Creativity Works

Creativity Works Newsletter November 2019
We hope there is something that appeals to you in this month's issue. Please do share this newsletter with a friend or colleague who might be interested. Thank you!

I was very interested to see recently the launch of The National Academy for Social Prescribing, backed by £5m of Government funding. It will aim to share best practice, develop accreditation and training and seek to improve the social prescribing evidence base. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "It's about all of us in health, arts, culture, sport, communities coming together around one simple principle: that prevention is better than cure."

Myself and my colleague Philippa, Creativity Works' Creative Wellbeing Manager, recently attended a Round table of community members and stakeholders convened by St. John's Foundation on behalf of Dr Andrew Smith of Combe Down GP Surgery at St. Andrew's Community Church in Fox Hill. At the meeting, Dr Smith re-iterated NHS England's ambition that Primary care networks will be supported by 1,000 social prescribing workers by April 2021. The plans for personalised care provision will see each network have access to a social prescriber link worker, whose salary will be fully funded by NHS England. The workers are being recruited to help patients find suitable activities that are a better alternative to medication. There is, however, yet to be any specific government funding for any of the activities that may be prescribed.

The conversations we had around the tables, although positive, highlighted much of the discrepancy in resources and wellbeing that are evident between the geographically close communities of Foxhill, Combe Down and the new Mulberry Park. Due to recent tensions in the area over housing-related matters, we know first-hand how difficult it has been for many of the residents of Foxhill, and we are determined to continue the successful, and much-needed, arts development work we have been delivering there for a couple of years.

The delivery of our work is very much focused around the prevention agenda and we do hope to work more closely with social prescribers and GP's going forward. It does sometimes feel that work that we, and many other artists and arts organisations, have been doing for a long time, working alongside people in communities to improve their mental health and wellbeing and boost community cohesion, is really only now being recognised more widely as both an impactful preventative health measure in itself and also a long-term cost saving exercise.

If you, or anyone you know would like to join our peer-led photography group, Foxhill Happy Snappers, please do get in touch with Philippa. Their most recent work will be exhibited at The Hub Mulberry Park from Saturday 9th November onwards. This exhibition is part of our on-going arts project called 'Made in Foxhill'. 

On Saturday 9th we will be holding a family arts day with theatre performances, animation, craft and cooking activities, as well as an artisan craft market. Do come along and enjoy the fun 10am-3pm The Hub, Mulberry Park. See inside this newsletter for further details.

Director, Creativity Works

Starting this week in Radstock...

The Radstock Wellbeing and Loving Life Group have recently come under the care of Creativity Works and Bath Mind and we are delighted to be supporting them with an upcoming series of creative sessions facilitated by artist Alicia Ridley

The group offers a safe and welcoming space to come and be inspired and to  explore your own  creativity.   The sessions, which start on the 7th November, will  have a theme to help navigate your artistic exploration with a sense of fun and  discovery . No previous art experience is necessary.
When: Thursdays  12 noon - 2pm   Dates: 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th November, 5th and 12th December
Where: Radstock Trinity Methodist Church
Cost: £2.50 per session

There's still some places available! To book your place, please contact Philippa on 01761 438852 or via email: 
Arts and crafts for all the family!
Saturday 9th November at Mulberry Park.

Made in Foxhill is our arts project working alongside the community in Foxhill to provide high quality creative activities for the area. We work with a dedicated steering group of co-producers, ensuring the residents of Foxhill are at the centre of the creative work that takes place. Our aim is to provide an inspiring mix of free activities for all ages.

Following a standout event at the end of last year, we are holding another event at The Hub, Mulberry Park. This collaboration will celebrate the 1st year birthday of The Hub itself, as well as an artisan market full of Foxhill and Combe Down makers and artists, and our very own arts event.

Come and join us and try animation, cartooning, craft and bread-making, and see a stunning new exhibition from resident photography group, Foxhill Happy Snappers. We will also be joined by Mat Finch from My Pub Choir, who will be leading an hour of singing for all ages and abilities. 

