Tayside Healthcare Arts Trust (THAT) Creative Engagement: Participatory Arts Programmes for people living with a Long Term Health Conditions

Tayside Healthcare Arts Trust (THAT) Creative Engagement: Participatory Arts

Aims: Tayside Healthcare Arts Trust (THAT) was set up in 2002 to develop the role of arts in healthcare across the area of NHS Tayside. THAT responds to enquiries which have clear Arts and Healthcare content.
Objective: THAT has been at the forefront locally of developing Creative Engagement,  through the arts, as a therapeutic intervention that can operate alongside existing treatments by addressing psychosocial benefits (mood, confidence, self esteem and socialisation) associated with positive health and wellbeing.

Funding sources: Core costs; NHS Tayside, The Robertson Trust, The William S Phillips Fund.  Project costs are secured from additional trust and funding bodies such as; Awards for All Lottery Funds, Creative Scotland, Local Partnership Agencies and THAT Fundraising Initiatives..

Project Details. THAT Long Term Conditions programmes; delivery within the settings of inpatient reahbilitation, care homes/day care, community, cultural mainstream, sessions are 2hrs and delivered 1  per wk for 8 - 10 wks. Within In-patients settings a longer periods of engagement up to 16 wks, delivered 2 x wkly. That regularly works in partnership with NHS Tayside Dundee Contemporary Arts, Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland, Alzheimer Scotland, the University of Dundee and others.
Context: There is clear evidence that individuals with Long Term Conditions are often excluded and withdraw both psychologically and socially. One of the few community structures that they will subscribe to are those of peer support whether they are locally autonomous or run by larger organisations.  THAT has demonstrated that through these groups participating in the arts, individuals improve their mood, confidence, self esteem and can alter their understanding of their own capabilities. This can lead to improvements in social engagement and self management of their condition. At their community level it strengthens peer support, group identity and can significantly improve public perception.

Location: Tayside Region; Dundee, Angus and Perth and Kinross.

Description of the arts activity

Artistic Approach and Medium. THAT delivers a wide range of Creative Engagement Programmes using; Visual Arts (Drawing Painting, Printmaking, Ceramics, Fused Glass, Animation, Felting)  Music, (Singing, Introduction of instruments), Performance (Dance, Drama) and Creative Writing (Poetry and Prose) for people with Long Term Conditions (LTC). Professional Artists are contracted to deliver programmes that are inclusive and accessible based on the abilities and interest of the group. Medium selection is made though co-production with the group and availability of experienced practitioners. The programmes use an evidenced based approach to improving health and well being, social inclusion and increased confidence through engagement with the creative arts.  

A Volunteer Artist proceedure is in place to allow new artists to gain experience within programme delivery and provide support to the Lead Artist and Group.  THAT regularly recruits undergraduate and new graduate artists as well as established practicioners.

Details of the project participants

Groups will often experience one taster session and an eight week programme delivery. The taster sessions support recruitment and subsequent programmes will be coproduced with the group participants and designed to include a final celebration event/sharing with their family and carers which will strengthen a peer support network within the community.  Details of Project Participants: Target client groups, THAT has engaged with indiviuals and communties across Tayside who live with a variety of Long Term Conditions (LTC’s); Stoke, Acquired Brain Injury, Dementia, Parkinson’s, COPD, Palliative Care, Chronic Pain, MS and others.

Method of Recruitement/ and or Referrals: Through out existing networks THAT will engage with: NHS Tayside for newly diagnosed individuals and general public, local authority, third sector organisations, local support agencies and our LTC participant contact database who we have previously worked with. Individual referrals are encouraged and are included within the existing framework of networks.

Project management

Project management:  THAT has well established governance procedures for project management, engagement of professional artists and volunteers and has an independent Board of Trustees that ensure all work is carried out in compliance with THAT policies.  Day to day financial management lies with THAT staff with guidance and support from the Treasurer and THAT’s Board.  
THAT operates and complies within all OSCR regulations for Scottish charities and NHS Tayside safe data handing policy. Professional Artists are CBR checked. There are no costs to individual participants as funding is secured for programme delivery through project funding. There is no requirement for formal ethics applications, participation is through choice and consideration is always given to the context and nature of the programme. Participants complete profile forms pre programme which establish their consent  for THAT to record/photograph/film activities and work for educational and promotional purposes where appropriate.

Evaluation methods and findings

THAT has considerable experience of evaluating the impact of Creative Engagement (see enclosed documents: THAT LTC 15-16 Combined Evaluation Report, LTC CE 2013-15 Final Project Report) and does so though three principal areas:

  • THAT measures response to Recruitment, establishing demand against availability.
  • THAT measures completion rates of evaluation forms both pre programme profiles and post programme questionnaires.
  • That measures programme attendance rates and identifies any barriers to consistent attendance.

Outcome Data:

  • Participants score satisfaction levels of programme participation.
  • Participants score impact on psychosocial outcomes (Mood, Confidence, Communication, Concentration and Socialisation).
  • Participants score perceived improvements in creative ability.
  • THAT produces Summary Evaluation Reports as a record and learning tool for each programme and shares them with stakeholders.

Qualitative Measures:

  • THAT records anecdotal evidence throughout programmes to capture broader wellbeing outcomes such as; new meetings/friendships developed through the programme, using public transport independently etc.
  • THAT records participant’s personal creative achievements and celebrate them with a wider audience.
  • THAT records follow up interviews with a randomized sample of the programme participants to explore their experiences and beliefs about the value of participation and any longer term benefits or outcomes.

All evidence gathered is reported in both individual programme Summary Evaluation Reports and collectively as an overarching report of the whole project with conclusions and recommendations for the future.

THAT has also been at the forefront of the research project, the ACES Study, which has produced two publications to date and been presented at a number of national and International conferences including The Welsh Stroke Forum 2015, The UK Stroke Forum 2015, The World Congress in Neurorehabilitation 2016, ITAC3 Participatory Arts Conference 2016.

ACES Study Research Papers:

Supported using public funding by the Arts Council England