You're invited: Creative Winter Celebration 

Leeds Arts Health and Wellbeing Network join the Giving Voice Choir, Love Arts Leeds and Arts Together Leeds to invite you to an evening of celebration as 2020 comes to an end with:

- a virtual sing-a-long from Giving Voice, an inclusive choir for people with neurological conditions and their carers

- an opportunity to make something with Arts Together

- a chance to share a mince pie (or similar) with people interested in arts, health, creativity and community in Leeds.

The event will be on Zoom Wednesday 16th December 6.30-8.00pm. You'll be emailed the Zoom link the day before - tickets here.

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

Image credit: Possible All Along artist: Si Denbigh, "Corvid 19"

'Possible All Along' Arts Exhibition

Disabled artists in Leeds are claiming their space in the city’s cultural landscape with an online exhibition.

Possible All Along was launched on International Day of Disabled People. The project was supported with funding from Leeds Inspired, part of Leeds City Council.

Thirteen artists are featured in Possible All Along. Much of the art reflects the artists’ experiences of being disabled people. Short statements from each of the artists give further insights into their work. The exhibition covers a range of media, including photography, video, watercolour, prints, textiles and mixed media.

At the end of a turbulent year, the exhibition acknowledges the mixed feelings of disabled artists to the changes that have taken place. There are positives, as arts organisations are now regularly presenting work and events online and engaging with audiences in virtual spaces. In a world of disabling barriers, the internet offers possibilities for greater access and connections for many disabled people.

But without doubt, the pandemic is affecting disabled people extremely badly. Health outcomes are particularly poor for disabled people. And lockdowns are leading to greater isolation and financial hardship for disabled people.

While digital exclusion also disproportionately affects disabled people, this online exhibition is a way for some disabled artists to share their work. Possible All Along looks forward to a future where the arts in Leeds are more accessible and inclusive, and where exhibitions like this can be shown both online and in an accessible physical gallery.

The exhibition will be available for the next year and can be viewed at
For more information you can contact the exhibition organiser, Gill, at

Arts Together: Women of Leeds

If you liked Possible All Along you may be interested in Women of Leeds - an exhibition of people and places with Mafwa Theatre and photographer Lizzie Coombes.

New funding of interest to arts and health work in Leeds:

National Lottery: Local Connections Fund

The Local Connections Fund is a new £4 million fund to help charities and community groups in England that are working to reduce loneliness.

This will fund hundreds of ‘microgrants’ between £300 and £2,500, so small, local organisations (with an annual income of £50,000 or less) can bring people and communities together. Details here
This programme opens 5th January 2021

Arts Council: Thriving Communities Fund

This funding is designed to increase social connectedness and help communities cope by working with those communities most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications must demonstrate a commitment to work with partner organisations from arts, health, care and other sectors in the course of the funded period. Following our event with Forum Central and Linking Leeds at the start of the month, a webinar on this fund created by the Culture Health and Wellbeing Alliance is now available to view here.
Deadline 8th January 2021

Leeds Community Foundation: Addressing Mental Health Inequalities in Minority Ethnic Groups Grants

Community groups, charities, social enterprises or other charitable organisations from the third sector can apply for £5,000 to £20,000 over two years.  Projects working with adultsfamilies or children should address one of the following:

  • Building capacity
  • Reducing stigma and increasing trust
  • Access to early intervention for developing mental health issues

Projects can involve use of creative approaches to engage and support people or fund a mental health professional to offer support in your work. Full details here.
Closing date 11th January 2021

For further information on upcoming contracts and social finance, as well as funding focused around the COVID-19 pandemic, visit Voluntary Action Leeds Funding Update here.

New opportunities and ways to get involved:

Call Out: Creative Wellbeing Facilitators

The Cultural Institute and Leeds Arts Health and Wellbeing Network invite applications from artists and creative facilitators to lead online creative wellbeing sessions for students. 
We expect to pay each facilitator up to £250 for preparation and delivery of the session, depending on experience and the session's alignment with project goals.
Deadline for applications: Monday 4 January 2021

Fragments Leeds: Nominate a Writing Pal

Whilst Fragments Leeds can't work with people, they wanted to provide some joy to people's door steps through the winter period. They are launching a pen-pal programme aimed at older people in Leeds and beyond but everyone interested is welcome to get involved. They are collecting nominations for the pen-pal scheme here.

The High Rise Project: Free art, film and photography workshops for ESOL learners

The Highrise Project are running 2 sets of workshops from January,
  • one for any people learning English as Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) in Leeds, which is a 10 week film and photography workshop, and
  • one for ESOL learners who live in social housing in Lincoln Green and Burmantofts, which is art and photography. 
Contact Victoria and Louise at to discuss this project, practice-based research or developing a participatory art project.

