Emotional resilience is the key skill for 2022

Community and peer support can be essential to a resilient team
19 Jan 2022

While many arts and culture organisations are concerned about their financial viability, emotional resilience will also be essential to seeing out the pandemic, argues Robin Cantrill-Fenwick.

Arts and health: think big and embrace the opportunities

Drummers on stage following behind a woman in a huge twirling skirt
22 Jul 2020

A substantial new income stream for the arts sector can go hand in hand with significant savings to the health budget, says Tim Joss. But first we need to move beyond some widespread assumptions that are holding back progress.

January challenge

Hands showing how to make the word 'together' in Makaton
05 Jan 2022

Last year, more than 50,000 people took part in a creative challenge. Now the invitation to rise to the January challenge is open again. Michaela Tranfield has the details.

Missing voices in culture, health and wellbeing research 

neon sign reading 'and breathe'
25 Nov 2021

In recent years, cultural practitioners have been working in ever more challenging health and social care spaces. Robyn Dowlen looks at how their experiences are represented in the research literature.

Scotland’s Creative Learning Plan leans into wellbeing

pupils in an arts class
18 Nov 2021

Children’s mental health will be a “very high priority” under a new blueprint for cross-curriculum creativity.

From cultural participation to cultural ownership

Entelechy Arts Awayday
10 Nov 2021

Many organisations seek to put community at the heart of their work. But Maddy Mills asks why is it important and what does it actually look like for day-to-day business?

'A contemporary horror story'

Musicians rehearsing
04 Nov 2021

How do artists engage with people living with dementia? Stephen Higgins, Electra Perivolaris and Nina Swann share their different perspectives on a new project.

Theatre bodies update anti-discrimination principles

01 Nov 2021

UK Theatre and Society of London Theatre (SOLT) have updated their ten principles for creating safe and inclusive working spaces in theatre.

First launched in 2017, the principles were created largely in response to the #MeToo movement.

They have now been updated to cover discrimination across all protected characteristics, asking theatres to prevent racism and all other forms of discrimination and bias.

Head of UK Theatre and Workforce Development Sebastian Cater says the pandemic has provided an opportunity to examine old practices and create a more inclusive culture in theatres.

“It’s so encouraging to have the support of our members and boards as well as the main unions and trade bodies in disseminating and upholding the new Principles. Together we can make them become industry standard.”

Data are cultural: what does that mean for understanding well-being?

26 Oct 2021

For thousands of years philosophers have asked: ‘What makes for the good society?’, or ‘the good life?’ Susan Oman revisits these questions, asking how data help us understand - differently. 

Great Place Greater Manchester

26 Oct 2021

Julie McCarthy reflects on three years of action research into the role of culture in shaping the lives of the people of Greater Manchester.

Changing lives with creativity

image of a hand painting
21 Oct 2021

The arts have a huge role to play in health and wellbeing. Jane Rich shares how creative practitioners can support mental health without being mental health professionals themselves.

Care homes celebrate culture

art consultation in a care home
22 Sep 2021

The importance of access to arts and creativity in care settings has become ever more apparent during the pandemic, writes Alison Teader.

Firstsite wins Art Fund Museum of the Year

22 Sep 2021

Firstsite Colchester has won £100,000 and the title of Art Fund Museum of the Year 2021.

The art gallery, which celebrates its 10th birthday this month, has transformed since losing its National Portfolio Organisation status in 2015. The prize's judges lauded the centre for its relationships with artists and efforts in the community. 

During the pandemic, it loaned its building to neighbouring charity Community 360 to run a food bank and created activity packs that were downloaded by more than 92,000 households.

The centre has recently hosted exhibitions My name is not Refugee, curated by clients of Refugee Action Colchester, and Art For Life, comissioned by NHS key workers to aid understanding of the impact of Covid-19 on mental health.

"At their core is powerful, engaged contemporary art, housed in a gallery that gives space for everyone, from artists to NHS staff to local families and refugee groups. They exceeded all our expectations," Art Fund director Jenny Waldman said.

The four other shortlisted finalists - Centre for Contemporary Art Derry~Londonderry, Experience Barnsley, Thackray Museum of Medicine and Timespan - each received £15,000.

Deprived areas benefit most from culture

group of people looking at art on a wall outside
15 Sep 2021

New research indicates cultural engagement improves wellbeing in England’s poorest areas the most, but unequal access remains a barrier to participation.

Belgium prescribes culture for Covid stress

06 Sep 2021

Patients diagnosed with Covid-related stress in Brussels are being prescribed free visits to museums and galleries.

Doctors at Brugmman Hospital are offering visits to five publicly owned sites across the Belgian capital, including its centre for contemporary art, a fashion museum and a museum of the city's sewage system.

“It has been shown that art can be beneficial for health, both mental and physical,” Brussels' City Councillor for Tourism Delphine Houba said.

The idea forms part of a three-month pilot scheme designed to bolster mental health during the pandemic.

Inspiration has come from a similar programme in Quebec, Canada, where doctors prescribe up to 50 museum visits a year per patient.

Half of disabled music workers don’t disclose conditions

03 Sep 2021

Music industry workers are putting their health and safety at risk over fear of negative reactions and damaging their career prospects.

Museums tackling loneliness

image of museum
01 Sep 2021

In rural areas such as Cornwall, the pandemic has exacerbated loneliness, with vulnerable people losing their sense of community. Emmie Kell thinks museums can be part of the solution.

TV industry 'ignorant' of legal duties to disabled staff

23 Aug 2021

Senior television workers are unaware of their legal obligations to their disabled colleagues, driving many out of the industry

80% of disabled TV workers believe their disability has damaged their career and 77% say their career options are limited, according to a small survey commissioned by Birmingham City University's Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity.

Respondents said there is "little understanding of the Equalities Act" and some continued in a potentially harmful role because they feared the consequences of asking for reasonable adjustments.


Entry level jobs like being a runner can be a barrier to more disabled people joining the industry. Some respondents said they struggled to find work outside of disability programming; others chose to use their insight to support this work. 

The research also noted a recent trend among broadcasters to relocate to regional centres creates issues for disabled staff, such as finding suitable accommodation and rebuilding support networks. 

The report was produced by disabled journalist Kate Ansell: "What's striking is the consistency of the experiences described and the simplicity of some of the solutions," she said.

"It's crucial that the industry acts upon what it is being told." 


Writing for health

using a computer on a sofa
13 Jul 2021

It's widely agreed that arts and creativity can boost mental health and wellbeing. But less well known is the positive effect that writing can have, says Christina Bunce

Masking for a friend

09 Jul 2021

Arts venues might lose out by mandating masks and other Covid-19 mitigations but it's the only socially responsible option.


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