Welcome to Our New Board Members.

ACHWS held its AGM in August and were delighted to welcome three new board members – Lewis, Sally and Vanessa. Over the coming editions, we will introduce you to the wider board but wanted to start off by introducing our new faces.

Lewis Hou, Director, Science Ceilidh – Lewis is passionate about community engagement across the culture and research sector. He is leading on work exploring a more equitable system including through participatory grant making and capacity building with communities directly. He founded Science Ceilidh in 2016 whilst still doing neuroscience research.

The Science Ceilidh is an organisation focused on connecting communities, research, culture and wellbeing through supporting the trusted connectors – grassroots groups, librarians, youth workers, educators, and researchers – across Scotland to work together and be curious, get creative, build knowledge and networks, and action social change in their communities.  They also host the Culture & Wellbeing Community Network Scotland

 Lewis explains: ‘Culture has an incredible role to play in supporting health and wellbeing and it is vital we recognise, value and support the most grassroots and underrepresented groups to lead this and support cultural democracy.  Building relationships and collaborations in this work is key. I’m excited to be part of ACHWS to share our learning and amplify community perspectives to build a collective voice for arts and health in Scotland’.

Sally Thomson, Director, Grampian Hospitals Arts Trust – Sally has been leading the way as director of Grampian Hospitals Art Trust (GHAT) for more than a decade. GHAT is a leading arts organisation based in healthcare settings in the North-East of Scotland.

Their prime purpose is to enhance the experience and wellbeing of all who spend time in NHS Grampian premises, whether patients, staff or visitors, by promoting enjoyment of, and when possible, participation in, high quality artistic activity and the provision of a sympathetic and pleasing visual environment.

Sally adds: I wanted to join the board in order to champion the need for arts and wellbeing in Scotland. My primary interest is to develop links between health and arts sector lead organisations and lobby for adequate resourcing for arts and wellbeing activity across Scotland. I would be keen to see the sector more recognised at government level. Alongside my role as a ACHWS board member I am also a steering group member of Scottish Social Prescribing Network.

Vanessa Paynton, Executive Director, Art in HealthcareArt in Healthcare is a charity working across Scotland to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities by providing opportunities to experience and engage with high quality visual art, artists and creativity, particularly within community, health and social care settings.

Vanessa explains: ‘We have seen, over the organisation’s history, that the arts can help to address health inequalities and we continue to strive to widen access to creative activity. There is good evidence to show that the arts can support both the mental and physical health of individuals, from supporting self-management of conditions at home to aiding recovery in hospital or providing comfort in a palliative setting.’

Vanessa adds: ‘There is broad agreement around the value of the arts to support health and wellbeing. I wanted to get involved as I believe ACHWS has an important role to play in Scotland, and beyond, helping to champion work and to broaden the reach of this impactful sector.’

If you are interested in getting more involved in the ACHWS working group or board, please get in touch with Nancy Riach nancy@achws.org


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