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Director’s Blog

I, like most people I am sure, can’t quite believe how quickly this year has gone. I’m not sure if I’ve even had the time to tick off everything on my January to-do-list! It does seem that our lives are increasingly busy these days, which is why taking the time to have some form of Creativity in your life is essential. This is something I will definitely be trying to do more of next year. There is a distinct irony in running a creative organisation but having little time for it oneself.
I have recently hugely enjoyed doing some basic pottery using air-dried clay and I think I will try to advance my skills in this area next year: watch out for updates and pics of my exploits throughout 2016!

It has been another bustling, creative and meaningful year here at Creativity Works. The Mental Health Creative Support Service continues to flourish, as does Fresh Art, a strand of that work that continues to blossom. We were very pleased to welcome Nat into our team in March, whose idea it was that initially sparked the Fresh Art@ movement. I think it demonstrates the power of our work and methodology that Nat can progress so successfully and end up as a key member of our staff.
Our Elders work expanded this year to include creative delivery and training for staff in Care Home, Day Centre and Alms-house settings. We not only provided socially engaged projects, relevant and in-depth training but also gave residents the opportunity to have their work seen and heard at a variety of spaces including Bath Artists’ Studios and the newly opened St John’s Bubble.
We also delivered a fantastic project, ‘Journey to Wellbeing’ alongside Adults with Learning Disabilities at Sirona’s Cleeve Court, creating a toolkit for communication around matters of wellbeing. I understand that this has been hugely successful and the toolkit is now being used with a variety of different groups.
Our co|Create programme not only delivered essential training for socially engaged artists in aspects such as Creative Facilitation, Fundraising and Mindfulness, but through our Creative Conversations we also explored questions such as “Can Artists Really Change the World?” led by Jocelyn Cunningham and “What is Socially Engaged Art?” led by Hannah Hull. We also presented our first ever International Residency led by Mammalian Diving Reflex from Canada. “Imaginative Interventions in Public Spaces” took many of us to places we never thought we would go, as Darren O’Donnell led us through the streets of Bath and into the extraordinary world of Social Acupuncture. Few us will ever forget the experiences we encountered!
At the end of this year we will be saying goodbye to our Enterprise Development Manager, Ailsa. She has been with us for over three years and in that time has developed high profile projects, most notably Home Service and our new social enterprise, Food For Thought, but has also been instrumental in progressing our fundraising, evaluation and working methodology. We will greatly miss her expertise and wish her all the best for the future.
As ever, we would like to thank the myriad of partners, professionals, artists and volunteers who make our work possible and the participants whose creativity drives what we do and inspires us every day. I would especially like to thank the staff who have again put in a huge shift this year, in sometimes very difficult circumstances. Their work is greatly appreciated.
Have a great Xmas and a happy new year from all of us at Creativity Works.
Me and Betty are off for a mince pie!
Olly
 
(Director, Creativity Works) 

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