This blog began as a record of a travelling fellowship in Finland and the US, on the roles of culture and the arts in mental health from a psychological perspective. On returning to the UK, this led to a new Arts and Mental Health Innovation Programme in Greater Manchester.
My name is Kat Taylor and I’m a clinical psychologist working in research and NHS clinical practice (CAMHS and Child & Family Psychology Services). I’m so glad I took the plunge to start a blog, and grateful to all the people who’ve shared their work and vision to make this possible. Writing gave me a way to reflect on, document and share my 2017 Churchill Fellowship, which enabled me to explore exemplary arts and health initiatives, with the aim of supporting similar progression back in the UK. Upon returning, I joined the Greater Manchester iTHRIVE team as Arts and Mental Health Innovation Programme Manager.
As a researcher I explore links between arts, health and well-being. This blog contains resources for culture and the arts, health and psychology, with particular focus on dementia and the arts (where this journey began) and, more recently, on the role of culture and the arts in fostering child, family and community wellbeing.
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The story so far…
Since 2006 I’ve worked in psychological research and began clinical training in 2010. Upon qualifying in 2013 I took a post as a Lead Researcher on the Dementia and Imagination research programme, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Councils Connected Communities programme (2013 – 2017) at Arts for Health, at the School of Art at MMU.
In 2015 the Journal of Affective Disorders published my research exploring the links between creativity and bipolar disorder (or manic depression as it used to be known). My work includes attending to the active ingredients that make arts based interventions successful.
In 2017 a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship allowed further development of this work, an apt route given Churchill himself experienced extremes of mood, which he called “the black dog.” Churchill was a very competent painter, and one who painted partly as a means of managing his own intense emotional life. The subsequent report led to the development of a post unique to Greater Manchester: Arts and Mental Health Innovation Programme Manager. This programme sits within GM iTHRIVE, Greater Manchester’s team leading the transformation of children’s service, happening nationally and known as iTHRIVE.
I hope to provide an educational and inspiring mix of reports from my working life, and to encourage others to think about how culture and the arts might play a role in your field of practice – and in supporting your own wellbeing.
You can expect posts on, for example:
– How The Arts Foster Wellbeing; specific practice and research examples
– Top Tips For Preparing Clinical Staff for Working in Arts-Based Ways
– Following my Churchill Fellowship journey
– How Greater Manchester ITHRIVE team Hopes Culture and the Arts Can Innovate Services
Thanks for reading my introductory post.
You can read Episode 1 now: Begin in Paris in Spring.
What follows is an easy-read Infographic on my Churchill Fellowship.