Museums and art galleries are spaces with the potential to have a positive impact on a persons wellbeing. Since working within the NHS as a mental health professional, this is a continuing area of exploration and development in my role as an Artist. Recent projects with Bexhill Museum have included working with people living with dementia and their carers, adults recovering from acquired brain injury and adults with mental health issues.
‘In Conversation with Annie’ was a Heritage Lottery Funded project which ran in 2015, connecting with a journey made in the footsteps of Annie Brassey. An arts residency with Bexhill Museum, community engagement included linking with the programme of children’s activities and schools as well as a dedicated new project of arts and wellbeing. Participants included adults attending Bexhill Yourway, mental health charity, and adults recovering from acquired brain injury. Artists Louise Kenward and Nicole Zaaroura and writer Judith Shaw facilitated a series of workshops at Bexhill Museum connecting with the collections.
Exploring Stuff was an Arts Council England supported project in 2016 that engaged with Bexhill Dementia Action Alliance and Bexhill College. A cross generational project, we worked with objects from the collections of Bexhill Museum, experimenting with new and familiar art materials and processes, making a whole new exhibition that ran through 2016 at Bexhill Museum. Working with Canterbury Christ Church University and Professor Paul Camic, the project also included a lecture on the psychology of stuff and a series of Dementia Friends sessions with dementia trainer Sally Hemmings.