We are delighted to share some upcoming events for LAHWN members - Carbon Literacy Training and our new Culture of Mental Health Meeting - bringing together arts and health and are planning many more in the coming months. We are also taking in emerging good practice in Arts and Health in the North - going as far as Finland!
In this edition, we are sharing reflections by Kirsty Arnold, a dance artist, performer and teacher who works with Yorkshire Dance as part of the ‘In Mature Company’ programme, delivering creative sessions in care homes. Her writings on this work inspired a series of animations based on care home residents living with dementia. She is currently studying medicine and is interested in the link between medicine and the arts.

Yorkshire Dance's "In Mature Company". Image credit: Paula Solloway

Kirsty Arnold: Reflections on Dancing in Care Homes

With a pair of blue gloves, eyes peering out from behind a surgical mask me and Mel negotiate this new dance. A layer of plastic separates our skin but a gentle squeeze still says ‘Thank you for this dance’ and this thank you is far more complex than I can put into words. This work is not charity, as an artist I learn so much from the people we encounter living in care. They have been courageous this past year within a system that is often underfunded, undervalued and struggling. I am grateful for any opportunity to enter their world, to move, to laugh and to share our experiences.

As a dance artist studying medicine I often compare the environments I’m in and try to soften the edges of the clinical world with the rich and textured physical language we might find in a dance session. In the movement sessions the dance spills out into the edges too- for a brief moment a carer joins in from behind a dividing window and a resident keeps their distance in the corner but sings along to the music.

It’s not about participant numbers but participant names. The nameless counting of the past year- numbers of residents, numbers of infection, numbers of deaths. It’s really OK to just sit on the periphery, to join in a bit or not at all and for us 7 that are in the circle that day to really focus on quality of delivery vs quantity of delivery. We can also learn things from sitting outside the circle, from observing, from watching others get on with their day to day- a kind of dance-like osmosis. In the same way that we might sit on the periphery and attempt to learn from anyone who has experienced life inside a care-home during the pandemic. Just as I might follow and listen to my partners body as I dance with them, or listen to the lyrics of the song we’re singing- the people who know what they need are those who have experienced this trauma. The distance, the fear, the failings. The most important thing I can do as an artist allowed back through the door is to listen with the entirety of my body and to hold space for dancing our way through it. Because moving is medicine and moving is feeling and movement is healing- in it’s own small and quiet kind of way. Unless it’s to Tina, then things tend to get a bit bigger and louder and less subtle- but that’s kind of good too. I guess we can’t really be poignant and political all the time (although Val has a few choice words for ‘Mr-effin-Johnson’).

In Mature Company takes dance and music into care homes across Leeds, addressing the social isolation of older people living in care across the city. The programme has been funded by Time To Shine/Leeds Older People’s Forum and was reimagined during COVID 19 with outdoor sessions and socially distanced, indoor sessions. For more information please contact Adie Nivison, Older People’s Project Manager, Yorkshire Dance:

What's been happening in arts and health in Leeds and beyond?

Centre for Cultural Value: Co-created evaluation principles for the cultural sector

Following LAHWN's research event last year we are always looking for inspiration in measuring and evaluating the impact and value of arts and culture. Based around four core themes; Beneficial, Robust, People-centred and Connected, the principles are a sharing of ideas to inform how evaluation is carried out and used. They are available to view and download on the Centre’s website at The principles are intended to be the start of a conversation. Members can share thoughts and feedback on social media using the hashtag #TheEWord or by emailing

What's happening in LAHWN's focus areas?

LAHWN and Forum Central: A Culture of Mental Health Launch  

Following interest from members of LAHWN (Leeds Arts Health & Wellbeing Network) and Forum Central, we are bringing arts and health members to an informal get together to discuss the current capacity and barriers for arts to support COVID-19 recovery.

New collaborations, partnerships and ways of working have been vital over the last 18 months - we aim to for this to be the beginning of a series of conversations, bringing us together to problem solve and share best practice.

