Inequality | Power | Sustainability – The Culture Health and Wellbeing International Conference 2021

conference logo

conference logoCulture, Health and Wellbeing International Conference (CHW21), 21-23 June 2021 

Inequality | Power | Sustainability


Drawing on over 200 submissions from 20 countries, there will be 100+ live sessions and 10 country panels from around the world. CHW21 will showcase inspiring arts and health work from across the globe and encourage lively debates informed by different perspectives spanning policy, research, practice, lived experience and co-production.


Based on three key themes – Inequality | Power | Sustainability, the digital programme will provide a space for exploring individual and collective experiences and articulating a vision for the future. Designed to engage audiences from around the world with key notes in the morning, afternoon and evening and interactive sessions that take into account different time zones for presenters and audiences, tickets offer full access to the 3-day live programme, as well as access to recordings of sessions on demand between 21st-25th June.


  • Early Bird Tickets – £150 (on sale until 7th May)
  • Regular Tickets – £200 (on sale from 8th May – 7th June)


Find out more including how tickets can be shared, and book an early bird ticket-

“With Age, Art and Life Become One”, the role of culture in the health & wellbeing of older people.

image of an older person enjoying music

2 – 4pm, Wednesday 19th May 2021

Online event via Zoom.

This is an Arts Culture Health and Wellbeing Scotland event. image of an older person enjoying music

With a title inspired by a quotation from Georges Braque, at this event we will explore the role arts and culture play in the health, wellbeing and care of older people whether they live independently or in residential/nursing care and for those who are in hospital.

Older people’s lives have been significantly affected by Covid-19, not least the distressing levels of social isolation and loneliness very many have endured for over 12 months. The removal of much appreciated activities, human contact and services have taken their toll physically, mentally and spiritually on our older population.

How have arts and culture interventions made a difference during these difficult days, what challenges have been faced, and how can the lessons learned help shape the recovery and renewal of services for the future?

What can the arts, culture and care sectors share and learn from one another about compassionate, person-centred and enabling care?

What do we mean by art and life becoming one with age?

Join the conversation to find out more.

Speakers confirmed:

Claire Stevens, Chief Executive, Voluntary Health Scotland
Robbie McGhee, Chair of Arts, Culture, Health and Wellbeing Scotland and Associate Director, Art in Hospital
Donald Macaskill, Chief Executive, Scottish Care
Anne Gallacher, Director, Luminate
Barbara McEwan-Gulliver, Artistic Director, Art in Hospital
Joe Traynor, Head of Museums Development, Museums Galleries Scotland
Leesa Mackintosh, Community Link Worker & Alison Leitch, Community Link Worker, Area Lead, North Edinburgh

Register here:

“Every child is an artist”, the Role of Culture in the Health & Wellbeing of Young People

image of young people enjoying workshop

Join Arts Culture Health and Wellbeing Scotland (ACHWS) to discuss the role of the arts in improving the wellbeing of children and young people.

2 – 4pm Wednesday 9th June 2021

An online event via Zoom.

image of young people enjoying workshop

Following on from the ACHWS event on the arts and older people, this event will focus on the role of arts and culture on the health and wellbeing of children and young people.

Bringing together a range of arts and health practitioners, this event will discuss the impact and issues but also look forward to the role the arts can play in recovering and reshaping the future. The impact on the mental health of children and young people has been huge and the full extent of this is still unknown.

What creative ways can we work together to improve health and mental wellbeing of young people in Scotland?

Speakers confirmed:

  • Claire Stevens, Chief Executive, Voluntary Health Scotland
  • Robbie McGhee, Chair of Arts, Culture, Health and Wellbeing Scotland and Associate Director, Art in Hospital
  • Kara Christine, Project Co-ordinator, the Socialites, Artlink
  • Vikki Doig, Youth Theatre Arts Scotland
  • Jed Milroy, General Manager, Tinderbox Collective
  • Aileen Ritchie, Ignite Theatre in Glasgow

Register here:

Room for Art- Keeping participants creative and well in their homes during Covid 19

Room for Art is Art in Healthcare’s social prescribing project, providing visual arts workshops facilitated by professional artists. Our participants are referred by GPs, OTs, community link workers, social care agencies, and through self-referral.

Our participants are people who were already very vulnerable prior to the COVID 19 crisis. They suffer from mental health issues (including depression, self-harm, suicidal thoughts), long-term health conditions, are socially isolated and experience loneliness. Many of our participants have caring responsibilities and are experiencing challenging living/ housing conditions. They include people with disabilities and people who are financially vulnerable.

Our community partners include; Whale Arts, Wester Hailes Health Agency, North Edinburgh Arts, Piershill Library, ELREC, Redhall Walled Garden (SAMH), Vocal and Streetwork.

When our workshops were suspended in mid-March, we adapted to make sure we could offer continued support to our participants. We currently engage with 70+ participants who usually meet at community venues. Our role has been to help keep people well through connection and creativity, often we are the only service they engage with.

