Creativity Works

Creativity Works Newsletter December 2017
Read all about our current work, get in touch for more info and please share with a friend or colleague to help us spread the word. 
Director's Blog

Amongst the many articles, blogs and research documents that I strive to read, but in truth, very rarely manage the time to completely digest, there was one this week that struck me, from The Stage. Its focus was on theatre and engagement, entitled, "Theatre with, not for, local communities is the way forward." There was much that I agreed with in this commentary, although for those of us working in Socially Engaged Arts for a number of years, we have been singing from this hymn sheet for a while. I was especially drawn to hearing that at the Engage conference in Hull at the end of November, Arts Council England's deputy chief executive Simon Mellor indicated that Arts Council England's strategy is likely to move from "great art for everyone" to "great art with everyone". I also thoroughly reinforce David Jubb's words regarding Creativity: "People who work in culture have easy access, and a level of expertise, to one of the most powerful ways of bringing people together and making positive change: our shared creativity."

As I mention, this is not news to us, or many of our colleagues working in the same field, but it is a very welcome recognition that the quality of artistic process is often in the engagement and the interaction between artist and participant/audience. It is the 'togetherness', the 'alongsideness' and the essential element of 'doing with' rather than to that is the mark of our work.

There is no better example of this than in our long-term, commissioned project, the Mental Health Creative Support Service. We work with people living with mental health challenges across Bath and North East Somerset, providing them with high quality creative engagement opportunities, and a progression model that means they are in control of their own creative journey personally and as a collective. The results of this process are overwhelmingly positive, giving people inspiration, focus and social interaction in their lives through the creative process. Our artists work alongside the participants, inspiring and empowering them to explore, develop and grow. The outputs of this work result in high profile exhibitions such as our current photography exhibition at No1 Royal Crescent, festivals such as the recent How I Make it Work programme at 44AD Art Space, and sublimely written anthologies of writing from one of our peer-support groups, Writing Space. This is just a snapshot of the myriad of work undertaken this year in the project that continues to be a flagship initiative for people with mental health challenges, and has garnered local, regional, national and international plaudits.

At our recent away day, the board of trustees acknowledged that with the equivalent of only 3.1 full time staff, our reach, quality and impact is remarkable. This is down to the hard work, expertise and dedication of our staff, artists and volunteers, whom I thank wholeheartedly for their commitment to the cause.

And so, inevitably, it is Christmas. Next year's diary is already filling up and we look forward to many dynamic, cogent and inspiring projects to come.


Director, Creativity Works
2017 in Review
During this past year Creativity Works have evolved a wide range of programmes, workshops, training opportunities for artists, participants, volunteers and communities. The breadth and depth of these has been far reaching and too numerous to detail here but some highlights include:
  • The continued development of our co|Create programme supporting artists working in the field of Socially Engaged Arts.
  • The continuation of our highly acclaimed Fresh Art@ programme - a partnership project supported by Creativity Works, Avon & Wiltshire NHS Mental Health Partnership Trust (AWP), The Holburne Museum, No1 Royal Crescent, The American Museum in Britain and Virgin Care.
  • Community Matters: working with the University of Bath to undertake a research project to gain a better understanding of the effect arts and the creative process has on the lives of group members of Creative Peer Support Groups.
  • Pilot of a Creative Skills for Carers programme in collaboration with Bath College.
  • Participation in The All Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing Inquiry exploring the impacts of creative interventions.
  • Participation in the International Conference of Culture, Health and Wellbeing.
  • Curating How I Make It Work: a Week long exhibition and creative workshopfest as part of World Mental Health Day at 44AD Gallery in Bath.
  • Participation in two national business develop initiatives; 'Boosting Resilience' and 'Prosper'.
  • Continuing The Summer Wellbeing Challenge, a month of creative activity based around the 5 ways to wellbeing, empowering those taking part to share their creative experiences digitally through social media and our website
  • Working in partnership with the University of the West of England to research a network of community groups for people affected by mental health difficulties living in B&NES. This resulted in the 'What Works for Peer Support Groups' and the creation of a practical Toolkit for developing peer led groups and for training of peer leaders in B&NES.
  • The development of a new pilot project, The Radstock Arts Project, aimed at vulnerable young women.
  • A new commission from Somerset Libraries, to be delivered next year, re-designing library spaces alongside people with autism.
  • The appointment of Creativity Works as the Cultural Producer as part of a new arts engagement and community development initiative led by Bath and North East Somerset Council focussed on two areas of the district, Foxhill and the Somer Valley
  • The continuation of Creative Links, the mental health creative support service in partnership with Virgin Care
  • Re-established the My Time My Space project for mothers experiencing post-natal depression, anxiety and low mood with B&NES Children's Centres, Health Visiting teams and Bath College.

Community Matters: Creativity Works

Community Matters Film: Creativity Works

We'd like to extend a HUGE Thank You to all of the partners we have worked with throughout  2017. Together we are stronger!

Arts Council England, AWP, Balsam Centre, B&NES Council, B&NES Wellbeing College, Bath College, Creative Perspectives, Bath Artist's Studios, Bath Fringe, Bath Mind, Bath Spa University, Community Links Team, Virgin Care, Genesis, Heads-up, Health Visiting Teams, Quartet Foundation, Royal United Hospital, Somerset Community Foundation, South West Foundation, St. Mungo's, The Holburne Museum, No.1 Royal Crescent, The American Museum, University of Bath, WATCH, Writing Space, Youth Connect, What Next? Culture.
And Thank You to all our artists, volunteers and participants who continue to inspire us with their creative talents.

We wish you, our valued newsletter readers, a joyful and creative Christmas and look forward to a 2018 full of inspiration, empowerment and sparkle.

Olly, Philippa, Morwhenna, Nat, Stuart and Betty (the CW office dog!)
The Creativity Works Team

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With Best Wishes,

The Creativity Works Team

For more information:
Tel: 01761 438852    Email:  

Supported by Bath & North East Somerset Council and Arts Council England

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