On April 19th, I was in London, and I was nervous. Not because of the crowds, the tube or the temptation to spend money on ‘stuff’ I don’t get living in the sticks.

So why? About Being had been selected to present at a national conference on Arts and Health, hosted by Aesop http://www.ae-sop.org/and was alongside some ‘big boys’ in Arts and Health: Guys & St. Thomas’ Breathe Arts, English National Ballet’s Dance for Parkinson’s, Liverpool Philharmonic’s musicians in residency project, and many more.

However, I now have a little team behind About Being: Head of Physio at Cumberland Infirmary (CIC), a clinical director at CIC, Lead Occupational Therapy lecturer and Head of Dance from Cumbria University. We all went along and we all contributed to the presentation.

What we found, that whilst About Being is in its fledgling stages up in little Cumbria, it is unique in its approach:

  • It works directly with stroke patients in an acute hospital and then offering a community group to attend directly on discharge.
  • It involves dance, occupational therapy and dance students at undergraduate and post-graduate level, all working together in the same space.
  • Dance is working on a equal footing to physio and occupational therapy it is not ‘something in addition’ as often seen in hospitals, but something equal to. We work hand in hand.

But it is the participants who make the sessions. More from them in my next blog, but let me introduce you to Hazel who has been captured by film artist, Jonathan Russell.