November 2021

YVONNE WYROSLAWSKA

Mental Health & Wellbeing and the Role of Teaching Artistry

Session Synopsis

This Think Tank focused on the role of the Teaching Artist in supporting mental health and wellbeing within the various cohorts and communities we work by looking at existing research that supports creative arts practice for mental health and wellbeing and drawing a clear boundary between the work of trained therapists and the work of teaching artists.

Using small group exercises generated dialogue between participants to encourage brainstorming around the ways in which teaching artists can use their skills to benefit mental health and wellbeing. Here a greater understanding arose where participants explored the benefits—and challenges—of being a Teaching Artist and its effect on our own mental wellbeing.

Following the session a working group will collaborate and discuss where the current resources and gaps exist in supporting TA mental health and wellbeing (both in ourselves and our participants). The group will collectively determine the way in which we choose to work, but will likely focus on:

* Working to establish a code of effective and ethical practice for Teaching Artists with regards to mental health and wellbeing,
* Collating existing resources in this area for use by Teaching Artists, and
* Identifying areas which require further input/research/professional development opportunities, with a view to then developing these opportunities by identifying individuals or organisations who can produce them, and/or securing funding with which to do so.

With mental health problems affecting a quarter of our population, which are increasing due to COVID, it is timely that Teaching Artists bring this conversation to the forefront.

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