From the desk of Emma O’Brien January 2015

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Emma OBrien From the desk of Emma OBrien January 2015 Welcome to our January newsletter for 2015.  I was having a chat with my neighbor about when people thought it was too late to say ‘Happy New Year’, as I find myself still saying it. He felt that if it was still January it was fine but then I thought why not say it all the time? The health and wellbeing of societies are being measured by happiness ratings, ‘Happiness Economics’, so why not  give us all the best chance we can and wish it year long? It’s worth having a look at these ‘Happiness measures’ in this link. – Surely that is part of our core business in the world of arts and health?  Not that I believe that we are only about creating happy situations, often our work is very much aimed at giving voice to angst and tragedy and inequity, but by being heard and expressing our emotions, that outlet, that path to recovery, is very much part of being happy.  

This month we feature a story about the power of art in recovery from addiction. Karen Adler, Art Therapist, is our guest writer and her article is inspiring, and the imagery is very moving. Special thanks to her client, for giving permission for his story and art to be shared in this forum.

Its also my great pleasure to tell you about our newest collaboration with Ausdance and The Royal Melbourne Hospital, using dance to bring joy to the workplace and to focus on a key elements of safety and health promotion.

Change day is a people led, accessible and energetic social movement for better health outcomes. Change Day invites you to be change-makers in health, aged care and community services right across Australia. Have you made your pledge yet?

To give you multiple insights into this project our guest blogger is Ausdance CEO Andy Howitt who is our  ‘Choregrapher in Residence’ for the project. We also have video updates which will be linked to our home webpage and the final dance will be filmed and available online late March.

In this newsletter we feature two guest videos of practice and projects.

The first video is Space to be Curious – Creative Connections in the Early Years , a film that hears the thoughts of Staff, Parents and Artists in residence at Child and Family Centres.

The second is Together We Build’  featuring Artist Lewis Horne, working with the town of Katanning to build a Lego HOME sculpture. Over 100 people of all ages participated in the community art project, highlighting the importance of communities working together to create wellbeing.

I am co-presenting at the Health Care Transformation Conference in Tasmania, in March, and we hope to be running some workshops in Hobart as well.  

Emma Dr Emma O’Brien MMus RMT PhD

Executive Director   The Institute for Creative Health