Arts and Mental Health: Creative Collisions and Critical Conversations
Report from AHRC Cultural Value expert workshop on arts and mental health partnerships. The Workshop took as its starting point Creative Families an innovative multi-agency partnership between the arts \ud education arm of a contemporary art gallery (South London Gallery) and the South London and Maudsley’s Parental Mental Health Team. The tensions identified by the evaluation \ud of this ‘early intervention’ were shared in order to illustrate the contrasting framing of ‘cultural value’ apparent in this collaboration. Uniquely, this interdisciplinary partnership combines a participative process evaluation led by the centre for Urban and Community Research, and a clinical assessment led by the Institute of Psychiatry. These contrasting methodologies for identifying the projects ‘value’ across both art and (mental) health contexts were shared in order to provoke interdisciplinary discussion. Examples of creative and professional practice, which intervene into the field of mental health, provided starting points for thinking about the cultural values that are enacted, reproduced and sometimes challenged by these approaches. The Workshop examined the policy drivers behind these arts/mental health collaborations, and the epistemological and methodological systems of value, which account for them for a variety of audiences.