When: Saturday 9th November, 10am - 3pm.
Where: The Hub, Mulberry Park, Mulberry Way, Combe Down, Bath BA2 5BU

Stories of Change
As part of a new series called Stories of Change, we're interviewing people who've been involved with a Creativity Works Project to hear how it's helped them make positives changes to their life. These interviews will include participants, partners and volunteers.
Our first interview is with Judith Parr, Children's Centre Coordinator at the Radstock Children's Centre, who has been part of our My Time My Space programme for women with postnatal depression since 2009.
"Being part of My Time My Space has made me much more aware of the women who say 'yes, I'm fine', when you can see they aren't really. It's also made me braver." Judith Parr
How did you become involved with My Time My Space?
I joined as the Children's Centre coordinator in 2009 and heard about My Time My Space [MTMS] through my role. Having had personal experience of postnatal depression in 2007 when my own child was born, I was very keen to be involved. I didn't live in this area then and there wasn't really any support and I remember thinking 'there's got to be a better way.'
At this point MTMS had been running sporadically for 5 years. After seeing the model and a course in action at Peasedown Youth Centre, and how well it worked, I wanted to help make it more regular.
What difference does MTMS make?
The focus is on the creativity and the women feel safe to talk about how they feel. They know they aren't alone. There's something about the way MTMS works that is so effective, if we could bottle that and then share that across all the other groups that would be amazing!
For some women it's the fact that their child is being looked after - it's a big step for them as they have a fear of leaving their baby with others, but once they've seen how well cared for they are it can really change things for them.
We've found that the women who come for the first session - then come to the end. Quite a lot of work is done before the course starts. The women that have been referred are visited and that becomes part of the start of helping them to attend the creative sessions.
Lots of MTMS groups carry on meeting after the 12 weeks - the peer-support is key - some have now had friendships lasting over 10 years and have supported each other through all kinds of challenges.
All the artists we've worked with have been socially engaged so they are very flexible and multiskilled in their approach and understanding.
I've watched women join the courses and seen their confidence grow week by week. When some arrive, they don't want to make eye contact. But we've discovered that, by not making eye contact, this can facilitate deeper conversations.
Accepting that everything is ok, some women stare into a cuppa tea for an hour and their minds are just too busy, and that's ok if that's what you need to do!

Right: Judith earlier this year during her Masters graduation at Birmingham Symphony Hall.

What impact has being part of this project had on you personally?
I was so impressed by the project and the benefits I've seen, that I wrote my dissertation on creativity and postnatal depression.
I also take part in the exercises. Thinking with a different part of my brain made me realise how effective creativity is for supporting mental health. It's so much more than the kind of art I did at school.
I interviewed three women, one mum said 'if it hadn't been for MTMS, I wouldn't be here. It saved my life.'

What would you say to someone who's thinking about joining a MTMS course?
Give us a ring, give it a go, talk to somebody about how you are feeling. Your health visitor, children's centre, GP - talk to someone.
If you'd like to find out more about My Time My Space - please contact Philippa at Creativity Works on 01761 438852 or Michelle Lander at Radstock Children's Centre on 01225 396660.  The next antenatal starts on 5th November.
MTMS overview

  MTMS has been running since 2004 as a highly successful model in an innovative creativity and wellbeing partnership between Creativity Works, Children's Centres in Bath & North East Somerset and developed in Wiltshire in 2011 and South Glos in 2014.
Have you been part of a My Time My Space or another Creativity Works course? Would you like to share your story?  Please contact if you've like to be part of our Stories of Change interview series.
Artist Profile: Helen Luff
Tell us a bit about yourself and your artistic medium:

I trained as an Occupational therapist nearly 20 years ago and continue to love the therapeutic process. I am particularly interested in positive psychology as a method to understand the workings of the mind, with strategies to shift and support mental wellbeing. Exploring a variety of creative multi-media techniques to express and process difficult emotions is key to this whole experience.

What project/s are you currently working on with Creativity Works?

Currently I am working on the 'Futures Bright' pilot project with Creativity Works.

The development of this 12 week course based around the 5 Ways to Wellbeing has been both a learning curve and completely absorbing creatively. I've been struck by the creative 'flow' on many occasions with hours passing by while I enter a deeper level of creativity.

With a mix of positive psychology theory,practical exercises and creative activity the group is co-creating a toolkit to manage mental challenges.

Already half way through, the group support and connectivity is inspiring.

Who inspires you and why?

Jen Gash continues to inspire me with her authenticity, creativity, determination, bravery, humour, deep kindness & generosity. What inspires me about Jen is her openess about her own challenges and her ability to continue being a creative force for growth.
Artist Helen Luff, who is currently running our Future's Bright course in Shepton Mallet.
What book or exhibition has inspired you recently?

