Arts and Wellbeing

Creative activities are increasingly being used in healthcare settings to boost recovery, emotional health and wellbeing. The arts can help people find a voice, whether public or private and help express emotion or convey a message.

The process of creating something is enormously valuable, providing a focus away from illness or stress. It helps us make friends, become part of a team or our community. For some people self-esteem is boosted to the point where they feel able to perform in public or exhibit work they have created.

We here at the Isle of Man Arts Council believe strongly that the arts have a significant role to play in our wellbeing and quality of life. It is one of our key ambition points to 'Champion the arts and culture as fundamental to our wellbeing and sense of place.' (See our The National Development Strategy for Culture and the Arts 2017-2027).

We are very proud of our creative community who are currently paving the way forward when it comes to using the arts to promote positive mental wellbeing and thereby helping to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health in general.

Below are a few of the wellbeing projects that we support...

Festivals - Mindful Mann

"Mindful Mann is the Isle of Man's first major wellbeing festival. It aims to inspire and transform the ways in which we experience ourselves, our Island, and the world. There will also be a programme of yoga, mindfulness and meditation classes, talks from local wellbeing heroes, workshops, live music, and kids activities. With themes ranging from Spirituality to Mental Health and Community Wellbeing, Mindful Mann 2019 promises to be an inspiring day out, promoting positive change, community spirit and an inclusive worldview."

Find out more about Mindful Mann


Creative Writing with Janet Lees

Wellbeing Workshops - Creative Writing

We couldn't write this article without mentioning Janet Lees recently launched her first book, 'House of Water' to great success. Themes of mental health feature heavily in the book and Janet is a tour de force in the conversation about the arts and mental health on the island as well as further afield. As an award winning poet, photographer and creative writing facilitator, Janet runs regular workshops at various venues including The Hub and Earroo Nane. Janet speaks openly about her experiences with mental health in her written and visual work and we can safely vouch the profoundly positive effect on those she has run workshops for.

Find out more about Janet Lees.

Find out more about Creativity at The Hub.

Find out more about creative writing workshops at Earroo Nane and the Jurby Northern Community Initiatives.


The Government Staff Choir won the Guild in 2018

Singing - Isle of Man Government Choir

There is a whole heap of research that shows the benefits of singing for our mental wellbeing. It not only improves confidence and self esteem but also fosters community relationships when you sing with others for example in a choir or community event. We are very proud of our Government Staff Choir who meet once a week to sing for an hour. Have you thought about having a staff choir in your workplace?

Find out more about the Government Staff Choir by contacting Martyn.Cain@gov.im.


Swing in the Isle are a Swing Dancing Group who hold regular workshops and dance socials.

Music - Dance groups + Community Bands

Dancing is proven to significantly promote good health and wellbeing. It combines healthy physical activity, the engagement of the creative spirit, the promotion of emotional expression and encourages social interaction. Moving our bodies doesn't need to be long punishing sessions at the gym. There are lots of ways you can move your body that are enjoyable to you such as dancing, particularly to a genre of music that appeals to you. There are lots of dance groups on the island you can get involved with from traditional Manx Dancing to the more retro Swing Dancing.

See the full list on our Participate page.


Isle of Man Drawing Club

Learn a new skill - Art workshops

Learn a new creative skill has multiple benefits to our wellbeing. In fact you can read about all of these benefits in another article we did on the topic: 10 reasons you should take an art class. There are many places you can get your creative juices flowing such as the IOM Drawing Club and workshops at Artreach Studios to name only a few.

Join our What's On Where Facebook group to find out about new workshops and events or post about your own.

Acting - Join an amateur dramatics group

There are so many amateur dramatic groups on the island that you can join. Acting can significantly promote positive self esteem and confidence as well as a great sense of achievement after completing a performance. As with joining any group, being a part of a like-minded community of people brings a sense of belonging, offers opportunity for connection and reduces isolation.

To learn more about how to get involved with the amateur drama on the island then we recommend contacting the Manx Amateur Drama Federation (MADF) via secretary@madf.im.

One particular drama group that we are proud to support are Manx Gateway Drama who are a welcoming and fun social club for people with learning and physical disabilities aged 16 plus. Find out more about Manx Gateway Drama.

Being in Nature - UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man

I'm sure we don't need to tell you about the instantly positive effects that simply being out in nature has on our mental wellbeing. As a UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man partner, we are committed to cherishing and preserving the island's beautiful natural landscapes. We also believe that when it comes to art and nature, they go hand in hand. It may sound cliché but nature really can be a profound source of inspiration when it comes to creative pursuits. Many artists on the island find inspiration figuratively and literally from the island's many beautiful locations when creating their work. We did a recent interview with artist, Colette Gambell about how important art can be to raise awareness of environmental issues. Read 'Raising Awareness Through Art' here.

Read more about our commitment to UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man.

Whatever your creative preference, we feel sure that there is something for everyone. Simply by taking advantage of the many opportunities that our island's creatives have to offer, you can reap the many rewards that creativity has to offer.


Author - Grainney Sheard
Arts Engagement Officer
Grainney.Sheard@gov.im

If you'd like to chat to us more about funding and how you feel your project could meet our wellbeing strategy goals then please don't hesitate to get in touch with us on 01624 694598 or at iomartscouncil@gov.im.

A sponsored body of
The Department of Education, Sport and Culture
Rheynn Ynsee, Spoyrt as Cultoor
Isle of Man Government
Reiltys Ellan Vannin
Isle of man Government
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