Creatively Feeling

Creatively Feeling: an Artful Approach to Mental Health & Healing
December 2021 - June 2022

“The Art of Staying Healthy” programme was launched in 2021 by Northern Dimension Partnership on Culture - NDPC and NDPHS Northern Dimension Partnership in Public Health and Social Well-being. The programme aimed to empower collaboration between the arts and health sectors and to pilot arts interventions in the health and wellbeing of people and communities in the Northern Dimension area. 56 applications have been received during the open call, and 11 projects from seven countries were selected for funding. More information on the programme and selected projects: https://www.ndpculture.org/news/the-art-of-staying-healthy

In its project “Creatively Feeling: as Artful Approach to Mental Health and Healing” ISSP teamed up with a certified art therapist from New York, Julia Volonts, to organise a series of community based art therapy groups for people with depression/anxiety, using photography and collage as the main tool of intervention. The project developed methodology for group art therapy intervention and carried out three test art therapy groups in Riga in April – June 2022. The results will be shared with mental health professionals. 

The activities were implemented in cooperation with the Riga Stradins University Art Therapy Master programme, whose students assisted the groups, and Latvian Art Therapy Association. Data analysis partner - Sophie Mind - a web application that tracks and analyzes patient data to personalize treatment and improve outcomes.

Some of the artworks created: 



Participants' feedback: 

  • It was a beautiful experience and a way to find time for myself and engage in creative activities as well as reflect on my thoughts and way of being. The group was very open and honest, which I loved. I felt like we formed a really safe and accepting place for everyone and by the end of the project, we got a real feeling of connection. Would have liked for it to be longer.
  • I think i gained some insight about myself and my feelings, because hearing other people open up about theirs made me think more about my own experiences and how they compare between me and others my age.
  • Noteikti bija vertigi. Šķiet, ka visvērtīgāk bija uzzināt, ka cilvēki apkārt sastopas ar tām pašām problēmām, ar kurām es, kas mazināja vientulības sajūtu.
  • Pārsteidzoši bija, ka nāca ārā pārdzīvojumi par kuriem nelikās, ka ir uztraukums, lika daudz ko pārdomāt. Ļoti iedvesmoja radošā atmosfēra un foršie cilvēki grupa.
  • Bija vērtīgi piedalīties, jo ieguvu vietu, kur mani saprot, jo visi dalībnieki iet cauri tam pašam. Vide, kur netēlot, kur vari būt kāds esi. Kur neuzspiež vienmēr būt priecīgam un smaidīt, kur ir atļauts just.
  • Varēju brīvi paust savas emocijas un tikt pieņemta ar tām. Redzēju kā emocionāli mainās arī citi cilvēki atkarībā no dienām.
  • Bija ļoti vērtīga pieredze. Vērtīgi bija pieredzēt kolāžas veidu kā radīt to par notikumu/stāstu/sajūtu. Kā arī savā ikdienas dzīvē ņemt dažādus paņēmienus kā strādāt ar depresiju, sajūtam.
  • Bija vērtīgi piedalīties. Tas bija kā nedēļas restarts, rituāls. Vieta, kur tiek celti jautājumi par kuriem ikdienā negribās domāt vai arī tas tiek aizmirsts pavisam. Pozitīva pieredze arī ar visiem līdzās nākošiem pārdzīvojumiem.


“This project brings us one step out of the usual realm of the art world towards exploring photography in context of human wellbeing and mental health, consciously using it as a tool for emotional processing and healing - the role the medium is playing so frequently, albeit in an indirect way. We are also starting new partnerships with the main players of art therapy and mental health care system in Latvia, which is a new universe for us. Hopefully we can develop partnerships that last.“ - Julija Berkovica, director of ISSP.
 

The programme is co-funded by European Union and implemented by Northern Dimension Partnership on Culture - NDPC, NDPHS Northern Dimension Partnership in Public Health and Social Well-being and EU National Institutes for Culture.