People in an art class

Arts and health – a role for volunteers

Published : 20/07/22 | Categories: Volunteering |

There is growing evidence that Involvement in the arts can have positive impact on people’s mental and emotional wellbeing.

A course in mindful photography undertaken by patients/service users, their families or carers who were experiencing mental health challenges, enabled them to reframe their own appreciation of themselves and of their lives. You can read about the methodology and two research reports here.

The work was delivered by Look Again, which began in 2012 to support health and wellbeing with a blend of photography and mindfulness.

‘Mindful photography is defined as a tool that uses our sight and the lens of a camera or smartphone as an anchor to help us become more consciously aware of and connected to the present moment. It is experiencing the process of creating photographs in a non-judgmental way, with gratitude and compassion toward ourselves’. Ruth Davies, Founder and Director Look Again

Further evidence of the role of creative arts within health and care settings is seen in the projects supported by HARP (Health, Arts, Research, People) across Wales. This partnership between Arts Council of Wales, Nesta and Cardiff University’s ‘Y Lab’ has made recommendations to key stakeholders, to support innovation and arts and health.

Amongst these are the recommendation:

  • for health and local authority leaders to enable innovation and explore how the arts and creativity can contribute to their organisational priorities;
  • to support and encourage local authorities to subsidise arts activities for community health and wellbeing and
  • the need to consider how we measure success, valuing insights that show progress on the outcomes that matter most to the people involved, as well as quantitative data.

How could volunteers and volunteer led community groups, together with health practitioners, enable people to benefit from the arts in a more targeted way?

If you involve volunteers in a similar project – in hospital or in community settings, we would love to share your story. Contact Fiona Liddell Helpforce Cymru Manager fliddell@wcva.cymru.

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