Join us 1.30 to 2.30pm on Wednesday 24th November

Side by Side: Launch of Toolkit for inclusive singing groups

LAHWN's last creative ageing forum was attended by Dr Yoon Irons, a researcher at the University of Derby who has played a part in Side by Side's year long research study and practitioner action-research with group singing leaders on how we can make all singing groups more inclusive especially around mental health. Any members interested in the topic - from group singers, leaders and facilitators, practitioners, stakeholders, researchers and anyone else - are very welcome. Learn more on their website, and book here for the launch on 10th November at 2pm 

David Oluwale Memorial Association: Why David Oluwale Matters - Race, Mental Health and Homelessness Today

Health leaders - Alison Lowe (deputy mayor of West Yorkshire, former CEO of Touchstone, serving the inner cities of Leeds), Dr Abiye Hector-Goma (Leeds GP) and Heather Nelson (CEO Leeds Black Health Initiative) - and artists - Abdullah Adekola, Cherie Taylor Battiste and Emily Zobel Marshall - will be showing the intersection of the pressing social issues of ‘race’, mental health and homelessness. Book your place at this city centre event on Wednesday 10th November at 5.30pm

Creative Future: training emerging writers from Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds with mental health issues in creative writing

This programme is open to writers who:
• Are from a Black, Asian or ethnic minority background
• Identify as having mental health issues.
• Have little or no teaching experience in creative writing.
• Can commit fully to the length, schedule and requirements of all aspects of the programme
You will receive £850 for the facilitation of workshops and planning time, plus any relevant travel and accommodation costs.
Find full details and how to apply here
Closing Date: Friday 12 November at 9:00am

Baring Foundation: Creatively Minded and Heritage Report Launch

Baring Foundation launch their latest report on excellent practice in mental health, heritage & creativity with a range of speakers
describing benefits and impact of widening access to archives and the collections of partner organisations, as well as green spaces and the benefits of nature and natural heritage to mental health. Tickets available here for the event on Tuesday 23rd November at 3.00pm.

University of Huddersfield - exploring the role of creative arts activities for teens living with mental health difficulties

Researcher, Stacey Durham (PhD candidate at the University of Huddersfield) is working with Creative Minds in Calderdale and the National Institute of Health Research. She is looking to recruit young people aged 14 to 19 years who would like the opportunity to engage with research on the role of creative arts activities to help us better understand how and for whom creative arts participation works.  If you can put her in touch with teens you are working with please contact her at

Dedicated to All The Others -  a pilot project for women who have previously experienced violence and/or abuse

Artist and writer Una, herself a survivor of childhood sexual violence and domestic abuse as an adult, is seeking women who have experienced violent and sexual crimes and/or domestic abuse to take part in a creative life stories pilot project. You might have been a victim of violent crime or a witness to it. You may want to explore ways to find your voice and tell your story. It is free to take part in the project - you just need to live in Leeds. Can you help Una find participants for this project?
Learn more here or by contacting Una at

Entelechy Arts: Free online workshop on remote creative programmes for older participants

On Wednesday 24th November (2-4pm), Entelechy Arts will be hosting a free online workshop to share learning and practical tips for how to develop remote creative programmes, co-created with older people. The session draws on research by Queen Mary University of London and the experiences of the Staying Connected programme that Entelechy Arts has been running since the beginning of the pandemic.
Book your free place here for their session on Wednesday 24th November at 2pm.

Baring Foundation: New resource on creative ageing in Finland

Following LAHWN's appearance at the Eurocities Culture Forum in Tampere, Finland, members have been interested in learning more about creative ageing practice here. This new report is aimed at practitioners such as artists and carers, as well as policy makers and funders with an interest in ideas to support older people, especially vulnerable older people, to take part in culture and creativity. It includes a set of 18 case studies, as well as useful information about the Finnish context and reflections in relation to the field of creative ageing in the UK.

Read more here:

Creative Ageing Development Agency (CADA England): Latest News

National Creative Ageing organisation CADA England have now launched their website. It includes a summary of the research on older populations in England and insights into cultural and creative participation which aims to provide useful data to inform work on creative ageing. There is also a recording of their event last month launching the research and presenting emerging findings on creative ageing from both the Centre for Cultural Value and the Celebrating Age programme. 

