Dance in Health

About Being

Funded by Applied Industrial Systems
Supported by Cumberland Infirmary Healing Arts & Cumbria University

About Being is a project for people who have suffered a stroke and is a development of a 10 week programme of work I led on the neurology ward at Cumberland Infirmary as a part of Reaching Horizons.  The initial phase was generously funded by AIS who had a colleague suffer a stroke

About Being starts in the hospital and then moves into the community.  The aim of the work is to offer a space for people who have had a stroke to come together to explore, create, socialise and take part in exercise that can support their physiotherapy programmes.  In all, it is a project where the participants take ownership of their recovery.

Accompanied by music, the sessions focus on the positive potential of how each person can move: tracing melody with fingers, improvising and creating, all supporting participants capacity to experience more.

MSc Occupational Therapy student, Emily Gill, from Cumbria University, researched the initial phase of the project, and dance, OT and physiotherapy students support the community sessions. Susie Wilson, OT MSc Programme lead at the University is undertaking a service evaluation of the hospital sessions which will lead to a larger research project.

I see About Being as a model of work for future dance and arts in health projects where through arts intervention a logical, accessible progression from hospital to the community is created. And the person is at the centre – not their medical issues.

Dance Art Foundation: Breathing Space

Monthly sessions

The London based dance organisation, Dance Art Foundation runs Breathing Space, a programme of dance and creative movement workshops, residencies and performances for children, young people, adults and elders.  Under Breathing Space, I have been delivering work in children’s hospices since 2005.

I am working with Dance Art Foundation to develop projects in the North and deliver monthly sessions at Butterwick House and Derian House children’s hospices.

In 2019, I will be working with Dance Art Foundation on a new project at Cumberland Infirmary. This has come about due to the success of Reaching Horizons. Feeding into the new Healing Arts programme I manage at Cumberland Infirmary, I will be working with a musician on the children’s ward and Special Care Baby Unit to deliver creative movement sessions for the children and their siblings.

For further information on Dance Art Foundation and the Breathing Space projects, go to:

“The arts cannot solve our problems, but they invite us to question, explore and discover other aspects of who we are …… Dance, movement, has the capacity to bring us into a more personal, imaginative and creative relationship with our body, re-connecting us to what is well”

Miranda Tuffnell, ‘When I Open My Eyes’ (2017)