Good practices

Creative Arts for Health and Well-being Hub

Creative Arts for Health and Well-being Hub

 As part of our work to provide services using creative processes to promote positive mental health and well-being, Smashing Times have established the Smashing Times Creative Arts for Health and Well-Being hub. The hub offers a unique programme using a range of creative arts activities to promote health and well-being. The aim is to use creative processes online to promote positive mental health and well-being and ways to overcome stress and anxiety and to build resilience. 


The Smashing Times Creative Arts for Health and Well-Being hub currently has two elements. The first is the information site made up of research, articles and information displayed on a series of dedicated pages on the Smashing Times website and the second element is the creation of a new visual art exhibition space (exhibition hub) operating online and hosting a unique exhibition inspired by themes of health and well-being. Overall the  Smashing Times Creative Arts for Health and Well-Being hub is an online  interactive platform offering a range of services delivered online and through live streaming and presented into homes nationwide. The work is presented in connection with Art Connects: At Home with Smashing Times, our online series of curated arts content, newsletters, and events. 


Activities are made up of online workshops, panel discussions, exercise demonstrations and visual art exhibitions inspired by themes of positive mental health and well- being as well as the provision of a range of online information on how to look after your positive mental health and well-being, resource contacts and tips for creativity and self-care. The aim is to use creative processes online to promote positive mental health and well-being and ways to overcome stress and anxiety and to build resilience. 


The two elements of the hub are as follows: 


Creative Arts for Health and Well-Being information space

The first element is a dedicated Creative Arts for Health and Well-Being information space consisting of a range of information webpages on Acting for the Future,  the overall positive mental health and well-being programme as well as information on how to look after your health and well-being, resources and  contacts,  articles and tips for creativity and self-care.  Information is provided on Acting for the Future for Schools and Communities including older people; Acting for the Future with Travellers and Acting for the Future with Refugees and Asylum Seekers. The latter two programmes provide services to older people. In addition to information, a series of Creative Arts for Health and Well-Being workshops and talks are offered through the site. 


Exhibition Hub – Emotional Landscapes Virtual Art Exhibition

The second element is a new dedicated virtual art exhibition space (exhibition hub) that we have set up as an online service to host virtual art exhibitions and film screenings that can be viewed online and through live streaming to be presented into homes nationwide. Our first exhibition is titled Emotional Landscapes and is a creative response to themes of health and well-being in a time of Covid-19. 


Emotional Landscapes is a multi-disciplinary virtual Art Exhibition with visual images, poetry, words, music and discussion. The exhibition is inspired by an artistic response to peace, health and well-being, influences of the pandemic, and themes of health and happiness intersecting with new borders of time and space in a changing landscape.


Emotional Landscapes features a significant body of work from leading visual artists Noelle McAlinden and Hina Khan. Alongside the visual artworks of Noelle and Hina, we are featuring the writings of poet and writer Féilim James, writer, actor and choreographer Fiona Bawn-Thompson, and a unique poem film In Time written by Mary Moynihan and co-directed by Mary Moynihan and Mark Quinn. In Time is performed by Carla Ryan and Kwasie Boyce with original music composed and performed on violin by Lisa McLoughlin-Gnemmi.


‘Many are the emotions that stir the human heart’


The title for this unique virtual visual art and multi-disciplinary exhibition ‘Emotional landscapes’ was created by artist Noelle McAlinden from a series of creative conversations with writer, theatre and film-maker Mary Moynihan. The conversations continued, to encompass the work of visual artist Hina Khan, violinist and composer Lisa McLoughlin-Gnemmi, writer and choreographer Fiona Bawn Thompson and poet and writer Féilim James, bringing together different artists who, each in their own way, were responding to the changing emotional landscapes of our evolving world.


Noelle McAlinden’s work is part of The Emotional Landscape Series and the recurrent personal theme of ‘the space between us’. Hina Khan’s Influences of Pandemic is an inspiring response to the current global situation we are living in. Mary Moynihan’s In Time is a powerful reflection on the changing landscape of our lived experiences while Fiona Bawn Thompson’s One Foot Forward is an insightful of emotional turmoil and inner resilience.

