A guest post from Wendy, Arts and Health Partnership Manager at the Museum and Whitworth.
There has been a growing understanding that people’s health and wellbeing is influenced by a range of interconnecting factors, and the role the arts can play in health has been increasingly recognized over recent years. By supplementing medicine and care, the arts can improve the health of people who have mental or physical health problems. Active engagement with the arts not only provides internal congruence and pleasure but also promotes the prevention of disease as well as improving wellbeing. Throughout the courtyard project, we will continue to explore how we can use our collections and expertise for the benefit of our visitors – both directly and in collaboration with healthcare providers.
Manchester Museum’s Arts for Health programme celebrated the launch of the NHS at 70: stories of our lives. To demonstrate the value and benefits of arts and culture to people’s health and wellbeing, Manchester Museum worked with arts and health practitioners Kate Eggleston-Wirtz, Nikki Colclough and music therapist Rachel Swanick. We offered three free creative workshops to encourage visitors to explore their personal wellbeing through artistic activities based on objects in the collection.
Through the artistic workshops visitors had a chance to explore a new way of representation of the self and the surrounding world. The music workshops also provided an opportunity for visitors to connect with each other, energising and inspiring people through music games.
Kate noted how visitors showed great enthusiasm towards participating in the badge-making workshop: “People seemed to be really engaged and got stuck in”.
Nikki reflected at the end of the event, “I really loved watching the ‘wow’ of people’s faces when they saw how the mono print worked – such a simple technique that has such as great response”.
As we move forward with the Courtyard Project, we will continue to explore to benefits of connecting visitors with partners in the health sector through creative activities and programmes such as this.