National Alliance for Arts Health and Wellbeing – a charter for arts and health

Over the past year, regional organisations from across the country have been working together to establish a new National Alliance for arts, health and wellbeing. As part of this process, a series of events are taking place across England to develop a Charter that will set out the mutual values for those working in arts, health and wellbeing and embody the founding principles for a National Alliance.

South East Arts and Health Partnership, Arts and Health East and London Arts in Health Forum have teamed up to plan several events to help create this Charter. These events are taking place through January, members of all organisations are invited to attend any of the events. The first of these happened this week in London but if you missed that, there are still some places available at the remaining events:

Tuesday 17th January 12.30 – 4pm Brentwood Essex: This event is specially designed for mental health service users to look at the impact of participating in the arts. Speakers include Gavin Clayton, Director of Arts and Minds

Thursday 26th January 2pm-5pm Addenbrooke’s Hospital Cambridge – This event will look at the ways in which the arts can be delivered in hospital and community settings. Speakers include Ruth Sapsed Director of Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination

Monday 30th January 10.30 – 15.00 Redhill This event will look generally at the ways in which the arts are being used to improve health and wellbeing and will draw together some conclusions from all the events. Welcoming address by Farhang Tahzib, Senior Consultant in Public Health, NHS West Sussex.

All the events are free to attend but places are limited. For more information and to book for any of the events, please contact the following:
For the London and Cambridge events: Damian Hebron, LAHF –
For the Brentwood event: Kirsten Heydinrych, Open Arts –
For the Redhill event: Bernice Murray – South East Arts and Health –

The numbers of people working in arts and health in this part of the country and the broad range of work being carried out, regional artists, organisations and service users have a key contribution to make to this important national initiative. Therefore, we want to start the conversation now, to draw out important considerations and establish a baseline before the event. Whether you are able to attend one of the January events or not, we are inviting to you to contribute responses and begin the debate online. (To get involved, e:

The following questions will be in common across all the regional events:
Why are the arts important to health and wellbeing?
How do the arts contribute to the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities?
How do we maximise the impact and value of the arts?
In addition to these general questions, we’d like to know what you think are the key considerations relating to arts and health practice in the current climate.

Arts and Health South West recently ran an event asking arts and health practitioners to define “why we do the work we do”. In the North West, they have created a Manifesto for Arts and Health – in the West Midlands, they are debating the merits of a Code of Practice in arts and health.

The South East/London/East events are your opportunity to shape and develop this work and to help with establishing a new National Alliance for Arts Health and Wellbeing.

To whet your appetite, this is a section from the North West region’s first draft of a manifesto for arts and health:
“Our manifesto is just as much about education as it is health; the arts as it is science, communities as it is the individual. Well-being is central to our vision. The arts are central to fulfilling our fundamental human rights.
this is not a quick fix
this is not about benign lumps of municipal sculpture
this is not about reducing the arts to a cost-effective prescription
this is about well-being
this is about democracy
this is about human flourishing
this is about new ways of understanding impact and value
this is about solidarity.”

Book your place at your chosen event now as places are limited.