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LINK Event: Twitter Chat on Arts on Prescription

Updated: Mar 31

Blog post written by Robyn Dowlen (Blog Editor)


On Thursday 11th April the Arts Health ECRN hosted an online twitter chat which focussed around social prescribing and arts on prescription. The chat involved users answering a series of questions posed by @ArtsHealthECRN using the hashtag #ArtsHealthLINK.



The chat began with the Arts Health ECRN (@ArtsHealthECRN) account inviting people to share their thoughts in relation to social prescribing and arts on prescription. This opening question stimulated discussion surrounding the process of social prescription. Lorna Collins (@sensinglorna) wanted to know more regarding the process of social prescription, and whether a GP has to be involved, or whether a person could ‘self-prescribe’. This was an interesting question and stimulated further discussion surrounding the role of a GP in referring people to arts on prescription programmes. Katey Warran (@Katey_W) shared interesting developments in Scotland where the Scottish government are recruiting 250 community link workers to work in GP surgeries, acting as a referral point for people needing community services for practical and emotional support. Saoirse Finn (@Saoirsefinn) made the interesting point that people do not always know what is available to them as part of arts on prescription, and so GPs/link workers/charities can play an important role in the referral process.


Another question posed by Arts Health ECRN related to the next steps for the National Health Service and UK government in supporting arts on prescription programmes. I (@robyndowlen) highlighted the importance of enabling those with lived experience sharing their stories, which Emily-Rose Cluderay (@EmilyRoseTweets) highlighted was central within the Creative Health report which was published in 2018. Emily also suggested that sometimes we can get caught up in the measurement of impact, and forget to present the voices of those who are taking part in programmes. Breathe Arts Health Research (@BreathAHR) also agreed with this point, suggesting that “proving outcomes must be balanced between demonstrating effectiveness and numbers, but must also take into consideration impact on individuals and the ensuing ripples”.

A common thread throughout the chat was also the value of artists in supporting arts on prescription programmes. Mary J. Lockwood (@maryjlockwood) reminded us that artists should be paid fairly for their work, not being seen as a ‘free resource’. Artists have a wide range of expertise and skills which need to be valued and acknowledged within the arts and prescription process.

Overall the chat was a really stimulating discussion surrounding the use of arts on prescription/ social prescribing programmes in the context of health. If you want to read the chat for yourself, it can be found by searching #ArtsHealthLINK. We were lucky to be joined by a range of early career researchers who represented both research, practice and policy. Breathe Arts created a #ArtsonPrescription moment after the chat which provides a helpful overview of the discussions that took place. I look forward to taking part in the next twitter chat – details to follow soon!

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