The website also includes a map detailing major national investment in ageing such as by National Community Lottery Fund and Arts Council England as well as the location of members of the Age Friendly Communities network (Centre for Ageing Better) across England. CADA has begun an initial piece of work about creative ageing in South Asian communities working with Arti Prashar and Elizabeth Lynch and will post progress on the site.  

Visit the CADA England website and join the mailing list
Image credit: Robin Lane-Roberts for Kazzum Arts

Culture Health and Wellbeing Alliance: Arts and health practitioner support

You can find LAHWN's website among a range of resources and podcasts complied by the alliance on their website here

ARC Online: Working With Artists and Other Creative Freelancers

Annabel Turpin, Chief Executive of ARC Stockton invites venues to copy their new Freelancers Policy, word for word if they want, as long as they implement it. Their policy aims to ensure that freelancers feel safe, confident and valued:

"We started by writing down what we thought the policy should include and shared this with some of the artists and freelancers we have worked with. Thanks to their generous and fantastic feedback, we have developed a full policy that we hope will ensure that freelancers we work with feel safe, confident and valued by ARC.

The policy was shared with our Board (which includes four freelancers), and approved by them, with some with some further useful enhancements. We subsequently planned how to implement it involving all staff who are responsible for employing freelancers at ARC.

We have now published ARC’s first Freelancers Policy which you can see here. Like all our policies, it is a work in progress, which can always be strengthened and improved. We will formally review it annually and will also make changes before then based on the feedback we receive.

We know policies are only useful if they are actually implemented. By making our commitments public, we hope artists and freelancers will be able to hold us to account if we fail to meet these standards."

Read the full blog here:

University Centre Leeds: Understanding demand and skills gaps in the health/wellbeing workforce in our region

University Centre Leeds are exploring whether there is demand for wellbeing practitioners/facilitators (or similar) in our region or skills gaps in the health/wellbeing workforce, needing support from education provider.

They are exploring developing new training with arts content and the social and physical environmental factors affecting wellbeing. The course is very much going to be about Positive Health and Positive Wellbeing and they want to incorporate all the contemporary research into Creativity, Blue and Green Spaces and Wonder.

Ben Doughty, Lecturer at their Department of Science, Sport and Health, would be very interested in any feedback from LAHWN members. Feel free to complete and/or share their feedback form with anyone who you think has an interest:

You can contact Ben Doughty at

You can find resources to support work in arts and health on our updated LAHWN website including local and national networks, communities, organisations, training and development.  

Opportunities for members and their networks in arts and health:

Carbon Literacy Training for Leeds based artists and cultural professionals

This training, developed by Sustainable Arts in Leeds (SAIL), will be a chance for members to get together and gain the skills, knowledge, and confidence to embed climate action and sustainable practice within our lives. It is suitable for anyone working in an arts and culture organisation, and also for individual artists, students or creative freelancers. Learn more about SAIL here and reserve your space on the training now at

64 MIllion Artists: The January Challenge 2022 - Submit a Challenge Idea

LAHWN members like Mafwa Theatre have shared some brilliant activities for the January Challenge in previous years. It aims to be 31 days of fun, quick and free creative challenges to kickstart the year. The challenges can be set by anyone across the UK!

If you would like to inspire the creativity of all 64 Million people in the UK fill in this short form about yourself and your idea. If you would prefer to email, you can send a video, a voice recording, or call to describe your idea, at, or ring or message via Whats App on the number 0203 882 4709.
Deadline for ideas is Monday 15th November

What's coming up in arts and health in the next few weeks:

Wednesday 10th November 2.00 to 5.00PM Singing Side By Side Conference & Toolkit Launch An opportunity to explore how we can make all singing groups and choirs more inclusive around mental health Learn more and book here.

