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Wales Arts Health Wellbeing Network February 2023 Newsletter

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WAHWN February Newsletter 2023

Welcome to our first newsletter of 2023! The very early signs of Spring are starting to emerge… snowdrops, cyclamens and tiny buds on the trees. For many people, February brings with it a deep sigh to be leaving the darker months. For others, it’s a slow unfurling from a warm hibernation period. However you meet the early Spring shoots, we invite you to spend a little time today to pause and breathe, to notice the light and to reflect it by writing or drawing or moving for five minutes.Angela, Tracy and Emilie – Team WAHWN

Directors Blog

During an immensely challenging time for our health and social care sectors, we must not lose sight of the significant role the arts are playing in supporting the health and wellbeing of staff, patients and communities. Newly published UCL research from Dr Daisy Fancourt and Alexandra Bradbury reminds us that while NHS waitlists and treatment backlogs are covering the front pages newspapers, the pressure is on to explore solutions. The research highlights that resources that already exist in our communities (arts and cultural assets) aren’t currently readily harnessed for their potential to prevent and treat health issues. As Professor Martin Green, Chief Executive of Care England stressed at the recent Creative Health Review roundtable, how we support people to live well creatively could be the cornerstone of addressing recruitment and retention of NHS and social care staff, “creativity is so important in enriching the quality of life that staff have…the impacts could be significant”.

Here in Wales we recognise the growing number of organisations and artists delivering innovative creative interventions to support the health workforce. These include two movement based approaches: The Body Hotel – Moving Respite in partnership with Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW); and National Dance Company Wales – Moving Beyond Compliance in partnership with Cartrefi Cymru. The Arts Council Wales Cultural Cwtsh  suite of online wellbeing activities for NHS and social care staff continues to grow in momentum. This month WAHWN is delighted that our short film Arts and Health in Wales – An Introduction, created by artist filmmaker Simon Huntley and commissioned by Hywel Dda University Health Board Arts in Health team will sit on the HEIW learning portal and compliment the health board’s wider Creative Prescribing Discovery programme. WAHWN’s recent Creative Connections wellbeing event attracted over 60 social prescribers from across Wales, to experience first-hand the wellbeing impacts of the arts, not only for themselves but for the communities they support. Feedback highlights a clear appetite for more events – “when’s the next one?!”

Our January network meeting focused on artist support and wellbeing, highlighting a clear appetite from organisations for further support to embed this vital area of work within their teams and projects. Esyllt George, Arts and Health Coordinator in Cwm Taf Morgannwg Health Board, shared her approach to artist supervision; Eleanor Shaw, Director at People Speak Up reflected on the organisational benefits of integrating the support of wellbeing coach Ali Franks, and Karin Diamond and Alison O’Connor, founders of Re-Live, reflected on their own journeys in coming to understand the importnace of supervision and offered valuable advice around best practice. Artist wellbeing support has also been highlighted as a focus by ACW Arts and Health lottery grantees in the WAHWN peer learning programme. Funded by ACW and co-facilitated by the People Powered Results team at Nesta, the peer learning groups will support arts and health partnerships to articulate the value of their work, tackle challenges in real time during the life of their projects and help to grow and sustain the arts within healthcare systems longer term.

And finally, WAHWN would like to give a massive shout out to Simone Joslyn, Head of Cardiff and Vale Health Charity for making the Future Generations Change Maker 100 list – a campaign that is shining a spotlight on some of the incredible people who are helping to create positive change and helping to create a healthier, resilient and prosperous Wales. Well done Simone!

Angela Rogers, Executive Director, WAHWN 

Upcoming Training, Sharing and Events

March – WAHWN Network Meeting

Tuesday 7th March – 10.00-11.30amJoin us for a Network Meeting that spotlights the ways that the arts can support the health and wellbeing of our health and social care colleagues.

Including guests:Dr Thania Acaron, Founder and Director of The Body Hotel. The Body Hotel: Moving Respite is an arts, health and wellbeing project funded by Arts Council Wales. It is a programme of movement based interventions aimed at reducing symptoms of compassion fatigue and increasing creative avenues of support for the HEIW workforce.

Aled Jones, Project Manager, Cultural Cwtsh. The Arts Council of Wales has been working closely with arts partners, the Welsh NHS Confederation, the Health Boards across Wales and Social Care Wales to support the wellbeing of our healthcare workforce through creative activities. The Cultural Cwtsh is a suite of fun and stimulating online resources made by artists to support for the healthcare workforce in Wales as they look to recover from the intense pressures of working throughout a pandemic.

Becky Wright, Head of Development, National Dance Company Wales & Susan Coffey, Finance Director, Cartrefi Cymru Cooperative Limited. Moving Beyond Compliance was a partnership project, developed by NDCWales and Cartrefi Cymru Cooperative Limited, to explore how movement could benefit the wellbeing of Cartrefi Cymru staff. Muscular/skeletal issues are common due to the nature of the duties the support workers undertake therefore a movement approach was chosen to address physical care and relieve tension in body and mind. Link

CALIN: ‘Workplace Wellbeing’ online workshops and networking event for businesses

Tuesday 7th February, Wednesday 8th February, and Thursday 9th February 2023 9am- 5pm. We welcome attendance for the full event or selected sessions of interest at registration.

The Celtic Advanced Life Science Innovation Network (CALIN) connects business, academia and healthcare with experts from six leading universities across Ireland and Wales. Join experts in psychology, physiology and health for FREE online workshops, networking and consultations on workplace development.

