The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted existing health inequalities across society. A large and growing body of evidence tells us that cultural engagement has a key role in helping to helping to address health inequalities within our communities.
Many of ACHWS membership are committed to increasing opportunities to engage with the arts and culture within health, social care and community settings. There is a huge amount of expertise and innovation within this community of practice, but there is also so much still to learn as we look to tackle the shocking gaps in equity highlighted by the pandemic.
How do the arts and culture contribute to tackling these inequalities? How can we ensure that our understanding of culture is varied and diverse? How do we continue to widen access to creative and cultural opportunities to support wellbeing? As a community, one amongst many rich and diverse communities, how can we as individuals and organisations make sure that we don’t perpetuate inequalities that exist elsewhere in the system? The arts, culture, heritage, health and social care sectors increasingly overlap, so what can we learn from one another?
As a network ACHWS hopes to offer a platform to ask questions and bringing different voices, perspectives, disciplines and sectors together. For this reason we decided to use our first newsletter to focus on the role the arts and culture can play in helping to address health inequalities. Over the Winter months we will be hosting a series of online conversations exploring the role the arts and culture more generally can play in helping to address health inequalities. The programme will cover many themes and perspectives including: mental health, food poverty and women’s health.
We’re sure many of you will already be having similar conversations, and we hope that together we can inform cross-sector dialogue and advocacy for the impact the arts and culture can have on health and wellbeing.
Please get in touch if you would like to share your experiences and any work you are involved in. We would especially like to hear from people who are often under-represented within conversations about arts, culture, health and wellbeing.
image credit: Artlink Edinburgh & Lothian