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University hosts first Cumbria Arts in Health Conversation

Clive Parkinson

More than 90 practitioners will debate the benefits that arts have on patients’ healthcare and wellbeing this week in the first Cumbria Arts in Health Conversation.

The University of Cumbria and Healing Arts of the North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust are hosting the event in Carlisle on Thursday (17 January).

The day of conversations and workshops for art and health practitioners is taking place at the university’s Institute of the Arts, Brampton Road.

Speakers include Clive Parkinson, director of Arts for Health at Manchester Metropolitan University, the UK’s longest established arts and health unit.

Clive, whose early career included managing day services for people affected by schizophrenia in Morecambe, works internationally.

Clive, who has also been chair and director of the National Alliance of Arts, Health and Wellbeing, said: “I am incredibly excited to be speaking at this timely and important event.

“Having lived in South Cumbria for many years and worked for the NHS exploring mental health promotion across the county, I’m well aware of some of the health and social issues facing people in both rural and urban communities, and it feels that the time has never been more right, to explore the ways in which the arts in all their forms, might have a real part to play in health and social change.”

The afternoon will involve workshops showcasing local projects. They include a new Arts Council funded collaborative project between Healing Arts, Tullie House and Prism Arts: ‘Trust Me I’m an Artist’; singing sessions with Dave Camlin; and a storytelling and writing project based at the Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle.

Professor Brian Webster-Henderson, pro vice chancellor (health), University of Cumbria

Professor Brian Webster-Henderson, pro vice chancellor for health at the University of Cumbria, said: “There is growing research documenting the importance of the arts in health and the effects of arts-in-health interventions on diverse participant groups. This conference is extremely important so that staff, students and those providing care can gain an evidence based and experiential understanding of these interventions.”

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