Year(s): 2020-present

Target group(s): General public: The programme is available to all citizens and we want to reach out and connect with diverse communities including Travellers, refugees and asylum seekers, women’s groups and youth and community groups from areas designated as disadvantage

Website or other online channels: http://smashingtimes.ie/centrefortheartsandhumanrights/projects/creative-approaches-to-positive-mental-health/

Methodology

The  Smashing Times Creative Arts for Health and Well-Being Hub is a new online interactive platform offering a range of services delivered online and through live streaming.  The hub offers a unique programme of creative arts for health and well-being activities made up of workshops, well-being talks and exercise demonstrations. The aim is to use creative processes to promote positive mental health and well-being and suicide prevention  online.  The work focuses on positive mental health and suicide prevention with a focus on emotional well-being and ways to overcome stress and anxiety and  ways to build resilience. The online practical workshop programme will be accompanied by talks and handouts with a list of resource services available, to promote positive mental health and well-being, ways to overcome stress and anxiety and how to build resilience, and suicide prevention.   


The aim is to reach young people and reach hard-to-reach groups through a two-pronged approach – firstly by working on-the-ground with services delivered by professional arts facilitators and qualified psychotherapists in an accessible way to ensure the work is open to groups experiencing marginalization and disadvantage. Secondly the aim is to work online through digital and social media mediums. Both services are aimed at young people and adults especially groups experiencing disadvantage including Travelers, Refugees and asylum seekers, women’s groups, artists and youth and community groups and is accessible to individuals and families across Ireland.


The hub offers a unique programme delivering a range of creative arts for health and well-being activities online, made up of workshops, talks, exercise demonstrations, blogs, vlogs, advice and information and an online and face-to-face national counselling programme. The aim is to provide services using creative processes to promote positive mental health and emotional well-being and in particular to support individuals and communities who are experiencing disadvantage and are also struggling with mental health and emotional well-being during these difficult times. The work focuses on positive mental health and emotional well-being, and ways to overcome stress and anxiety and build resilience.


A key part of the online hub will be to have content generated by young people themselves so they have a sense of ownership over the online platform.  The success of a ‘drama-based’ approach is that by using drama you are enabling young people to generate ‘content’ themselves so they feel a sense of ownership over the work and they feel they are directly engaged rather than being ‘spoken to or at’. We want to continue this sense of ownership and direct engagement by the youth (as key stakeholders) in the online work similar to the face-to-face work.

Type of product

Paper-based material Online resource Video clips / Films

Brief description of the outcomes

Artworks and Links to Positive Mental Health and Well-Being


Emotional Landscapes features a significant body of work from leading visual artists Noelle McAlinden and Hina Khan created in response to themes of health and well-being and influences of the pandemic.


Noelle McAlinden is a Visual Artist, Creative Advisor, Cultural broker and a  Mental Health Campaigner.  Noelle has provided eleven visual art images and one video installation for the exhibition, all of which are created in response to themes of emotional landscapes and the space in and between people .  The paintings are inspired by the physical, mental and emotional space we occupy; the fragility of the  human condition and human spirit and by a sense of belonging and hopeful connections, particularly in terms of connections to home and a sense of place.  Displaying artwork online that is linked to themes of positive mental health and well-being can be a creative way to raise awareness of the themes related to how we look after ourselves and each other. According to Noelle, ‘the current context of COVID has meant our emotional state and the space between us is precious and fragile, it  has become a concern and a necessity to survival  in our daily lives. The use of technology is a necessity, to connect, encourage ,express and empathise’. 


Hina Khan has provided 10 visual art images and two video installations all of which are inspired by an emotional response to the theme of pandemic. 


