Art Shed: Museums as medicine

Posted on by Lauren MacCarthy.

Thanks to donations we are now delivering creative craft workshops at Blaise Museum for people suffering from low level mental health problems.

The ‘Art Shed’ sessions take place in the recently refurbished community space with support from Bristol Museums Development Trust. These creative sessions are part of a nationwide move towards social prescribing: where patients are linked with non-medical sources of support within the community.

A selection of colourful chalksThese ‘arts for health’ sessions have been running fortnightly at M Shed since February 2016 for people experiencing issues like anxiety and depression. The sessions have proved extremely effective for participants and so with the help of donations and funding from Quartet Community Foundation and Helen and Peter Wilde, we have been able to extend ‘Art Shed’ sessions to Blaise Museum.

Evaluation of the Art Shed pilot by the Psychology department at the University of the West of England showed a marked decrease in feelings of negativity and an overall increase in wellbeing.  We’ve also had great feedback from participants who have noticed a positive impact on their lives:

“It’s the one day of the whole week that I look forward to… It’s given me a safe place to go away from home but not so far that I feel out of my depth. A relaxed, friendly environment where I can unwind from stress.”

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“A safe environment that provides an escape from the struggles of daily life. Once a week I have the opportunity to relax with people who understand my problems. Being able to explore the museum and the beautiful grounds provides great inspiration.”

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“It has a relaxed effect, it gives me a wonderful opportunity to do something different and it helps me have a more fulfilling life.”

£25 could pay for half an hour’s tuition for an Art Shed session.

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