Wednesday 10th November 5.30PM to 8.00PM Why David Oluwale Matters: Race, Mental Ill-health & Homelessness Today Health leaders and artists show the intersection of the pressing social issues of ‘race’, mental health and homelessness. Book your place at this city centre event here

Friday 12th November 9.00AM to 12.30PM LAHWN and SAIL Carbon Literacy Training  Anyone working in arts, culture and creativity in Leeds is invited to our training session - sign up for free here

Monday 15th to Tuesday 16th November 9.00AM to 5.00PM Centre for Ageing Better: Healthy Ageing 2021 Conference Join thought leaders, innovators, academics and policy makers, working right across the healthy ageing domain for this year’s FREE online conference, focused on inspiration. innovation and impact. Learn more and book here.

Wednesday 17th to Thursday 18th November 9.00AM to 5.00PM Centre for Cultural Value: Covid-19 - Changing Culture? Two days of sharing and discussing insights from a 15-month national Covid-19 research programme. Tickets are £25 with limited free places available for freelance and unwaged cultural practitioners. Book here.

Friday 19th November International Men's Day 2021

Tuesday 23rd November 3.00 to 4.30PM Baring Foundation: Creatively Minded and Heritage Report Launch Baring Foundation launch their latest report on excellent practice in mental health, heritage & creativity. Tickets available here

Wednesday 24th November 1.30 to 2.30PM LAHWN and Forum Central: A Culture of Mental Health Launch An informal get together to discuss the current capacity and barriers for third sector/arts to support COVID recovery and wellbeing in Leeds. Learn more and book here.

Wednesday 24th November 2.00 to 4.00PM Entelechy Arts: workshop on remote creative programmes for older participants Learn more and book here.

For further information on arts, culture and creative activities happening across Leeds visit Leeds Inspired here.

Recent arts and health films and videos relevant to Leeds:

LAHWN Creative Ageing Forum

You can now watch a recording of our forum meeting celebrating International Day of Older Persons with a range of speakers. Find the recording of this and previous meetings on You Tube.

Eurocities Culture Forum: Cultural wellbeing

Alongside Baring Foundation's report "Love in a Cold Climate" we are sharing an inspirational film on the power of culture on health, well-being and quality of life in Tampere, Finland for the Eurocities Culture Forum. The Forum seeks to widen and deepen our understanding of the concept of cultural wellbeing and discuss how cities can fully benefit from the impacts of culture in increasing the quality of life of cities’ inhabitants. Watch here.
For further videos on arts, health and wellbeing visit the LAHWN Youtube Channel with recordings of this year's webinars and forum meetings as well as a range of other local organisations. 

Recent podcasts about arts and health in Leeds and beyond:

We are revisiting the Pandemic and Beyond podcast in this newsletter. It's a series of conversations with researchers and the people they've worked with to understand the cultural, social, economic, legal, and mental health impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and find creative solutions as part of a wider project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. In the latest episode Victoria Tischler talks to Matthew Reason (York St John University) and creative practitioner Vicky Ackroyd (Totally Inclusive People) about their work on the Creative Doodle Book - a hands-on resource developed by Mind the Gap and York St John University to support socially distanced community arts practice during the Covid-19 pandemic. You can find out more about Creative Doodle Book here and listen to the episode here

We've also been talking to Buy Nowt LS6 Library of Things about all the useful items you can borrow from their inventory, from a sewing machine to a mannequin torso to a nail gun... It is available to anyone with a connection to the LS6 postcode e.g. if they ever come into LS6 (e.g. Headingley, Meanwood, Hyde Park, Woodhouse) to do literally anything then they can use the Library as can community groups and businesses. Volunteers and donators can use the Library regardless of where they come from. Visit their website or learn more about them on the latest Light On Leeds episode here.  

Would you like to describe how you know arts, creativity and culture make a difference to health on a podcast?

Health and care professionals are invited to share stories on arts for wellbeing -  please submit bullet points of your story to

Arts, culture and community workers are invited to get in touch with Hazel at Light on Leeds to share their stories at
If you would like to share Arts and Health work or connect with and support network members by recommending resources and opportunities, please get in touch:
Copyright © 2021 Leeds Arts Health and Wellbeing Network, All rights reserved.

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