Profile: an insight into working with CW
Job title: Creativity and Wellbeing Project Manager
When did you start working for Creativity Works?
I started working for Creativity Works in 2003 as an artist – at that time we were called nesa (North East Somerset Arts). Very soon I became an arts development worker in South Bath enabling community development through the arts and then began developing ‘Creative Links’ which has become the ‘Mental Health Creative Support Service’. This service provides supportive socially engaged arts in the community to deliver meaningful art that can make a difference. I also mentor and support artists working in a wide range of art forms. Within the role I also support some inspiring people in developing creative peer support groups including the Tiny Monuments, Writing Space and Breathing Space and help facilitate a wide range of events and exhibitions in arts and culture, wellbeing and health.
What is your professional background?
I trained in design studies and have worked in varied jobs from marketing manager for the Tortoise Trust (!) to arts facilitation, exhibiting artist, early years educational support, community development and event management. My flexible approach led me to training as a yoga teacher and then on to focusing on arts and health work about 12 years ago. The yoga training gave me the opportunity to look at the links between mind and body and the work I was doing in the arts which is rooted in a wellbeing approach. I’m also a trustee with Arts & Health South West – this network is very supportive helping me to link with other creatives and what’s going on regionally and across the UK.
What does a typical day look like for Philippa at Creativity Works?
Every day is different, full–on, which makes the role interesting and stimulating. Part of working for a creative organisation, I would say. I love working alongside our participants and artists, which is at the heart of Creativity Works socially engaged ethos and partner organisations in planning workshops, projects and events. I also get involved in the strategic side of things, which support Creativity Works in moving forward. There are many meetings throughout any week and generally it is rare to spend a whole day in the office.
What do you enjoy most about working here?
I enjoy talking to lots of people, the variety of projects and the partnership working. Working with some very talented participants, volunteers and socially engaged artists – it is these conversations that help inform what happens next and the planning of new events – I’m always out and about! Planning B&NEs wide projects like the Hope Guide, Wellbeing Festival, What Works Conference, World Mental Health Day and art exhibitions as part of the Bath Festivals is always full on but I enjoy the process and the outcomes
What do you find most challenging?
Keeping on top of all the things required to manage all of the projects! It can be challenging to be across so many different aspects of Creativity Works and activities across B&NES. Monitoring and evaluation of all the projects takes a long time… Any volunteers?!!
What has been most surprising during your time so far at Creativity Works?
In 2013 we were awarded the Arts Award for the Creative Progression process and it was surprising and amazing to be recognised and awarded and wonderful to celebrate this with the members of the Tiny Monuments Collective, creative peer support group.
What has been your biggest professional or personal achievement to date?
Developing new models of working has challenges and rewards and I think being part of developing processes is an achievement. An example of this is the ‘creative progression process’ to help participants develop their own ideas and projects.
The new partnership with Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health NHS Partnership Trust and Bath Museums in the ‘Fresh Art @’ project is great.
Maintaining over 10 years our popular programme ‘My Time My Space’ for women and their families experiencing postnatal depression.
All of this brings many rewards which have positive impacts on peoples lives …. and is why I’ve been in the job for so long!! I think my biggest achievement is keeping all of this going and still finding time to sing.