Art in Health, Front Line Arts
As a dynamic Arts Company we work in many social settings and sectors. Our arts practice is not always confined to the studio but is a tool for Communication, engagement, interaction and fun, at best involving the widest possible community. The transforming power of the arts is long celebrated and it’s holistic, escapist and empowering qualities cannot be ignored!
In the last few years we have specialised in arts and health, successfully combining our arts practice, facilitation and project management skills to deliver innovative projects. We have worked with organisations in Watford and London, particularly Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust for whom we have delivered a number of projects alongside talented ‘Outsider’ artists. These projects often have a two-pronged approach, exploring therapeutic arts facilitation for positive mental health and dispelling negative myths surrounding mental health.
For example in 2010, in conjunction with the Tate Modern and representing Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust, we worked with a talented group of artists who happen to be mental health service users. We held a public workshop amongst the Poetry and Dream galleries, engaging over 250 people through inviting them to make their own surrealist masterpieces. The workshop was lead by a group of artist/service users who received training and support from us in order to implement this project. The project successfully promoted the therapeutic and healing benefits of arts activity whilst supporting social inclusion and dispelling negative myths associated with mental illness.
Another of our Arts in Health Projects developed over the last six years was devised in response to current national obesity statistics. We were commissioned by Childhood Research Scientists from Great Ormond Street Hospital to devise a way in which to make their nutritional science more palatable! ‘Trim Tots Healthy Lifestyle Programme’ is aimed at under 5’s and their carers as it is proven that if a child becomes obese in this period they are pre-disposed for life. We have worked using dance, music and visual art to help keep participants interested, engaged and moving.
Trim Tots as a collaboration between art and science has been delivered as a randomized controlled trial and is one of the few evidence based interventions for the prevention and treatment of obesity. The study findings so far are encouraging with reductions in obesity risk and improvements in healthy eating measures being seen for children taking part in the programme. Perhaps art and creativity not only serve to brighten up our immediate environment but may help to support a healthier future….