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An inside view on the Hillview Project

Hear the inside story on the Hillview project from two staff at the centre of its delivery

As the Hillview project draws to a close and prepares for their exhibition starting later this month, we thought it would be interesting to get more of a feel for the challenges and more importantly the highlights of the project from two key players in its delivery.

Sarah Parkinson, Lead Art Psychotherapist for Bath & North East Somerset, Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (AWP).

How did you become involved in the Fresh Art @ Hillview project?

The idea first came up in the coffee group/community meeting on the ward, which I was facilitating. People often talk about the environment on the ward in that meeting – what‘s good and what needs thinking about. The original ‘faded Monet print ’ was in the room where we met and for me the faded print became an emblem of what service users and employees wanted to change. The idea came up again in the Acute Care forum and we met up with Phillipa and Ralph who were enthusiastic to develop the idea with us all.

What have the benefits of partnership working been for AWP and for you?

Making great connections and bringing lots of new energy in from other organisations to help us develop creative potential here. Working together. Bringing arts therapies and arts in the community together to help realise AWP’s socially inclusive goals. Expertise in project managing creative developments.

 What have been the benefits of combining museum resources, clients, community groups and creativity together?

As arts therapists our job includes being involved in both treatment and being active in social inclusion. Working with projects in the community like Creativity Works and Museums and Galleries in Bath are an essential link to helping people we work with get back into creative healthy living in BANES after acute episodes of illness.

Can you describe some of the successes of the project?

Being able to have conversations with so many inpatients and colleagues about the paintings on the walls and what’s happening next has been a real joy.

  Have you enjoyed working on this project?

Very much – though it has felt like spinning plates at times. I would have liked to have had more time to meet all of the aims with less stress, I haven’t got there yet. Thanks to Camilla for smoothing, picking up gaps and sending reminders.

  What has surprised you about the work?

The amount of people and organisations who have become involved.

What has the atmosphere/ feedback been like on the workshops?

I have been to three out of four workshops so far – with the last workshop later this week. They’ve all been different. Nearly all positive, often chaotic and then with long moments of focus and calm. The objects from museums have been brilliant to focus on and to be trusted with things that are interesting, beautiful, valuable. Gillian’s (one of the artists on the project) confidence, adaptability and energy have been key.


Polly Andrews (Co-ordinator, Bath Museums Community Engagement Project)

How did you become involved in the Fresh Art @ Hillview project?

I am the Co-ordinator of the Bath Museums Community Engagement project which is working in partnership with Creativity Works and other organisations on this project. Three museums run by the Bath Preservation Trust plus the Holburne Museum and American Museum in Britain have been funded by the Arts Council to engage with community groups in innovative ways and the Fresh Art@Hillview project is certainly a very exciting one to be involved with.

What has your experience of working with Creativity Works been like?

It has been fascinating to observe the organisation’s creative approach and see how the people it reaches are inspired and empowered.

What have been the benefits of combining museum resources and creativity together?

I’m delighted to have received feedback so far that the museums’ unique collections as well as their beautiful buildings and grounds have contributed to the participants’ enjoyment and creative self-expression. A participant described it as “a wonderful opportunity to explore the museums of Bath and reflect, creatively.

Can you describe some of the successes of the project?

A total of 14 workshops have been held since March and the artwork which the artists have created is remarkable. I feel certain that the work will have a beneficial effect at Hillview as well as for the people who created it.


The Fresh Art @ Hillview exhibition will be held 12 – 4pm daily from Saturday the 31st May – Sunday 8th June at The Schoolhouse, The Building of Bath Collection, Countess of Huntingdon’s Chapel, The Paragon, Bath BA1 5NA. Admission FREE.

For more information on the project contact Philippa Forsey: / 01761 438852.


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