New wellbeing group to promote
mental health in arts industry
The Royal Albert Hall has hosted the first meeting of a new organisation dedicated to promoting wellbeing in the arts.
The National Arts Wellbeing Collective (NAWC) UK, patterned after a successful Australian initiative established by Arts Centre Melbourne, brings together more than 60 arts institutions from around the UK, including music venues, theatres, museums, touring companies and unions.
Craig Hassall, Chief Executive of the Royal Albert Hall, said: “We were proud to host the launch of what promises to be a very positive and significant collective, drawing together colleagues from many arts organisations, all committed to opening up the conversation around mental health and improving wellbeing support across what can be a highly pressurised industry.”
NAWC UK’s inaugural event at the Royal Albert Hall on Wednesday 24 April included talks from experts alongside networking and mindfulness sessions.
Speakers included Jonathan Curtis, discussing how he and other wellbeing champions had helped to support staff at audio-visual suppliers SFL Group, and Hazel Sawyers, who founded My Life Is My Business to help tackle workplace stigma around mental health issues, and highlighted the importance of mental health first aiders. Johann Ilgenfritz, CEO of UK Health Radio, gave an interesting talk on who following serious ill health he changed his life style and is now promoting health and wellbeing via his 24 hour radio station.
Between the talks, activities included origami making for mindfulness with Origami Party London, ‘drumming for health’ sessions hosted by Inspire-works, and 10-minute meditations with Mindful Pathway.
The collective is picking up the challenge laid down by the CEO of the Arts Centre Melbourne, Claire Spencer, who has called on arts institutions in other countries to do more on mental health. The hugely effective Arts Wellbeing Collective in Australia, which she has helped to pioneer, is mentoring the UK group as it aims to emulate that success.