I loved reading the inspirational autobiography 'The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah . He writes with such honesty and humour about his extraordinary life.
What's been your biggest professional, personal or creative achievement to date?

It's not always easy to look back and identify achievements but I think on a personal note getting to a place of relative wellbeing and self confidence is definitely up there after life-long emotional struggles.

What are your creative aspirations? (with or without Creativity Works)?

Aspirations are exciting with more creative development with Creativity Works and Futures Bright. I see the expansion of my own therapeutic practice working with groups and individuals.

What advice would you give an emerging socially engaged artist?

Take small steps, take a risk, put yourself out there even if your scared, feel the fear and do it anyway. The worst that can happen is you stay where you are and the best that can happen is you connect with people who give you an opportunity to fly. Connection is everything. Learn to love yourself despite your mistakes and silliness.
Where can people find you on social media?

Contact me via Creativity Works.
Other News 
Taking on History exhibition of photos by Snap and Stroll at the Bath Architecture Museum 
Photographs by participants of one of Creativity Work's Snap & Stroll projects, are now on display at the Museum of Bath Architecture. The photos were taken at Beckford's Tower last September and show the many hidden delights of this historic building. 

Snapshot of World Mental Health Day, Bath

Beautiful handmade lanterns lit the streets of Bath on 10th October as part of the World Mental Health Day Awareness celebrations.  On arrival at Bath Abbey, everyone was greeted with song and given the opportunity to add to the Creativity Works Wishing Tree. "It was a truly spectacular event and was wonderful to see so many people coming together and talking about Mental Health," said Philippa, Creative Wellbeing Manager.
Creating buildings that support wellbeing
Last week, for the 3rd year running, Creativity Works delivered two workshops for MA students at the University College London, focused on the 5 Ways to Wellbeing and how the '5 Ways' can relate to the built environment.  Students were from all over the globe and from a variety of educational disciplines and experience levels.
A variety of creative facilitation techniques were used to encourage the students to engage with the 5 ways and to use them to inform the design of a variety of buildings. One of the students told us that he had experienced a "creative explosion" and another said it was a "fantastic way to wake my tired brain up" for the day. We look forward to seeing their building designs in the future!

Creativity Works Peer-Led Groups
Foxhill Happy Snappers Photography Group 
An opportunity to experiment with photography, share stories about the social history of Foxhill / Combe Down whilst learning new skills and creative ways to express yourself. Take part in short walks and discussions. 

When: Thursdays 11am-1pm 
Where: Foxhill Community Centre.
Bring a camera / smartphone / tablet if you can. No previous experience is necessary. 

Contact Max for details and to register interest: 01225 316199 
or please contact Philippa 01761 438852

An exhibition by the Foxhill Happy Snappers will be on show at the Hub event on Saturday 9th November.
Keynsham Snap & Stroll Peer Support Group 
A friendly, informal and sociable group that enjoys taking photos and promoting wellbeing.  If you've got a camera, phone or tablet and you want to walk, talk and take pictures then this group is brilliant!

When: Wednesday mornings, Keynsham. 
Facebook PageKeynsham Snap & Stroll

Contact Max for details and to register interest: 01225 316199 
or please contact Philippa 01761 438852
Writing Space
Would you like to develop Creative Writing Skills and connect with other writers and the world around you?

Writing Space, one of our peer-led groups, are currently exploring the theme of 'Looking Back' through exploring memories, events in our lives and how fiction styles use this to fire-up the imagination. They are working towards an anthology and attending some spoken word events and invite you to join their weekly sessions:

"Come and join us to learn simple practices to rebuild confidence in writing, draw on life experiences and kindle creativity through words. The focus is on enjoyment, sharing and connecting with others through creative writing"

The group meet on Tuesday afternoons 1 pm - 4pm, central Bath

About Writing Space

Writing Space is a peer-led project for people of all writing skills who would like a safe place to develop and present their writing. The group is suitable for adults who would like to support their wellbeing and mental health through creativity. Please note that there is no specific mental health support, but safe, respectful space is a priority. 

