I attended the For Love And Money Event (FLAM) On Thursday 25th January. The event was well organised with lots of information and a place to network. I really enjoyed Susan Mumford, I found her positive energy inspiring. Emma Paxton a, Graphic Recorder, drew live at the event capturing the key ideas and outcomes.
A Year of Drawing, launched in October 2017, is a year-long art project organised by Make Your Mark; the arts and health programme for Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. The project aims to increase access to the arts for people facing mental health challenges and their carers through participatory drawing events across Sussex and Hampshire.
Funded by Heads On (Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s charity), through grants from Arts Council England, Chalk Cliff Trust, John Horniman’s Children’s Trust, Rockinghorse Children’s Charity and the Dixie Rose Findlay Charity, the project covers Sussex Partnership’s Adult Mental Health Services and Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services.
The project is being delivered by three commissioned artists (Jane Fordham, Jane Fox and Annis Joslin), alongside three Peer Arts Workers (people with lived experience of mental health challenges), and is made up of three participatory elements: public drawing workshops at cultural venues, pop up studios in NHS mental health settings, and a series of drawing-based Recovery College courses.
Since October, we have been delivering well-received drop in public drawing events in our nine cultural partner venues: Aspex Gallery (Portsmouth), Cass Sculpture Foundation (Chichester), De La Warr Pavilion (Bexhill), Fabrica Gallery (Brighton), Royal Pavilion and Museums (Brighton), Southampton Art Gallery (Southampton), The Hawth (Crawley), Towner Gallery (Eastbourne), and Worthing Museum (Worthing).
The public workshops have encouraged participants to explore the possibilities of drawing and mark making, with a range of activities and materials available to experiment with. During the public drawing event at Aspex Gallery in November 2017, participants had the chance to delve into the possibilities of animation using sand, flour, shaving foam, charcoal and rubbers. At Southampton Art Gallery in January 2018, artist Annis Joslin introduced the ‘accidental drawing game,’ where participants collaborated on a large scale concertina book installation. Other workshops have seen audiences take inspiration from gallery and museum collections, creating collages, quick sketches, wool sculptures, and large scale collaborative 2D and 3D works.
We’ve also been running drawing-based courses as part of Sussex Recovery College, which offers educational opportunities to support people in their journey to recovery. The courses are co-designed and co-delivered by the artists and Peer Arts Workers, and offer students the chance to learn about how drawing can support them in their mental health recovery journey. We’re just starting to roll out drop in pop up drawing studios in a variety of NHS settings, including on wards, in waiting areas, and for Sussex Partnership staff. The pop up studios aim to give people an opportunity to engage in drawing activities in a space they feel is safe and familiar.
Another element of the project is our outreach collection. We are working with three of our cultural partners: Cass Sculpture Foundation, Royal Pavilion and Museums, and Towner Gallery, to put together a Year of Drawing postcard collection of prints from the partners’ own collections. We hope this will mean that people who aren’t able to leave hospital or visit a museum or gallery will still be able to enjoy looking at art, potentially finding inspiration to try out some drawing activities.
The hope is that the project will be a stepping stone on the way to creating better and more sustainable links between local cultural organisations and the NHS, with arts venues being viewed as a safe space within local communities.
For more information about Make Your Mark or a Year of Drawing, please visit www.makeyourmarknhs.co.uk, emailed firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 07391 402311.
Public Health England has been given the go-ahead to create a world-leading public health science campus at Harlow in Essex.PHE Harlow, as the site will be known, is expected to employ up to 2,750 people by 2024, with scope for further expansion. The £400m campus will see PHE relocate from facilities at Porton in Wiltshire, Colindale in north London, as well as its central London headquarters to a single centre of excellence for public health research, health improvement and protection. Building work is expected to start in 2019 with phased occupation starting in 2021.
The King’s Fund has published an analysis of the balance of resources going to public health and declared that “too many local government services that affect the public’s health are facing death by a thousand cuts”.
The research looks at average expenditure by local authorities on public health over the past five years and concludes that that: “when it comes to funding services that impact on the public’s health, central government’s actions show that it is not affording public health the same priority as the NHS.”
Voluntary Arts annual survey has found a strong emphasis on mental health as a reason given by participants for taking part in creative activities.The survey, which received responses from 1000 groups around the country demonstrated optimism about the future for voluntary arts but challenges in recruiting a greater diversity of participants to join in creative activities. Respondents were clear about the mental health and wellbeing benefits of arts engagement, one respondent said: “It helps me manage my mental illness (clinical depression and anxiety) being able to do something creative gives me the chance to concentrate on something that brings me pleasure (mostly!) and gets me out of the house and into the company of like-minded people. The creative groups I go to are an absolute lifeline for me. Without them I would be socially and physically isolated.”
The Department for Culture has published a revised departmental plan setting out five objectives. These include a focus on “policy levers to improve mental health and wellbeing”.
DCMS commits to developing “policies that will improve mental wellbeing (e.g. social, culture, social action), address the risks around mental ill-health (e.g. gambling, online safety) and which support people living with mental illness (e.g. shared lives, life chances fund), to maximise their positive impact upon society.”