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As Social Prescribing Link Worker Day and World Mental Health Day coincided at the start of October LAHWN have been catching up with Space 2 Leeds and the Thriving Communities Partnership to see how things are going, now the project is at the half-way point, and aim to share an update soon. In the meantime lots to look forward as Leeds enjoys its 17th annual Light Night tonight and tomorrow with some arts and health focused installations.

In recognition of World Mental Health Day, a LAHWN Member and theatre practitioner Carrieanne Vivianette has written a guest blog reflecting on working in the arts. You may remember Carrieanne from her public workshop with LAHWN exploring mental health and the arts earlier this year. As an arts and health network, we recognise that working in arts and health sectors involves particular pressures and have begun to compile different wellbeing resources on our website. Do get in touch to tell us what you feel should be included.
Carrieanne Vivianette - Producer, Director and Performer at CVIV Arts Theatre

GUEST BLOG - CVIVArts Theatre: "Dramatic arts, a seductive nightmare"

In the earlier years of practicing my beloved dramatic arts, a lady questioned why I was doing this, describing it as a “nightmare on wheels”. I disagreed. Now, reflecting honestly, it often felt like a nightmare; drama activities influencing difficult thoughts and feelings. I know this to be common thinking. So why put yourself through a nightmare? Seemingly, working in the dramatic arts is a seductive nightmare.
 
Perhaps the “nightmare on wheels” metaphor was used because the seduction of child-like play and exploration that drama brings comes with the need to be: dependent on others, compromising and vulnerable. It can bring questions of the self and your place in the world with others, (mutual and self) respect – opportunities lie there.

Drama nurtures self-respect, but how much self-respect is needed to enter the space and explore? Sometimes, lots. Now, as an early career director, there is an absence of this for me, and the harsh reality of this situation is still there. Doing my theatre work inflames undesirable mental health. So...
 
  • Strategy one: change the internal monologue: “they don't deserve this” to “I don't deserve this”.
  • Strategy two: a structural technique in place for conversation and exploration during rehearsal.
  • Strategy three: new language used with those I am working with.
  • Strategy four: visible words written on my clip board: “Be clear, confident and move on”
  • Strategy five: self-help work done at home an hour a day.
 
I am not expecting “once and for all”, but I can try. Stagnation can be harder than trying, right?
 
Perhaps you're trying too? And would like to muse on this topic with me? Because, as once advised, self-development of this nature is not “work”, but an exciting “opportunity”.
 
Learn more about CVIVArts Theatre and their mental health related upcoming production: What Are You Hungry For?
Contact Carrieanne to talk about arts and mental health at carrieannevivianette@yahoo.co.uk

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

Arts and Health at Light Night Leeds 2021

Among the many installations on 14th and 15th October, LAHWN members at Artlink West Yorkshire have developed CHANGE - an immersive sound and light sculptural installation on the theme of weather in both urban and natural landscapes. CHANGE combines kinetic sculpture with animated projections to chart the progress of an unfolding weather front, immersing us into rain, lightning and a story raising issues of an increasingly volatile climate. It has been produced and created by artists in collaboration with adults with learning disabilities at Naburn Court Day Centre. You can find CHANGE at The Tetley where you can take part in a workshop happening both evenings.
You can also find a meditative projection by UK laser artist, Flora Litchfield, called Lasertonic, close to Leeds Station from 7.30pm onwards. This is a new immersive laser light installation with a spatial soundscape. It uses Chromotherapy, the use of colour to improve health and alter your mood, and Cymatics principles to create large optical illusions. 
Find out more about the Light Night Leeds 2021 here
If you can't make it to Light Night Leeds 2021 there is still an opportunity to attend Bradford is #LiT - a district-wide festival of light, which will culminate on Friday 5 and Saturday 6 November 2021 in Bradford city centre. Learn more here.

What's happening in LAHWN's focus areas?

LAHWN: Creative Ageing Treasury for Leeds

LAHWN is delighted to be working on a treasury of creative activities focused on what works for older participants and also for those who care for older people in a paid or unpaid capacity. 
We are already working with care staff, staff from Leeds Playhouse, and independent artists and will be developing our treasury based on national treasuries developed by Baring Foundation in 2019 and earlier this year and are keen to hear from members interested in contributing their own ideas.
Learn more about our call out and previous treasuries here
Contact us to get involved or to share your ideas

Yorkshire Dance: Last Call for Proposals for Ageless Festival

Attention all artists, researchers or groups interested in creating projects that reimagine age through dance! There are just three weeks left to submit a proposal for the next Ageless Festival planned for Summer 2022. Find full details on how to submit a proposal here.
Deadline: 1st November
Researchers at the University of Leeds want to talk to staff and volunteers in the health and care sector about your wellbeing.
Contact L.C.Pointon@leeds.ac.uk to take part
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.  

Funding available for arts and health projects:

The Leeds Fund: Micro Grants

Micro Grants support individuals and small voluntary groups to improve the lives of the people in their communities through volunteer-led activities that aim to make a positive difference. Individual people, active in their community, can apply as well as un-incorporated and un-constituted groups with income of under £2,500 in the past 12 months or who are new to funding. Available grants range from £100 to £500. Learn more here.
Deadline 29th October
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 and Funding Leeds here.

Opportunities for members and their networks in arts and health:

Speak with IT: Paid Creative Opportunities

Speak With IT is a charity working across Yorkshire helping people with aphasia (a language disorder which affects a person’s ability to speak, read, write and understand language) to work on communication goals which have been identified by themselves with the support of speech and language therapists and their carers. Their group in South Leeds is interested in developing a Christmas Choir as well as creative activities. The main challenge for an artist coming into this group would be understanding aphasia and how they would adapt their communication style to create light hearted, fun and inclusive sessions.