For any enquiries please email Hannah Jelley: [email protected] or Nicky Jones: [email protected]

If you would like to register in Welsh email: [email protected]

Head4Arts Free Creative Weekly Wellbeing Events – South East Wales

Head4Arts are running a wide range of free creative workshops for the community this Spring across the South East Wales Valleys region, covering the county boroughs of Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Merthyr Tydfil and Torfaen.Find out more here.

Head4Arts social media

Consultations – Museums Inspiring Memories

Museums Inspiring Memories is a 3-year partnership project between Amgueddfa Cymru and Alzheimer’s Society Cymru, with the purpose of looking at how we can best use our museum resources and sites to improve the health and wellbeing of those affected by dementia.Over the coming months, they will be hosting a series of events to gather ideas and experiences to shape the work of the project, particularly towards the creation of: · a Dementia Voice in Heritage Group · a dementia awareness training package for heritage sector staff · a training session for carers / care sector staff in using museum resources with those that they care for. The events are for people living with dementia, carers within the community, care sector members of staff, members of staff or volunteers within the heritage sector or interested representative organisations.These events will be taking place at each Amgueddfa Cymru site (or near to), as well as at venues in the North-East and Mid-Wales If you would like to attend, please let us know by registering here (an account will need to be created), or email [email protected]

Jean Genies – Making Magic With Denim

On the 13th December 2022, Sara Crerar (founder of the Jean Genies project and Secret Vintage, Newport) died suddenly, and we were not aware of this when the last WAHWN newsletter was published. Sara’s husband John would like to thank everybody for the many heartfelt condolences that they have received during the past weeks.

“Sara was a much loved and truly creative soul who saw worth in everything around her, and in those she met. Recycling, re-using and upcycling became increasingly important to her – weaving her commitment to responsible living into her interest in supporting wellbeing in the community and living local.” – Sarah Goodey (Gwent Arts in Health)

Artist Marion Cheung will continue the Jean Genies project and is currently applying for funding to support commissioning textile artists to help deliver the project in 2023/4. Jean Genies encourages anyone to sew and mend, learn simple sewing and maintenance skills and enjoy the company of others to support mental health and wellbeing.

If you are an individual, creative group, textile artist or health partner wanting to get involved, please email: [email protected]

Or send us a message via social media:@jeangeniesuk (Instagram)Facebook


Centre for Cultural Value – Collaborate Fund for Academics

The Centre for Cultural Value Collaborate fund supports new research partnerships between UK-based academics and cultural sector practitioners that ask new questions about the difference culture makes to people’s lives.Awards range from £5K – £20K. Academics can now submit an expression of interest to develop these projects alongside the cultural sector partner.

“Collaborate offers the opportunity to develop innovative methodologies, pilot research activity with live audiences and work alongside a highly engaged partner. The project can also be used as the basis for future research publications and be cited as strong impact activity for future REF case studies.”

The deadline for applications is Monday 20 February 2023. Find out more here:


WAHWN Knowledge Bank 

The WAHWN Knowledge Bank contains all kinds of resources and information submitted by members of the Network. You can click the buttons to filter the resources, or use the search function.

If you have something to share with the knowledge bank then you can submit it through the User Area.

Other News


Simone Joslyn, Head of Arts and Health Charity, Cardiff & Vale UHB, added to the ‘100 Future Generations Changemakers’ List

Simone Joslyn, Head of Arts and Health Charity, Cardiff & Vale University Health Board, has been added to the 100 Future Generations Changemakers List.

Her team have created places holistically with well- being in mind; Our Health Meadow – Ein Dôl Iechyd improves the health of patients, staff, volunteers and community groups to enhance biodiversity and eco-literacy.

She works with many groups including Wales Probation Services to provide young offenders with placements in nature to learn new skills and provide social value.Read the 100 as a PDF here:

Creative Connections – Arts for Social Prescribers and Community Connectors

In January 2023, we hosted a morning of presentaions and creative workshops for Social Prescribers across Wales. With over 60 people attending from most counties, it was an opportunity to share directly how the arts can benefit wellbeing.

We had taster workshops from 4 brilliant artists: Ceri John Phillips, Alison Moger, Thania Acaron and Jain Boon, which people really enjoyed. We also had presentations from Emily van de Venter, Lead Consultant for Mental Health at Public Health Wales and Nesta Lloyd-Jones, Assistant Director at Welsh NHS Confederation.

At the end of the session, almost 90% of participants who took the survey said they are more likely to prescribe into creative activities, and everyone who was surveyed felt an improvement in their own wellbeing.

A big thank you to Gwyneth Jones at PAVS for collaborating with us on the event, and we hope to offer more opportunities like this in 2023.

Gad fynd, Cadwa fynd | Landing: An artist’s relationship between creativity, wellbeing and place

An evocative, short film that reflects how Welsh artist Alice Briggs relates to her local landscape as part of her creative and wellbeing practice: foraging, cooking, making, swimming, drawing…

The film was made as part of How Ya Doing? artist wellbeing programme and funded by Arts Council of Wales.

Watch the film here.

To find out more about How Ya Doing? visit here

Please continue to send us your news, opportunities and events to share in next month’s newsletter, or throughout the month on our social media channels.

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UNICEF Child Friendly shorts
Versus Arthritis Information Session – Fibromyalgia – 28th February 2023

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