“Since lockdown the staff have worked hard to keep us connected…This has had a big impact on my mental health… enabling me to reconnect to things I find valuable” Participant

We set up a new project called ‘Room for Art at home’ and completely changed our way of working which has included:

  • Regular posted packages with high quality art materials (sponsored by Greatart and Edinburgh Art Shop), cards and art activity sheets.
  • A strong social media presence including a Facebook Group and regular interactive workshops.
  • Weekly Zoom workshops exploring different techniques and materials – a chance to come together and share.
  • Resources including video demonstrations, artist inspirations and activity cards with a focus on surroundings and materials found at home.
  • Opportunities to take part in including participant instigated, online exhibition ‘Living in 2020’, and a colour and doodle book designed by participants and delivered to Streetwork to support those affected by homelessness.
450+ art material packs 
200+ attendances 
at 30 Zoom workshops
50+ digital 
resources produced

Our poster will explore the impact of arts and creativity to support mental health in time of crisis and the importance of making participants feel valued and part of a community.

“I’d had a bad morning…and the Zoom class really helped. It was good to focus on simple creative activities and feel connected to and able to interact with people…I went on to have a much better second half of the day..” Room for Art Participant

For some participants, this year has brought them to crisis point and they have had difficulty in self managing their health. For some that are quite isolated already, life has not been very different and for others, lockdown brought some relief to their anxiety. Covid 19 has given us the opportunity to learn more about the lives of those we work with and work in a way we have been looking to develop for years. It opens up the project to so many other people that are unable to attend art workshops in person.

We will look at what we have learnt working in this way and what we have planned for the future.

Find out more:

Online exhibition:

Facebook – @ROOMFORARTEdinburgh   Instagram –

Iona McCann is the Outreach Manager at Art in Healthcare

View Art in Healthcare poster for the VHS Annual Poster Competition here.


Art in Hospital Glasgow has developed LOOKING THROUGH A WINDOW in response to Covid 19  so that it can continue to provide a service to patients and NHS staff and Care providers. Although currently unable to deliver our art sessions in person, this online resource is there so that patients can continue to access the art programme and make and develop their own art.

Vists the new website here.

Launch of new survey to map arts, culture, health and wellbeing activity across the UK

Arts Culture Health and Wellbeing Scotland (ACHWS) are delighted to be collaborating with Nesta, on behalf of the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance (CHWA), and the Wales Arts, Health & Wellbeing Network (WAHWN) to get a national picture of arts, culture, health and wellbeing. If you are involved in the management or delivery of arts, culture, health and wellbeing projects or services in the UK, please support the project by participating here. We have also provided more detailed information with Q&A’s below. Thank you for your support.


Who’s asking? The information is being collected by Nesta, on behalf of the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance (CHWA), Arts Culture Health and Wellbeing Scotland (ACHWS) and the Wales Arts, Health & Wellbeing Network (WAHWN). We are not collecting names or e-mail addresses and it will not be possible to identify individual respondents from any resulting reports.

What’s this for? We want this exercise to be of use to you, in 3 ways.

  1. Honing the support on offer to you: Your response will help CHWA, ACHWS and WAHWN to understand their membership so that they can better tailor their activities to your needs.
  2. Getting a national picture of this work: Your answers will be anonymised, aggregated and shared back to you, to help you understand how you fit within the ecosystem of culture, health and wellbeing work.  The aggregated results will also be shared publicly to help others understand the national picture of culture, health and wellbeing activity (it will not be possible to identify individual respondents from this). 
  3. Covid-19: This survey will help to shape, and advocate for, the support on offer to you in the coming weeks and months – both during and beyond the pandemic.

The collective membership of CHWA, ACHWS and WAHWN is over 4,000, so this is a unique opportunity to gather the true picture of this work that is very dispersed and, we believe, often undervalued.

What are you asking? We are asking about your location, culture/art form, the broad aims of your work with respect to health and wellbeing, and operational information including the type of organisation you are and how the work you do is funded.

In particular, funding information will greatly help us establish the true national and regional picture of this work.  We understand this is sensitive information, so we have deliberately simplified funding categories: we are not asking you to name specific funding relationships or give your annual turnover, profit/loss, salaries or artist rates.  If you only feel able to give estimates, please do so.

This should take around 10-15 minutes to complete. There are around 40 questions, all tick-box or short answers. All responses are anonymous and are hugely valuable, so thank you for taking the time to do this.

The survey will close for responses at 9am on Monday 11 May 2020. Results will be made available by CHWA, ACHWS and WAHWN as soon as possible after this, by the end of May 2020.


If you are based in England, please also consider filling in CHWA’s separate diversity survey. CHWA are asking this to help ensure they are creating an alliance that is truly representative of practice and research in this area.   

Thank you

The role of arts and culture in addressing loneliness and social isolation

Tuesday, 31st March, 10.30am-3pm, Perth Museum & Art Gallery

Join us in keeping the conversation going regarding the value of arts and culture to our health and wellbeing.

Arts Culture Health and Wellbeing Scotland (formerly Arts Health Scotland) are delighted to announce a one-day event exploring the role that arts and culture can play in tackling social isolation and loneliness.

Including a series of spoken presentations, workshops and discussions led by those at the forefront of the field, this free event will explore the health and social issues concerning loneliness and isolation and set the stage for a collective, creative response through arts and culture.

Confirmed speaker:

Louise Mclean, Policy Advisor, Social Isolation & Loneliness Team, the Equality Unit, Scottish Government

More speakers and the full programme to be announced shortly.

Co-produced with Voluntary Health Scotland as part of the Keeping the Conversation Going event series.

This event is currently sold out. To join the waiting list, click here.