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  • Arts Health ECRN

LINK Event: Coffee & Chat, Cambridge (UK)

Blog post written by Emily Bradfield (East Anglia Representative)

Coffee & Chat, a LINK event open to members of the Arts Health ECR network and anyone interested in finding out more about Arts & Health, took place at Romsey Mill in Cambridge, on Tuesday 19th March. Everyone brought their own skills and interests to the table, including: research, creative practice, occupational therapy, puppetry, community arts, linguistics, dance, collage, art therapy, community development and much, much more.

We started with setting a code of conduct, by outlining what would make the session both meaningful and pleasant for everyone. We then moved on to various creative activities, including developing a low-tech social network, to help us get to know one another and make connections. It was exciting to see how many connections we already shared - through previously working together, meeting at events or on social media and having shared interests, plus links which might lead to potential collaborations in the future. It was inspiring to see what simply coming together over a shared interest can lead to. As one person said, the afternoon provided “space to think”. Moving forwards, the first hope is to stay in touch, share research and events of interest, and meet regularly for more creative conversations.

As well as facilitating the creative activities, I briefly shared a little about my doctoral research on Creative Ageing, which explores the effects of participatory arts engagement on wellbeing in later life. You can find out more on my PhD blog. It was also a pleasure to invite Suzanne Culshaw (an Arts Health ECRN member) to share her PhD research into what it means to be struggling as a teacher, using collage as a creative research method. Read more about Suzanne’s research here.

Coffee & Chat was an informal networking social. An opportunity to come together with like-minded people, learn about each other’s research/work and consider ways to collaborate with one another – it was the perfect space to take a step out of the normal routine. Romsey Mill is a well-loved local community space, which I’ve been going to since I was a child, and the brightly coloured community room provided a warm and welcoming setting – I think the coffee & flapjack helped too!

Thank you to Emily for writing such an informative blog post - it sounds like it was a really wonderful LINK event. If you are interested in writing for the blog please get in touch.

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