Upon Reflection: Creativity, Health and Wellbeing Café

Event image_John McAuliffe, John Keady, Julie McCarthy and Simon Parry

In June, Creative Manchester hosted the Creativity, Health and Wellbeing Café, an informal lunch opportunity for researchers to connect with those working in the Creative Industries and Health sector. The café was hosted in collaboration with the Live Well Make Art network, currently curated by Cartwheel Arts.

Heightened by the pandemic, collaboration between the creative and health and care sectors has never been more vital, particularly in Greater Manchester at a time when it launches its new Integrated Care System and shares ambitions to become the first Creative Health city region. It is this essential collaboration between the sectors that the Creativity, Health and Wellbeing Café helped facilitate, enabling greater networking opportunities through a relaxed, in-person space.

Held at Contact theatre’s Arts and Health space the café began with an informal lunch, connecting like-minded people working in or engaged with the Arts and Health. Among others, these included experts in public health, GPs, and nurses, as well those operating in cultural organisations such as art galleries, museums and universities. The lunch allowed friendly conversations to emerge, whereby attendees shared their experiences, research, work, and stories with one another, helping to develop connections between the industries and learn about possible intersections in the future.

Following the networking lunch, leading experts offered a discussion on the Integrated Care System, Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s (GMCA) plans to become a Creative Health city region, and Creative Manchester’s ongoing research in the industries. The discussion was chaired by Professor John Keady, who works a joint position with The University of Manchester and the Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, and is currently a Senior Fellow at the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) School for Social Care Research. The panel included Dr Simon Parry– Senior Lecturer in Drama and Arts Management, and Director for Social Responsibility in the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures – and Julie McCarthy – Strategic Lead for Live Well and Creative Health at GMCA and the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership (GMHSC).

This event was presented by Creative Manchester, a University-wide research platform, and was centred on one of its three key research themes: Creativity, Health and Wellbeing.