arts and health Churchill Fellowships Finnish approaches to wellbeing

Functional Finland! Be part of the Well Wishes Collection

My Travelling Fellowship is turning out to be a tornado tour of Finland’s best examples of arts, culture and wellbeing  initiatives, including the people, places and plans involved.

Kirsi Lanjunen, Arts Promotion Manager at TAIKE is my programme manager. Kirsi used to organise major jazz festivals and she has been sure to equip me with a rider of a guitar each place I go – partly to manage my own mental health! Seriously, being able to play is letting my mind rest and try to process the many lessons along the way.

Kiitos! My journey to date has provided so much rich material, ideas and practical solutions. For now I can barely keep up with and my plan to blog everyday is not possible.. and you can see why below!

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Along the way I am inviting people to answer the same question:

Collecting Well Wishes

If you had one wish for the arts in health and wellbeing, what would it be?

I am collecting these as visual map and accessible way to see the outcomes of the Fellowship.

Email me yours!

Programme schedule, with thanks to each and everyone of you:

Friday 19th May:
Land in Helsinki ‘basecamp’ 


Arrival 15.40, date and important whisky tasting with Kirsi Lanjunen my programme manager.P1000035

Monday 22nd of May  


11.30 am Lunch with Johanna Vuolasto, Team leader, Arts Promotion Centre Finland

1-4 pm Board of Specialists meeting, Ministry of Education and Culture, Meritullinkatu
Short presentation and discussion at the beginning of the meeting.

Travel to Jyväskylä

Tuesday 23rd May


Arts Promotion Centre Central Finland
Day with Pauliina Lapio, Regional Artist/Arts Promotion Manager. Pauliina is very much involved in the artist in residence -project that is being heavily pushed.

10 am: dance hour for babies (or toddlers) and mothers in nursing home Jokihovi.
Dementia patients as audience. Arranged by Dance Centre of Central Finland

Afternoon visit culture club Trombi (Tornado in english). Participants with mental health issues, aged between 18-30 (?), “Diagnosis Free Zone.” Led by a social worker professional who is also an artist and peer support counselor.

 Wednesday 24th May

10 – 1.00 pm Open meeting at Arts Promotion Centre Central Finland
Arts & mental health, arts & dementia and introduction to my work in Manchester for 20 people working in arts and wellbeing.

Back to Helsinki from Jyväskylä 

Thursday 25th May: Bank holiday in Finland; Ascension Day
Writing and admin day! Already I have collected so many facts, ideas, photographs and wishes.

Friday 26th May


Meet with Pia Houni, PhD (in Theatre and Drama), Adjunct Professor, Senior Researcher
Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Development of Work and Organizations,  Work Life in Transition

Saturday 27th of May  

World Village Festival  (all concerts are free)
Sunday 28th of May World Village Festival

Monday 29th of May  


The Finnish Association for Mental Health

10 am Project Coordinator, coordination of European collaboration projects Johannes Parkkonen

Mental Health Art Week  15.5.-4.6.2017

Dinner with Johanna Vuolasto, Team Leader at TAIKE 

Tuesday 30th of May  

Travel to Turku 

This centre
is a multisectoral coordination and communication center for activities and research among the broad field of arts, culture and well-being. Its aim is to make arts and culture a permanent part of well-being services.

10-12 am presentation and discussion with Taikusydän steering group at the beginning of meeting

11.00  Meeting with Dr Anu Laukkanen University of Turku  and  Project Planner, coordinator of Researchers’ network Liisa Laitinen, Turku University of Applied Sciences

Open meeting with wider team

Back to Helsinki

5.00 Korjaamo Culture Factory, Töölönkatu

Networking event with invited “women in cultural field”.

