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Practising well: conversations and support menu.

Naismith, Nicola


Nicola Naismith



Participatory arts are proven to support our heath and wellbeing, as evidenced in the "Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing" report from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Arts Health and Wellbeing, published in 2017. The arts are an opportunity for individuals and communities to explore, celebrate, and confront difficult topics and uncomfortable truths. The work that takes place between creative practitioner and participant can be collaborative, intuitive and exciting; it can also be difficult, challenging and demanding. Creative careers are often built on adapting, flexing and self-resourcing, which embeds a coping and managing skill set. However the framework in which participatory arts is now operating has changed; social support has fallen increasingly to civil society, and the 'frontline' now includes many people working with the arts and culture. Participants bring increasingly complex and vulnerable positions into participatory arts opportunities, which in turn leads to an intensification and diversification of experience, for both participant and creative practitioner. Through the Covid-19 pandemic, boundaries of practice have been altered, and the need to re-invent long-established and carefully developed practices has been demanding. New logistics have been worked out during the process of delivery, placing a further requirement to adapt on the creative practitioner. Add to this the difficulties of establishing a career in the arts and the increased competition for funding, and the load placed on individual creative practitioners is unsustainable. There is a culture of coping in the arts, and we urgently need to gather more detailed and honest accounts of participatory arts work, reflect and then implement positive action. Only by doing this will creative practitioners have the opportunity to do what they do best: lead through creative practice, providing opportunities for connection, reflection, exploration and enjoyment, whilst also having their own health and wellbeing protected. Support for creative practitioners was already needed - now it is critical: this report focuses on practical ways to achieve best and sustainable practice.


NAISMITH, N. 2021. Practising well: conversations and support menu. Aberdeen: Robert Gordon University [online]. Available from:

Report Type Project Report
Online Publication Date Nov 30, 2021
Publication Date Nov 30, 2021
Deposit Date Dec 14, 2021
Publicly Available Date Jan 10, 2022
Publisher Robert Gordon University
Keywords Artists; Creative industries; Mental health; Wellbeing
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