Wellbeing practice through the arts is growing across the world but how many black and brown faces do you see at conferences, at universities and in your sessions? Which poems or writing would attract 'Others'? Why do dementia choirs sing western classics and not reggae?
For those born abroad, and for those with a cultural spectrum encompassing more than Europe, words for wellbeing could connect deeply. I would love to see people from every background represented in our work - especially those who are might not normal seek therapeutic help or who receive inadequate or discriminatory service-provision. I'd like to remind everyone using any kind of art in health practice that the world is an open channel for connection. We just have to tune in our dial to match new frequencies, if we want to welcome everyone in our community to join us.
Next time I advertise an open session, I'll be thinking about the widowed Bibi at home, alone, with her grown-up children nursing their own babes (like my mom).
Could I ask for her favourite ghazals and Bollywood songs to translate during a coffee morning session?
I'll be thinking about Dennis, an elderley Caribbean gentleman who gets out the house by sharing a meal at the local Junk Food Project. Every time I see him, he gifts me songs to look up, scrawling them on the post-it pad he keeps in his breast pocket. We both love Dennis Brown.
I'll also be thinking of the many friends I've made born here but whose culture is masked from the mainstream: alternative music and underground culture aren't represented in the world of wellbeing either. My mates might not all write poems but many write lyrics and make music. They deserve a words for wellbeing/arts and health offer that appeals to them too.
The social prescribing work taking off across the UK and the globe offers huge promise. At this development time, we must take care to share the benefits with all members of our communities.
Director of Community, Lapidus and Founder, Hip Hop HEALS