Christmas Crafts Co-ordinator £30 per hour - One 2 hour session 
Tuesday 16th November 1pm – 3pm

Venue: Tenants Hall Acre Close, Middleton, Leeds LS10 4HX

The crafts need to be inclusive for a varying range of abilities, simple and easy to complete within two hours. Speak With IT will cover the cost of the materials required to make the cards and crafts. If you are interested, Speak With IT would welcome a chat about your thoughts ideas and what materials would be required for the crafts.

CHOIR LEADER £30 per Hour - Four two hour sessions

Practises: Monday 15th November and Wednesday 1st December 1pm -3pm.

Venue: Tenants Hall in Middleton, South Leeds

Speak with IT are looking for someone to lead an Aphasia Choir which will be made up of keen volunteers who want to sing Christmas songs at a couple of public venues in Leeds and Wakefield to raise money for our charity.

The 2 performance dates have not yet been confirmed but will take place between 6th – 20th December

There are no expert singers here, just a requirement for the sessions to lead to an outcome of being able to sing popular Christmas songs.

Closing date 29th October.

To apply for either of these positions please send an expression of interest and details of relevant expereience/CV to jamesmajor@speakwithit.org.

Jumping The Middings: Call for participants over 50 who grew up in Bradford

Bradford born author Abda Khan and Bradford resident poet Sharena Lee Satti will be delivering creative writing and poetry workshops to people from diverse backgrounds aged 50 and over to explore and preserve their memories of growing in Bradford in the 1970s in the form of creative writing and poems which will be shared with wider audiences through digital and live events.
They are looking for twelve participants (currently resident anywhere) to take part in weekly online creative writing and poetry workshops on Wednesday evenings via Zoom as well as sharing events in November or early December 2021 (dates to be confirmed).
You do not need to have any prior creative writing experience, but must have a good understanding of the English language.
Please contact them as soon as possible as they will be responding on 17th October to confirm whether or not you have been successful. 
Email the project at jumpingthemiddings@gmail.com

New West Yorkshire Children and Young Peoples Mental Health Service: Call for Artwork

Artists from across the West Yorkshire are invited to submit work to be installed within the Red Kite View gallery space and reception area. 
Artists will be paid £250 per selected artwork.
Learn more here.
Deadline: 8th November

New resources for members in developing their knowledge and practice:

Artlink West Yorkshire: Evaluation of creative activities involving adults with complex needs from 2013 to 2020

Members who attended our event on research and evaluation last year may remember hearing Sylvie Fourcin from Light Night Leeds feastured organisation, Artlink West Yorkshire, describe they have used an ethnographic approach to measure the impact of their creative work with adults with learning and physical disabilities, people with mental health issues and older adults. You can read the resulting evaluation documents here.

Wellcome Centre: How dance makes a difference to health and wellbeing across the lifecourse

Research from the Wellcome Centre's Creative and Cultural Environments of Health team, based at the University of Exeter, has just been released. It includes: You can find all the details on this research here and learn more about their wider arts and culture research here.
Inspired by this research LAHWN members will be joining researchers from Arts Play Health to reflect on how dance can make a difference to health and wellbeing and how we can ensure opportunities for people who would most benefit from dance. Join us 4-5PM on Wednesday 27th October by signing up at the Arts Play Health website.

Singing for Health Network: guides for Social Prescribers/Link Workers and leaders of choirs & singing groups

The national Singing for Health Network, working with partners across the singing and health sectors, has created free, downloadable guides. If you're a social prescriber or run a choir or singing group and would like to find out more, visit their website to download the PDF guides.
Click here for resources on social prescribing to choirs and singing groups
To explore over 600 resources on arts and health visit the Arts and Health Repository here.

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

Thursday 14th and Friday 15th October 9.45AM to 3.15PM Leeds Arts University: Expanding Communities of Sustainable Practice This FREE two day symposium brings researchers, practitioners and activists together to discuss sustainable approaches to creative practices. Register here. 

Thursday 14th and Friday 15th October Light Night Leeds 2021 For 17 years, some of Leeds's most recognisable indoor and outdoor spaces have been transformed by spectacular artworks and captivating performances by local, national and international artists.  Find this year's programme here.

Tuesday 19th October 2.00 to 3.45PM Creative Ageing Development Agency (CADA): Older People & Cultural Engagement: Current perspectives This event will share insights into baseline data on older audiences for arts and heritage, the impact of the pandemic and approaches to academic and place-based research into creative ageing. The event will conclude with a panel discussion to consider next steps in understanding and developing this wide-ranging field of practice. Learn more and book here.

Wednesday 20th to 30th October Intercultured Festival 2021 Find a range of events from arts and social change to practical skills happening online and in person across Bradford and Keighley at the Eventbrite page.

Wednesday 27th October 4.00 to 5.00PM Arts Play Health and LAHWN: Dance and Health Chat LAHWN members will be joining researchers from Dance/Connect to reflect on how dance can make a difference to health and wellbeing - ensuring opportunities for people who would most benefit from dance. Sign up at the Arts Play Health website.

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 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

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:

PAR3TY Project: Dissemination an arts and cancer research pilot

The PAR3TY project is a partnership between the University of Leeds in the UK and Royal Roads University in Canada. In 2021 the project drew on the experience, expertise and insights of young cancer survivors to explore the potential for expressing their perspectives through a performative language that could effectively promote better understanding and positive change in the cancer care system. Watch videos produced by the participants in the initial pilot here: vimeo.com/user134119418.
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. 
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:
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