I want to give something back as a thank you as I’ve been overwhelmed by the support the NHS have given me.

Click here to read more of Kate’s creative story co-produced with Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust  Recovery Stories Series 2016, which documents the significance of creativity in the process of her recovery.

Follow Kate’s blog Drawing for Wellbeing to read about her projects and to keep updated about her practice.

©Kate Smith 2019

70 Stories for 70 Years

These stories represent personal experiences of the impact of creativity, culture and the arts on health and wellbeing. They have been collected by the Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance (CHWA) to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the NHS in 2018.

If you have a story you would like to share, please do get in contact at info@culturehealthandwellbeing.org.uk.

We are publishing these stories as a collection on the new CHWA website, and will be promoting them using social media from the end of 2018 leading up to the first CHWA Annual Conference in March 2019.

70 Stories: Sensing Culture

Sensing Culture wk 3 The Beaney Wendy Daws - 18
Photo Credit: Wendy Daws

Sensing Culture

This story shares how The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge are working together with partners and their local visually impaired community to enable more meaningful access to creative and cultural experiences to boost wellbeing, raise awareness and create a more inclusive space.

” Being able to feel around the exhibit and get ideas from touch – this made a big difference for me.  Because you can’t see you do need to feel it and it’s surprising how much you remember from feeling it.”

Sensing Culture Participant

The free Sensing Culture creative group for adults with sight loss meets monthly at the Beaney.  It began as part of an HLF-funded RNIB project (Sensing Culture), also involving museums in Oxford, Portsmouth and Brighton – funding for the project ended in spring 2018, but there is a clear legacy for the partners. 

Beaney participants enjoy handling objects from the collections, tactile tours, and creating artwork. The artwork has led to exhibitions in 2017 and 2018 in the Beaney Front Room gallery (which showcases work by local artists and community groups as part of the health and wellbeing programme). The 2018 exhibition includes work by 2 professional visually impaired (VI) artists who had been guest facilitators in 2017 workshops. The exhibitions not only show off the amazing work done by the group, but also give our visitors the chance to explore visual impairment in its various forms, and feedback via the questionnaire Have You Got 20:20 Vision? (image below)  as well as celebrate the successes of others.  

sensing culture word cloud - did this exh make you think about sight_
Have You Got 20:20 Vision? artwork

In the past 2 years we have also developed a highly experienced team of volunteers who work across all our health and wellbeing groups, and who have benefited from additional training in VI issues.

Sensing Culture wk 3 The Beaney Wendy Daws - 01
Photo Credit: Wendy Daws

In addition, a separate music strand has been developed, working with VI  primary school children, in partnership with a local secondary school.  This has resulted in an Arts Award for the primary pupils, live public performances in the Beaney and the development of the Beaney Butterfly Music Machine which brings paintings in the Beaney to audio-life via the arm movements of participants.

Sensing Culture Beaney Butterfly W Daws - 44
 Photo Credit: Wendy Daws

Participants also contribute as an informal focus group to help with development of greater accessibility at the Beaney for VI visitors. Informally, as well as in formal evaluations, group members regularly tell us of the empowerment and sense of ownership of the building that they have gained.

” It has ‘opened our eyes’ to seeing what’s available for visually impaired people “

Sensing Culture Participant

The Beaney is now working on a new access offer (advised by the group) which includes: a tactile trail; an increase in objects (such as the Epstein Red Dean) which are included in the Touchable Beaney umbrella; the commissioning of tactile replicas of precious objects on display; and a revolutionary iBeacon app to guide visually impaired visitors around the Beaney highlights using audio description and enhanced images. The latter meets the particular challenge that people with visual impairment won’t necessarily wish to spend much of their time in groups.

To find out more about the overarching Sensing Culture programme click here

70 Stories for 70 Years

These stories represent personal experiences of the impact of creativity, culture and the arts on health and wellbeing. They have been collected by the Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance (CHWA) to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the NHS in 2018.

If you have a story you would like to share, please do get in contact at info@culturehealthandwellbeing.org.uk.

We are publishing these stories as a collection on the new CHWA website, and will be promoting them using social media from the end of 2018 leading up to the first CHWA Annual Conference in March 2019.