Ilkley Literature Fest: Trustee Vacancy

Ilkley Literature Festival (ILF) is looking for an enthusiastic and committed person with a strong financial background to join their Board in the role of Trustee with Special Responsibility for Finance. If you share ILF's passion for books, reading and writing and providing opportunities for people to engage with their own creativity and enjoy the creativity of other people, they’d like to hear from you. Read more here.

Leeds City Council: Economic Recovery Plan and Consultations

If you haven't had a chance to see it the economic plan for Leeds has been published and arts, health, care and community play key parts. Read more here.

There is a number of consultations open regarding budgets for cultural activities and parks and countryside through local government funding which members may be interested in. 

Make The Paint Dance: Midweek Mindfulness

Make the Paint Dance are offering free sessions via Instagram Live every Wednesday for 15 minutes. Listening to live meditative music and watch or, if you like, participate in drawing, painting and making with live meditative music. Watch live Wednesdays at 4pm or find recordings here.

Arts and Health Repository 

Twenty eight new resources have been uploaded in November alone to this international repository created through the Royal Society for Public Health. You can sign up for monthly alerts and if you have reports which should be included, it is easy to submit materials:

Music For Dementia: Resources for everyone

Music For Dementia UK have worked with the Office of the Chief Social Worker for Adults to co-produce a short and guide for Social Workers on the benefits of a musical approach for people living with dementia and how to apply it.
You can find toolkits and other resources for care homes, musicians and the general public here. Guides for link workers and social prescribers will follow shortly.

Creative Care Kits for Younger and Older People

This kits created through the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and a number of cultural and voluntary sector organisations and may be of interest in developing remote creative activities and developing collaborative work:

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

Tuesday 15th December 3:00-4:30PM BAPAM: Healthy Practice Community Drop-In for Performing Artists  "I am a musician: what does that mean during a pandemic?" with Miranda Jackson. Book here.

Wednesday 16th December 4:00-4:15PM Make The Paint Dance: Midweek Mindfulness Drawing, painting and making with live meditative music, a great way to relax halfway through the week taking place on Instagram Live. Details here.

Wednesday 16th December 6:30-8:30PM Love Arts, LAHWN, Arts Together Leeds and Giving Voice Choir: End of Year Celebration Full details at the start of this newsletter. Book your place here.

Thursday 24th December 2pm Hospital Rooms: Digital Art School
This is one of a series of sessions for mental health units and the general public that will continue into the new year. This session focuses on festive collage compositions. Details

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

New video relevant to arts and health work:

#BeyondMeasure: The Art Doctors Prescribe Creativity

The Art Doctors were commissioned by Beyond Measure to prescribe creativity to a small cohort of Leeds healthcare practitioners, over a few weeks in October and November 2020. You can pick up some ideas for creative wellbeing and meet the practitioners in their video here. The Art Doctors are interested in collaborating with healthcare and social prescribing to create a community where people can explore creativity and be agents of their own recovery. Learn more about their work and contact them here.

#BeyondMeasure: What does effective collaboration look like in culture and health work?

A video of the webinar chaired by Rob Webster, Chief Executive of South West Yorkshire NHS Foundation Trust (SWYFT) with panellists Mick Ward, former chair of LAHWN, Julia Puebla Fortier, from the Creative Facilitation research project at London School of Tropical Medicine and Lerato Dunn,  Arts Development Officer at Bristol City Council is now available. Watch here.

Kissing it Better and MHA Communities: Music and Care Settings

Sue Oliver from MHA Care homes has been in touch about their project over 2020 bringing Covid-safe, socially distanced, outside musical performances to MHA care homes and retirement communities. As part of a partnership with charity, Kissing it Better, three professional singers (Rebekka Jones, Tessa Smith and Martyn Roper) worked with MHA Communities in Leeds and Harrogate, bringing a range of music from the early 1900s, vintage and musicals through to the 60s, 70s and 80s.
They found that the breadth of music helped engage with older people of all ages, bringing relief and distraction from Covid and lockdown, as well as reviving memories and offering an opportunity to sing and dance along.  The highlight of this work is a 30 minute Summer Singalong film, which is now on the Digital Communities page of the MHA website for all to join in alongside advent resources:

If you want to know more, please contact Sue Oliver, Scheme Manager at MHA Communities Harrogate at

Recent podcasts about the Arts in Leeds, Health in Leeds and Arts and Health work:

Light On Leeds interviewed Abdullah Akebola from Leeds Mind's Young Black Minds project who also runs poetry event Say It With Your Chest. Listen here 

You can get a Leeds based arts perspective from Alex Palmer at Riptide and The Directors Diary podcast featuring Emma Beverley (from East Street Arts now at Leeds 2023).

Found Fiction's Look Closer podcast continues with an episode with local Joe Williams in Headingley and his work related to Leeds culture including the Otley Run.
Copyright © 2020 Leeds Arts Health and Wellbeing Network, All rights reserved.

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