Art on Prescription

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Card making in week three

Together with Little Bird, Beauty and Utility Arts recently collaborated on an Arts on Prescription evaluation project in North West Leicestershire. We are delighted to share our report conclusions with others in our sector, to further support the case for arts as a social prescribing tool for patients with low level mental health difficulties.

Art on Prescription North West Leicestershire, took place at Measham Medical Unit between April and June 2016, funded by the North West Leicestershire ‘Staying Healthy Partnership’ grant and provided structured Arts and Health interventions for twelve patients experiencing low level mental ill health across two six week blocks of workshops.

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Weaving in week 4

Using the Public Health for England, Arts for Health and Wellbeing evaluation guidelines (2016) for measuring outcomes, we used the WEMWBS, PHQ-9, GAD-7 scores and qualitative feedback, pre and post intervention and were able to demonstrate project outcomes as having a positive impact on the wellbeing of patients participating.

Click on the image below to read the report.

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Show your workings no. 2

A couple of weeks have gone by since I released my first ‘Show your workings’ post, and the very action of writing and releasing it has helped set my mental wheels in motion.

These blog posts are a kind of behind the scenes, honest inner workings of someone running an Arts for Health social enterprise and attempting live up to all the wellbeing advice shared across our projects.

It is very difficult to separate out me from my work, which in most respects is a good thing. At the moment I’m feeling the need to simplify and for the first time ever I am drawn to writing as a way of teasing out and sharing how it’s all going.

Right now, I am up in Scotland on holiday for the week with my two greyhounds Mabel and Storm. Actually, this is both a holiday and a recce, because Scotland is where I want to be living and working in a couple of years time.

Something I love about going away is trying to take only what I need and I’m getting quite good at it, it’s the dogs who have too much stuff! Minimalism is something of real interest to me, coupled with the design quality elements of the Arts and Crafts movement.

When I’m packing I start thinking about James Bond. You never see him with a travel iron in the background, routing around in the bottom of an over stuffed bag for the second half of a matching pair of socks, do you.

Whilst here, and in a space with relatively few personal belongings to distract, I have been thinking about how to further simplify when I get back. The Minimalists and plenty of others have been an inspiration for a good few years now and my home is making its way nicely towards being simple, creative and functional. I earn slightly more than I need to live on at the moment, so anything ‘spare’ is being ploughed back in to my home – a terraced house that needed a good dose of love injecting back in to it.

In the last three years I have tried and tested ways of applying that order and simplicity to my work knowing that it is just not possible to be all things to all people and still work at a level of quality. By building in time to stop, step back and reflect, the times small sections of the simplicity scaffolding are at risk of falling away are much more manageable than ever before, but there’s still room for improvement. As I write these posts I’m sure I’ll want to share more of the practicalities; the nuts and bolts of what exactly it is that’s working, not working, work in progress. Right now, that feels slightly outside of my comfort zone, but that’s part of the point of starting to write and share. Stick with it. I know I will.

ttfn

 

Katherine

Brand new 365 day #5ways2wellbeing project

So, it’s New Year’s Eve tomorrow and I’m ready to start a new Beauty and Utility Arts challenge.

Challenges stimulate my mind and this one will focus on my favourite thing about our work … finding innovative, creative, visual and powerful ways for us to engage with more people by listening…learning…responding to what makes people tick and how that impacts on our work with communities and individuals across Arts, Health and Wellbeing.

Our 365 day wellbeing project uses the five ways to wellbeing evidence based actions developed by the new economics foundation, now in use all over the country  inspiring discussions and actions around health and wellbeing in our everyday lives.

We use the five ways to wellbeing as much as possible as a simple, effective tool and now I’d like to do something different.

Every day I will Tweet an action and a picture based on one of the five ways to wellbeing (see below) using the hashtag #5ways2wellbeing and I’d like everybody else out there to do the same. That way we can see a bigger picture, throughout the seasons, of what makes the UK tick when it comes to wellbeing.

There will be guest posts along the way, starting on 1st January with a very special guest, short interviews to view and at the end of each month we’ll pull together all the tweets and pictures for all to see.

I hope you’ll be in on this with me and spread the word far and wide, because the more people who get involved, the better.

Five ways to wellbeing graphic

Libraries ain’t what they used to be ;o)

I love libraries.

The smell and feel of well handled books, the memories of visits as a child with hair still wet from the swimming baths, the potential for learning and discovering all come flowing back into my mind as I step into one.

Beauty and Utility Arts has been working closely with North West Leicestershire District Council on a number of arts and health initiatives recently and back on October we teamed up with Lisa Pidgeon of Little Bird School of Stitchcraft.