Wednesday 31st of May 


Kaapeli (Cable Factory)

AM: Meeting with producer Raisa Karttunen ( Armas Festival ) whose office is in Kaapeli

Tour of factory (sorry only in Finnish and Swedish)

2.30 pm Lapinlahden Lähde

This is probably one of the most amazing places I have ever been and I look forward to sharing the lessons from this miracle.  (only in Finnish)

Meeting with planner Katja Liuksiala

Thursday 1st of June Tampere  (Arttu Haapalainen phone: +358295339843)

Friday 2nd of June


Taike Tampere
Arttu Haapalainen has had a huge inclusion  for the unique (in Finland) welfare plan for Tampere City

Tampere municipality Cultural Education Unit TAITE has vast operations that combine cultural, health and social sector.

OlmaPolku ~ Own Path
is a centre for disabled youngsters. Art is their main tool of working there.
Absolutely radiant example of how quality support can and should be delivered.
Watch a video made by some the members here:

Kontukoti “Gone To Home” Residential Care Unit for elderly people
Meeting with general manager, nurse manager and Project Coordinator for the Arts, Culture and Activity in Healthcare for the city council.

Friday 2nd June

PiiPoo is an accessible centre for art and culture and works with all kinds of people. Participate in a workshop

Pirkanmaa Hospital District and the municipalities of Pirkanmaa region have created a Pirkanmaa plan to develop art / culture & wellbeing / health.
Presentation and round table discussion for 20 people in the field.

Following meeting coffee with key people here including manager.

Legioonateatteri (Legion theatre) is a great place for unemployed young adults. The theater has existed for over 20 years and has a good co-operation with the employment office (and funding from their too, I think)

Culture house Virta is designed for young, 18- to 35-year-old mental health rehabilitators. Sosped foundation’s culture houses are based on a model called GFP (guided functional peer support).The focus is on content that interests the rehabilitator and thus culture houses are tailored to the assets and strengths of the rehabilitator and the possibilities to learn new things.

Saturday 3rd of June

Sunday 4th of June
Playing a gig in a bar in Helsinki! Pulmo, 9pm

Monday 5th of June  #

Rovaniemi , Lapland, the Arctic Circle

Matti has very demanding area to work, huge area with few people. They do a lots of cooperation also with Barents region (Russia, Sweden, Norway and Finland), also Artist in residence

Travel day:  Arrival to Rovaniemi

Tuesday 6th of June 


Meeting with Jaana Erkkilä-Hill, Vice-Dean, professor

Faculty of Art and Design, Fine Art and Cultural Studies, University of Lapland

Meeting with Maria Huhmarniemi, Artists Association of Lapland

Wednesday 7th of June


10 am Travel to Kittilä

12 am The Särestöniemi Museum

14.30 Part of the Seminar: Regional Collaboration and Northern Identity of Performing Arts

6 pm Concert Portmanteau (festival opening event) Community Hall, Kittilä

Thursday 8th of June

9 am Artist in Residence: Jaap Kleevering

Leave back to Helsinki

Friday 9th of June

Presentation to Ministry of Social  Affairs and Health



Steering group for Finnish Government’s key project which aims to anchor art and culture services as a part of social and health care system

Straight to the airport

Thank you so very much to all the people here who are and will continue to inspire and develop arts for wellbeing.

TAIKE Arts Promotion Centre Team


I'm a British clinical psychologist with a research background. I manage the Greater Manchester i-THRIVE Arts, Culture and Mental Health Programme, part of the national transformation of children's services. I also have an NHS clinical role in Lancaster and Morecambe working with children, young people and families (CAMHS). I began this blog in 2017 to record a WCMT Travelling Fellowship, from a research role at Arts for Health, Manchester Metropolitan University. I began clinical psychology training (DCLinPsy, Lancaster) in 2010, and studied the role of creativity in bipolar disorder, because of the known links, and partly due to my own experiences of creatively managing extremes of mood in adolescence and throughout my 20s. I have worked in several university psychology research departments including Manchester University in suicide prevention, the Spectrum Centre for Mental Health Research at Lancaster University (notable for service user expertise), and on the Dementia & Imagination research programme.

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