An initiative of the London arts in Health Forum (LAHF), Creativity and Wellbeing Week aims to raise awareness of the positives of creativity on wellbeing. Running from 4 - 10 June, the Week will see a whole host of events being held around the capital in venues big and small. There are also some events which will be held outside of London.

Various art forms are represented at the festival including visual arts, dance, and poetry. Additionally, a core series of events will run throughout the week segmented into different art forms for different days of the week.

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This will commence with music on Monday and conclude with poetry and literature on Friday.

In particular, the idea of ‘quality’ is being focused on as it is the charity’s chosen theme for this year.

Damian Hebron, LAHF Director, and Neil Parker, Festival Co-Ordinator, have said of the theme that, “We are looking at the internal qualities that we feel when we take part in culture; exploring the ways in which artists and organisations can improve the quality of their work; and, most of all, asking how arts and culture can contribute to everyone’s quality of life – especially people whose lives are affected by ill health.”

10 free events to check out during the week

1. Mind Expanding Metaphors, Keyworth Building, London South Bank University, 4 - 5 June and 7 - 10 June, 9 AM - 4 PM

Discover more about the human brain through an exhibition of artwork investigating the “amazing internal structural workings, changes and interpretations” of it. Art on display is created by Xavier White.

2. Artist Peer Group, Free Space Project, 4 June, 6.30 PM - 8.30 PM

Both emerging and established artists are welcome to attend this monthly peer group where they can discuss artistic plans and network.

3. Rooted in the Landscape, Menier Gallery, 5 - 9 June, 11 AM - 6 PM

This is an art exhibition, co-organised by Paintings in Hospitals and the Arts Council Collection, which features work from the collection of the Arts Council Collection. The works of art included are curated around the common theme of landscapes and the exhibition aims to convey the positive effect artistic depictions of landscapes can have on wellbeing.

4. Bubbles through the Letterbox, The Street Gallery, University College Hospital, 4 - 10 June

An exhibiting sharing art produced by the members of Studio Upstairs. Studio Upstairs helps those experiencing emotional or mental difficulties in a community with art and therapy at the centre.

5. Meet Me Here, Employment Academy, 6 June, 7.30 PM - 9.30 PM

Experience a musical concert courtesy of the Mind & Soul Choir and guests. The choir promotes the beneficial impact of singing on wellbeing and mental health.

6. The World Upside Down, New Diorama Theatre, 7 June, 2 PM - 3.30 PM

View live sketches from daily life, poetry, song, and dancing all performed by several groups of people aged 60 or more.

This performance has been arranged by the Third Age Project which runs a number of social and educational events for the older population in Camden.

7. Health Haiku, Online, 8 June, Online

This is an event in which people all over the place can take part as it will be hosted on Twitter. As Friday’s main event, the LAHF and campaigners, 64 Million Artists, are aiming to inspire people to try their hand at creating their own Haiku – a short form of poetry which originates from Japan. The theme of the Haikus should be health, wellbeing, and the meaning of the NHS to us, and participants are encouraged to share their creations on Twitter with the hashtags #CreativityandWellbeing and #HealthHaiku.

8. Beyond Words: The Healing Power of Art, The Centre for Better Health, 8 June, 6.15 PM - 9 PM

Find out about the value of art therapy directly by having the opportunity to take part in some art therapy activities organised by the charity, Art Therapy4all. There is also an art exhibition on at the venue, as part of the Week’s events, which displays the work of those with lived experiences of the healing power of art.

9. Maternal Journal, Fetal Medicine Research Institute at King's College Hospital, 4 - 10 June, 9 AM - 5 PM

View art created by women who are pregnant, and those who are new mothers in this art exhibition. All of those who have contributed to the exhibition have had mental health difficulties in the past and have used artistic mediums to give some insight into their experiences.

10. Intergenerational Puppetry workshop, Arcola Theatre, 10 June, 4 PM - 6 PM

Try out puppeteering first hand in a two-hour workshop. The workshop will provide guidance on bringing puppets to life through actions and allow participants to experiment with this themselves.

Creativity and wellbeing

In recent years there has been various research on the links between various creative pursuits and wellbeing. Last year, a report was produced by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health, and Wellbeing, which found a number of benefits of the arts to wellbeing. Among the findings was the statistic that “music therapy reduces agitation and need for medication in 67% of people with dementia” and that “after engaging with the arts, 82% of people in deprived communities in London enjoyed greater wellbeing.” The report further suggested that money can be saved in social care and health services by engaging with the arts. A similar finding has recently been found with regard to interactions with parks and green spaces [VIDEO].

The LAHF, supported by the Arts Council England, is a charity which aims to encourage engagement with the arts, provide advice to those who seek to produce creative work which relates to health and wellbeing and promote the value of the arts to health and wellbeing. They have now been running the Creativity and Wellbeing Week for seven years.

More current creative initiatives

Running parallel to the Creativity and Wellbeing Week is The Arts in Mind festival organised by the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), King’s College London. Art exhibitions, participatory events, and discussions are all taking place as part of the festival on topics including neuroplasticity of the brain, addictions, and dementia.

Another charity, Paintings in Hospitals is also currently highlighting the benefits of the arts [VIDEO] for health through a social media campaign and blog post series as a countdown to the 70-year anniversary of the NHS.

More information about either festival can be found on the organiser’s respective Twitter accounts: @LAHFArtsHealth and @KingsIoPPN.

To confirm the times and locations of events, make sure to check the LAHF website.

To see Paintings in Hospitals’ campaign, visit their Twitter: @artinhospitals