The use of art in the community to promote health and happiness is both an ancient and flourishing practice. An example of this in practice is demonstrated by the Bristol Arts on Referral Alliance, where general practitioners in the local area can prescribe attendance at community art groups to patients, with the expectation that this will improve their wellbeing. The efficacy of art to promote well-being is increasingly recognised, with a growing evidence base. Nicola Holt will make a brief overview of this evidence base and will discuss some explanations for why the arts might promote well-being. This workshop/seminar will then provide an overview of two Museum-based community art groups: Shine at MShed, which is coordinated by Finn White; and The Gardener’s Lodge Art Group, led by Louise Campion at the Holbourne Museum, Bath. Finn White and Louise Campion will discuss how these groups work in practice. Together we will then explore associated issues. For example, how can the efficacy of these groups be evaluated in a way that is meaningful for different parties (including the participants, artists and funding bodies)? Are Museum Staff sufficiently trained to deal with ethical issues that can arise in this context? Is there something special about Museums as cultural spaces that promotes wellbeing? We will end with a creative activity for all attendees; a collaborative process inspired by images from Museum collections. This activity will be facilitated by two museum art-group participants who will reflect on their own experiences of arts and wellbeing groups in museums.
Holt, N. J., Campion, L., & White, F. (2017, September). Museums, creativity and wellbeing: Community art groups as a route to health. Presented at Museums, creativity and wellbeing: Community art groups as a route to health, Bristol, England