Occasionally  sessions are outdoors, so please be prepared for easy walking and various weathers!  To join in c ontact Philippa Forsey either on 01761 438852 or email
Get Creative
Are you looking to experiment with different arts materials and techniques? Get Creative peer-led visual art group in Bath, could be just right for you. The small groups' aim is to support personal wellbeing through creativity. We'll let the group introduce themselves...

"We are a social group of people who like to explore art through new materials and mediums, learning new things and sharing new approaches. We meet weekly to create alongside others and bounce ideas about. It's a nice atmosphere, a safe, friendly, relaxing space to experiment and try out new techniques. It's  creative time for myself'" 

Tuesday afternoons 1.15pm - 3.15pm Odd Down

The weekly group offers an opportunity to meet others, learn and share creative ideas and gain confidence in a safe and friendly environment.   All members help plan further sessions and creative activity.

If you would like to join  please contact Philippa 01761 438852
Other Opportunities
SWCTN Data Fellowship Call Now Live!
The South West Creative Technology Network (SWCTN) is a £6.6m government funded project to promote creative tech across the south west. They are looking to recruit 24 research fellows in the area of data: 8 from industry, 8 from academia and 8 new talent.  New talent includes those who are in early stages of their career, those just emerging from a career break, education or training and those who are beginning to include aspects of digital creativity in their work and thinking.
SWCTN is interested in fellowship proposals that encompass bold, creative, challenging, cross-sector thinking in the broad field of data. This includes the ethical challenges around data capture and storage, data retrieval, data bias, data ownership, data literacy, as well as the role of data in sustainability across issues relating to, for example, the climate emergency, Internet of Things and Smart Cities. Fellows each receive a £12K bursary to support time and research costs; this is a flexible part-time opportunity. 
SWCTN is a collaboration between Bath Spa University, UWE, University of Plymouth and Falmouth University, Watershed in Bristol and Kaleider in Exeter. Fellowships run from April 2020 to January 2021 with most of the required time commitment in the first three months.   Call closes: 9 December 2019, 5pm
Find out more details here .

You can discuss your application at a 1:1 surgery in Bath on 11 November and 3 December at the BSU Enterprise and Innovation Hub, 10 Palace Yard Mews, Bath, BA1 2NH. Email to book your place.
New Paper Nations commission, Time to Write, breaks down barriers to writing in the South-West

Creative Writing Incubator Paper Nations has launched commissions for writers who face barriers to developing their writing and having their voices heard. The commission will support writers from under-represented groups and backgrounds from Somerset, Gloucestershire, South Gloucestershire, and Wiltshire.
Commissions of up to £1,000 each will provide writers with time and space to write, as well as fantastic opportunities such as mentoring from professional authors and free spaces on writing courses.

The application process is open and and runs to midnight on January 5th, 2020. Applications will be judged by a pool of experienced writers, agents, and educators. Details can be found HERE
New St.John's website with useful link to what's available in BANES 
St.John's have launched a new website covering what's available across BANES: BANES info & services
Free Training
Making Every Contact Count (MECC) Training
There are still some spaces on the following Make Every Contact Count Training courses:
  • November 13th and 20th
  • December 4th and 11th
  • January 16th and 23rd
  MECC is about supporting people to make the most of every opportunity they have with the millions of people they come into contact with every day. Everyone who interacts with the public is able to make a difference to the health and wellbeing of the population by encouraging and supporting individuals to change behaviours that may be damaging to their health. Telling people what to do is not the most effective way to help them change. 

MECC is a skills-based training opportunity that encourages a different way of working and interacting to address their health and wellbeing.

Free Connect 5 Training  Everyday skills for talking with adults in distress
The Connect 5 training programme is an accessible, evidenced based course that is relevant to everyone who works or meets with the public. It provides participants with skills and competencies that build confidence in having conversations about mental health and wellbeing. It presents tools to empower others to take proactive steps to build resilience and look after themselves. Connect 5 takes the position that we don't need to be mental health specialists to support those who are experiencing emotional and mental health problems.  Booking now for November to March dates:  Click here for full course info, dates & booking
Note from October Newsletter:  Additional to last month's newsletter - The eagle eyed among you might have noticed that only 9 artists were mentioned in the Holding Space Exhibition. This was due to the fact that although part of the Holding Space group, The Tenth Artist Katy Burge, didn't exhibit at Walcot Chapel.
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Leigh House
1 Wells Road
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