Lisa’s blogpost on her own website sums the whole experience up perfectly, so we hope you enjoy…

 

Wellbeing Hi-5 :: Bombing Coalville Library

Those of you that are regular readers of my blog will know that I am passionate about the relationship of arts/crafts and health and wellbeing.  I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Conference in Bristol earlier this year and since then have been forging my career in this direction.
Throughout the month of October, Leicestershire (my home ground) is celebrating the ways in which the arts, culture and heritage contribute towards health and wellbeing.  The ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’ is used as a framework to deliver a programme of over 200 wellbeing events taking place across the shire.
In total I have been asked to deliver 3 workshops  for Creative Leicestershire and 1 workshop for Beauty and Utility Arts as part of the Wellbeing Hi-5 celebrations. This first session took place in Coalville library on 10th Oct.
Katherine Brown, from Beauty and Utility Arts, ran a session of papercrafts making bunting and flowers and, for the younger crafters, characters from Goldilocks and the Three Bears…

The Knitting Gurrillas of Birstall (KGB) were recruited to do a special yarn bomb and participants were invited to hide allsorts of little items on the bookshelves and between the pages of books.  Yarn bombing is a way of brightening up an area and, in the case of the KGB, making people smile…

Mr Hissing Sid liked the nature section…

The mice liked it in the children’s section especially the little dark corners…

The younger borrowers had fun yarn bombing…

And later we enlisted the elder borrowers to have a go at hiding woolly gifts between the pages of books.  Pink for pink lovers…

Bookworms for the classic readers…

Crafty bookworms for the craft lovers…

Since the workshop I have had a message from the library staff who to say that they have spotted people finding the knitted lovelies and that:
“It’s great to see the delight on their faces when they find something.  I hope it is bringing lots of smiles”
I think the KGB would agree that this is mission accomplished!

Guest artist blog – Jo Dacombe

 Seeking the Land Unknown in Hinckley

I once read a book by Lucy Lippard called “The Lure of the Local”, about returning to places that she knows and how people have relationships to places. So when I set out on a walk with the Friday group from Beauty & Utility Arts, to explore the local area in Hinckley, I was intrigued to see how they might look at their local place and how I, as an outsider, might see it.

Before I came I sent the group a map of the area around the Atkins Building, our starting point, with suggestions for several walks that they might like to do. I asked them to choose one. I was hugely encouraged when the message came back that, no, they had not opted for exploring the picturesque or pretty parks or gardens, they had chosen to go through the Industrial Estate to a brook intriguingly named the “Battling Brook”! At that point I knew that this group were true explorers after my own heart!

And what an adventure it was! We had a road map to guide us, but if you look on the road map the area that we were interested in was a big blank space, no features mapped there at all. We talked about how, when the first maps were being drawn up and areas of the world remained undiscovered, early mapmakers would leave huge areas blank and simply write “terra incognita” there (meaning “land unknown”). We were in search of our own local terra incognita.

It was tricky to locate the exact area of the terra incognita. Many old factories stood there, the old sock factory, and behind it an impressive radio tower which turned out to be part of the National Grid. We had a brief run-in with National Grid’s security who were not amused by our attempts to photograph the tower, and we had to delete the pictures! Feeling rather excited by our new status as agents of espionage, we then went on to explore: through a hole in a fence a vast concrete wasteland, spying a bridge in the distance; we admired a campervan for sale and dreamt of the freedom of the road; we followed a path along a hedge of blackberries promising good foraging for the autumn; and finally located the brook, with tales of boats, one of us had a lovely tale about a boat he nearly bought but returned to find it half submerged, where he believes it still is.

Having found the Battling Brook and speculating on how it got its name, we continued by following our noses to find a way back. Katherine was adamant that we must make a circular route and not go back on ourselves, so we wound our way through alleyways (more naming games here, should we call them jetties, passageways, alleys or cut-throughs, and what’s the difference?) and around houses, past a beautiful old church and a dilapidated building with broken windows and rusted panels, until we made it back to the Atkins Building.

Going through our photos we started to put together a map of where we had found all these “moments of beauty”, which I hope the group will continue to work on.  We discussed the idea of beauty and how different people find different things beautiful. We had found beauty in nature, decay, industrial structures, old buildings, water, fences, stories… and all within less than a mile of our starting point! It just goes to show that, when you look at the world like an artist, trying to find those “moments of beauty”, even what you thought were familiar surroundings can reveal surprising richness and an astonishing amount of interesting detail.

There is so much more to explore in Hinckley! We hope to do some more walks in the future to further explore the “lure of the local”, and I look forward to that… what will we find next time?

Find out more about joining our Points of Interest group by contacting Katherine on 07908 750187 and find out more about Jo Dacombe at http://jodacombe.blogspot.com