The Scottish Government has launched its Culture Strategy with a strong focus on health and wellbeing. As part of this strategy, we are delighted to announce that we have received some initial support to develop Arts Health Scotland into a larger network entitled Arts Culture Health and Wellbeing Scotland (ACHWS). Our ambition for ACHWS is that it will continue to develop and grow and to meet our shared ambitions for arts and culture in supporting improved health and wellbeing in Scotland. ACHWS will support practitioners and organisations to engage more fully with the health and wellbeing agenda in Scotland, working to include a range of different art forms, settings and disciplines.
To explore the amazing contributions that practitioners and organisations already make to the wider public health environment a programme of events is in planning, the first of which will focus on the role of arts and culture addressing Loneliness and Social Isolation. This will take place on 31 March at Perth Museum – the event is sold out, but you can join the waiting list here. This event builds on the Keeping the Conversation Going event last summer and earlier events held across Scotland.
ACHWS is in the process of seeking SCIO status. It is Chaired by Robbie McGhee (Associate Director, Art in Hospital) and the Secretary is Claire Stevens (Chief Executive, Voluntary Health Scotland). Other committee members are Lucy Casot (CEO, Museums Galleries Scotland), Anne Crandles (Social Prescribing/Community Link Worker Network Manager, Edinburgh Health & Social Care Partnership), Chris Fremantle (Senior Research Fellow and Lecturer in Contemporary Art Practice, Gray’s School of Art), Chris Kelly (Projects Coordinator, Tayside Healthcare Arts Trust), Anne Lee (Organisational Lead for Health and Work Award Programmes, NHS Health Scotland), Len McCaffer (Arts Development Officer at West Lothian Council and Doctoral Researcher, University of West of Scotland), Barbara McEwan Gulliver (Artistic Director, Art in Hospital), Fiona O’Sullivan (Arts Programme Manager, Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity), Jan-Bert van den Berg (Director, Artlink), and Katey Warran (Doctoral Researcher, Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society and Coordinator, Arts Health Early Career Research Network).