Norfolk Creativity and Wellbeing Week 2019

There is growing evidence that engagement in activities like dance, music, drama, painting and reading help ease our minds and heal our bodies. It is most encouraging to see just how much potential and ambition there is for joined up action on this vital work in Norfolk.’ Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England.

‘We hope people will embrace this week which gives a flavour of the vast offering of arts and creative opportunities on offer in Norfolk and they will feel inspired to try something new. Learning something new and taking part in craft, wellbeing and leisure activities has proven mental health benefits for people of all ages,’ Councillor Margaret Dewsbury, Cabinet Member for Communities and Chair, Norfolk Arts Forum, Norfolk County Council.

The decision by London Arts and Health Forum and the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance to build on the success and momentum achieved by London Creativity and Wellbeing Week by encouraging regional areas to develop their own Creativity and Wellbeing Week programmes in 2019, could not have come at a better time for Norfolk.

The Week provided a perfect high-profile opportunity to build on our long-standing, ongoing strategic work to encourage and support greater collaboration between arts, culture, heritage, health and social care partners and to advocate for and shine a spotlight on the many ways in which arts and culture contribute to health, wellbeing and quality of life for people of all ages throughout our county.

Over 30 organisations and artists generously collaborated in our inaugural week and the programme featured more than 75 participatory events including: open days, craft and print-making taster sessions, film and theatre performances, singing workshops, stitching and writing for wellbeing, exhibitions, talks, professional development sessions and more. Our 2-day professional development programme included the presentation of newly released and vital national research on ‘Artists Practicing Well’ by Norfolk-based artist and researcher, Nicola Naismith; a participatory session lead by the Restoration Trust on their pioneering culture therapy approach including their ‘Change Minds’ programme as well as case studies, funding support and networking opportunities.

Participant feedback included:

‘Sharing ideas and/experiences with other performing artists/practitioners with an aim to create a peer group to support wellbeing among artists. Hearing about social prescribing and more about the studies into how creativity impacts wellbeing. Developing a mutual language with those who commission work and those who perform the work.

‘Thank you for a great 2 days. I do hope you organise another event like this?’

‘I just found the whole experience extremely useful and interesting. There was plenty of choice and variety of topics presented.’‘I liked that the day I attended was very focused and the speakers and examples were very informative and engaging.’

‘Electrolyte was deeply provoking and challenged my own perceptions of mental health while being highly entertaining and amusing with outstanding acting and excellent music. It was such a fresh, original and dynamic production – truly brilliant.’

‘I think was a really good initiative and shows how sustained commitment by the great team at Norfolk Arts has laid the ground for a flourishing creativity and wellbeing practice.’

Norfolk County Council is committed to building on the success of our inaugural week and planning for 2020 is already underway! We would like to warmly thank both LAHF and the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance for their fantastic support – it is very much appreciated.

For further information, please email: arts@norfolk.gov.uk

Twitter: @CreativeNorfolk @NCCArtsService

Mary Muir, Arts Development Manager

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