Alongside the visual artworks of Noelle and Hina, the exhibition features the unique poem film In Time written by Mary Moynihan and co-directed by Mary Moynihan and Mark Quinn. According to artist Mary Moynihan ‘I wrote the poem film In Time after experiencing a serious form of Covid-19, the poem film was created in response to the changing landscape of our world today and is a reflection on hope and courage for the future’.  In Time is a three-minute filmed poem performed by Carla Ryan and Kwasie Boyce with original music composed and performed on violin by composer and musician Lisa McLoughlin-Gnemmi.


The exhibition features the  writings of poet and writer Féilim James. The poetry of Féilim James, an up-and-coming writer from Dublin, Ireland, explores themes of mental illness, nature, love and human dignity. His poetry and prose, through both English and Irish, have earned a number of awards and publications. Féilim’s poem ‘not an art’ features in the Emotional Landscapes exhibition. ‘not an art' is an exploration of psychological pain and the true meaning of such pain, challenging misguided and harmful ideas about mental illness.


Fiona Bawn Thompson loves to work on devising projects and creating collaborative artistic pieces with the groups she works with. Fiona is an actor, writer, director and choreographer. Fiona has created the monologue One Step Forward for the Emotional Landscapes exhibition. ‘One Foot Forward ‘ explores one person’s experience of mental un-wellness and their journey towards well-being. According to Fiona ‘Most of us will at some stage of our lives, through circumstances or whatever else, encounter mental health hurdles. I love to work with words and metaphors and have used a little of my own experience and a little research to create One Step Forward’. 


Emotional Landscapes Panel Discussion – A Reflection on Health and Well-Being


The Emotional Landscapes exhibition features an Emotional Landscapes panel Discussion inspired by a response to the emotional impact of Covid-19 and ways to promote positive mental health and well-being in a changing landscape. The panel discussion is captured on film and is available to show with different groups.  The moderator for the panel discussion is Dr Stephen Herron, Researcher, Academic, Cultural Anthropologist and Community Relations Facilitator and the guest speakers are Noelle McAlinden, visual artist and mental health advocate; Hina Khan, visual artist and Eimear Burke, Counselling Psychologist. 


Artist Noelle McAlinden speaks about her creative arts practice in relation to the theme of emotional landscapes and her work as a mental health advocate and campaigner, highlighting the power of the arts for the promotion of positive mental health and well-being. Artist Hina Khan speaks about her creative arts practice in relation to the theme influence of pandemic.   


The panel discussion ends with Eimear Burke sharing words of wisdom in relation to self-care and ways to look after your health and well-being during this time of pandemic, with a focus on the practical things we can do, having compassion for yourself and practicing gratitude, with ideas for people of all ages. More Information and to view the exhibition and panel discussion click here or see below:


Link to Emotional Landscapes Exhibition - https://exhibition.smashingtimes.ie/emotional-landscapes/


Link to In Time - a poem film by Mary Moynihan 

https://exhibition.smashingtimes.ie/emotional-landscapes/in-time/


Link to the Emotional Landscapes Panel discussion https://exhibition.smashingtimes.ie/emotional-landscapes/  (scroll to bottom of the page)

Impact on target groups / Transferability potential

The information and resources available on the hub has a direct impact on lives of young people and adults in relation to using creative means to promote positive mental health and emotional wellbeing, including:

Services are free to marginalized groups to support positive mental health and well-being.

Increased access to mental health care particularly for young people in disadvantaged areas and for those experiencing mental health difficulties.

Provision of a list of contact agencies, options and support services available to those experiencing a mental health crisis or who may have lost someone to suicide.

Challenges attitudes and misconceptions that lead to people with mental health difficulties experiencing stigma, isolation and discrimination, and provides information, compassion and direct support if required for people experiencing suicidal feelings and thoughts.

Raises awareness of links between exercise, healthy living and positive mental health.

Builds skills for handling stress in a time of crisis and promotes ways to overcome social isolation and to know how to look after your physical health and emotional well-being in times of change.

Promoter of the initiative: Smashing Times International Centre for the Arts and Equality

Country: Ireland

Languages available: English

Website or other online channels: www.smashingtimes.ie

Go back