The UK-WA Artists’ Exchange 2012

A team of Australian and UK practitioner/researchers is supporting a pilot exchange in community-based arts in health for two artists from Northern England and two from Western Australia, providing placements in each other’s jobs, networks, and communities for six to eight weeks, guided by reflective practice and research.

With the financial investment of Australia Council for the Arts and Arts Council England, the project is putting young and emerging artists at the centre of complex communities and practices at an international level.

All four artists aim to develop meaningful connections with health population groups through arts and health processes at grass roots levels. The project provides production and critical reflection avenues through which the participating artists will develop new approaches to their practice and inform the recommendations and frameworks to guide future investments in the next generation of outstanding artists working in a participatory community context.

The artists’ exchange begins mid-October, and will culminate at the 4th Annual International Arts and Health conference in Fremantle at the end of November.

The Australian artists (Justine Walsh and Renae Coles) will be based at Chickenley Primary School in Dewsbury, Yorkshire, where CMH’s Mary Robson has been in residence with a team of artists since 2003. The placements offered in Western Australia to the artists from Chickenley (Christina Ingram and James Allott) are with DADAA’s fieldwork on mental healthstreet-based interventions.

Within a reflective practice framework, all the artists will work with their host communities and explore similarities and differences in approaches to community-based arts in health.  Staff from the Centre for Medical Humanities at Durham University and DADAA will provide project development and supervision throughout.

Expected outcomes, based on the international experience of the project partners, are:

• Artworks from the artists that advance their thought and practice

• A training and capacity-building framework for artists in Northern England and Western Australia in community-based arts in health.

• A detailed strategy by the project partners for developing future international arts in health exchanges

• Connected communities of practitioners and participants as a direct result of arts development work done during the exchange.

• Dialogue with policy makers in arts, health and education sectors at an international level

Artists, organisations and researchers will meet in Fremantle to reflect upon the experiences of the project and the initial findings will be shared with the conference.

Click here to read all UK-WA Artists’ Exchange blog posts.

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