How Can Creativity Aid Wellbeing?

To mark Creativity and Wellbeing Week, our Director and CEO Steph Fuller explains how the museum is helping people harness the power of creativity to tackle social isolation and improve wellbeing.

CrafternoonWhat is Crafternoon you say? Well it’s a free monthly drop in session for people who like to make things in a friendly social space. It’s been running at the museum for many years, but had to take a break during covid, during which we produced Virtual Museum Club as a family friendly crafting opportunity online. We’ve taken the opportunity to look at how it’s been working, and to tweak our offer so that it might appeal to a wider range of people.

Last week we launched the new version of Crafternoon to an appreciative audience including one person who hadn’t been to the museum since before the pandemic! As always, you can bring your own craft project to work on, whatever that is, but in a new development every other session will be facilitated by a craft maker who will offer a taster of something new. We hope this will be great for people who don’t have lots of projects on the go already, or who want to try something different. The first session, ably led by Ali Rabjohns was nuno felting which was fascinating and a great start to the new programme. The session is hosted by a museum volunteer, so there’s a warm welcome and it’s absolutely free.

The impulse behind Crafternoon and other opportunities at the museum for people to get making is our commitment to harnessing the power of creativity to benefit people’s wellbeing and combat social isolation. In the rural area around us there are many people who become isolated due to illness, disability, bereavement, poor public transport or financial challenges exacerbated by the cost of living crisis. Covid has a continuing impact on society, and there is a greater need for social connection than ever. We know that crafting has well evidenced positive effects on mental health, and the potential to create happier, healthier people and we want to ensure that these benefits are available to everyone in our locality, regardless of their personal circumstances.

In a time of climate crisis, with many living in poverty and what seems like a deeply divided society we know that craft and making can aid mental wellbeing – Natalie Melton, Acting Executive Director, Crafts Council

Everyday creativity, simple activities which people can do alone or with others can create a state of flow, which helps mental wellbeing, and crafting in a group provides social benefit as well as those conferred directly by the making itself.

Crafternoon is an enjoyable, local opportunity to connect with others and to experience the pleasure of making something for yourself. As one participant said last week ‘I’m not very good but I like doing it’.

Why not come along and try it out? Find out more here.

Further reading:

Vision Paper: Culture Health and Wellbeing – Robyn Dowlen, Centre for Cultural Wellbeing

64 Million Artists

Crafts Council

16 May 2023