NASP’s partnership with The Southbank Centre has been featured by Google Arts and Culture on the Arts + Health & Wellbeing hub.
Hear from inspiring individuals involved in the life changing Art by Post project about how creativity has positively impacted their wellbeing, and explore the exhibition, partnerships and participants’ experiences through a new lens.
Art in an Envelope
At the height of the first Covid-19 lockdown, Southbank Centre created Art by Post to engage those most isolated by social distancing measures, with a particular emphasis on reaching older adults living with dementia and other chronic health conditions.
Southbank Centre worked with 17 artists to create 11 creative activity booklets which were sent out in the post.
Each booklet has up to 5 activities aimed to spark creativity and imagination and can be done at home or in a care setting, using everyday objects.
Included in the packs are Freepost envelopes, encouraging participants to share their artwork and creative responses with the Southbank Centre.
40,000 booklets were sent out in 2020-21 and the Art by Post community has grown to 4,500 people, aged 18-103, spanning the UK from Dover to Aberdeen. Many are supported in the project by friends, family members and health care professionals who are also invited to join in.
In addition to the posted booklets, online and telephone sessions brought the Art by Post community together to meet each other and the artists. These sessions offered social interactions between participants based across the UK, creating a sense of belonging and unity.
Art by Post addresses the significant digital divide in the UK which meant that many vulnerable and isolated people would not be able to access the digital creative initiatives that had been created by many cultural organisations in response to the pandemic.
Evaluation undertaken after the first phase of the project showed that approximately 60% of those taking part are living alone; 88% are living with one more long term health condition.
The project is grounded in partnerships, including Southbank Centre’s strategic partnership with the National Academy for Social Prescribing, along with 13 delivery and 156 referral partners, ranging from care homes, prisons, housing associations and community organisations.
NASP’s support also enabled Southbank Centre to bring together an exhibition of some of the Art by Post participants’ artworks which opened at Southbank Centre in September 2021 and then went on to tour to 5 other venues across the country.
In addition, NASP and Southbank Centre were also able to bring Art by Post’s powerful message about the positive role of creativity in people’s lives, their health and wellbeing to billboards and bus stops across the UK.
12 photographers were commissioned to take doorstep photography of 52 participants from across the UK. These featured in over 60 public spaces throughout the UK as well as in outdoor displays on the exhibition tour.