Wellness. The buzzword that has filtered into our daily conversations, encompassing everything ‘health’; from fitness to mental health, skincare to food, and even tourism. We are seeing an increase in fitness trackers, health and wellbeing retreats, and fitness clothing; while the ‘free from’ and organic food sections in our supermarkets continue to grow in size. The industry was reportedly worth $4.2 trillion in 2019 and represents 5.3% of global economic output, with people becoming more conscious of not only what they put in their bodies, but what they put on them as well.

But what do health and wellness have to do with the arts? Whether you are a museum, theatre or dance company, there is a huge opportunity for the arts and culture industry to promote the value of ‘wellness’ for those both young and old!

an outdoor yoga class

Tackling loneliness with the arts

In the past, Age UK has partnered up with huge brands, including John Lewis and Cadbury, to help raise awareness of chronic loneliness. However, there are many organisations around the globe who have been working hard to tackle the problem, especially for those in older age. One of our clients, The Royal Exchange Theatre,  runs a programme called the 'Elders Company' in Manchester for those looking to get involved in the arts in their elder years. Research has demonstrated that loneliness can be associated with poor physical and mental health. Loneliness can be an unfortunate side effect of bereavement, lack of physical mobility, lack of independence or simply living far from your family. Access to an arts-based group or class promotes socialisation and could help to relieve the feeling of loneliness in those who are struggling with it.

The arts are often overlooked as a way to tackle loneliness within our ageing population. Being involved in a singing group or dance class, for example, can help those struggling with loneliness feel valued. It can help them feel part of a community, enhance their mobility, and help them engage in new friendships; it also simply gets them out the house.

an elderly man involved in a singing group to improve his wellness

Improving Dementia with the arts

Dementia is a progressive neurological disorder that affects the way we think, communicate and move. New research has shown that people who suffer from dementia benefit from exposure to the arts as non-verbal communication becomes imperative. While music and movement are key in improving quality of life for patients, drama group Vamos have created a workshop that may help frustrated dementia suffers, whilst educating carers, through plays and shows. Placing emphasis on movement and speech while wearing masks helps the patient draw their attention to understanding context, rather than just listening to words. The workshops explore the impact of eye-contact, touch, gestures, tone of voice, pitch, pace, and pauses to show how these can change the meaning of words. These workshops will also improve the patient’s mood while making them feel more involved in the community.

Young people in the arts

For a while, schools have been encouraging participation in the arts to help improve the child’s academic career, however, studies show there are huge confidence and communication benefits for children involved in the arts. Children who took part in a dance or drama group expressed more confidence, willingness to engage in potential friendships, improved self-esteem and even leadership skills. It has also been acknowledged that young people who are involved with the arts respect discipline, have improved attendance in school and a higher engagement in academic learning. On top of this, the creative expression and physical exercise assist in relieving young people from feelings of poor mental health. Our client, Royal Academy of Dance promote the inclusion of young boys in ballet with a programme called Project B.  With issues of poor mental health rising in the UK amongst males, the programme aims to break down gender stereotypes and make boys feel more comfortable about expressing themselves.

a young girl in ballet class that helps improve wellness

Whether in hospitals, schools or care homes, the arts have the ability to connect people, build communities and improve physical and mental health amongst all ages. After Digital work with a whole range of organisations from the arts and culture industry. Our team have a wealth of skills and knowledge from digital transformation, UX and design, web development, and marketing. If you have an upcoming digital project that you need assistance with, please get in touch to find out how we can help you!

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