Welfare State International: forty years of pioneering participatory arts practice and community wellbeing
The University of Bristol Theatre Collection holds the archive of Welfare State International, arts pioneers, in many ways a generation ahead of their time. WSI’s work has had a significant impact on community arts practice and on the understanding of the contribution of participatory arts to health and wellbeing.
WSI evolved from radical travelling performers, internationally acclaimed for their work, by way of intensely researched site-specific performances, to become embedded community practitioners and celebrants. Their practice, once pioneering, is now in many ways accepted policy, evidenced in the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing Inquiry Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing, and the establishment this year of The National Centre for Creative Health.
The archive records in detail WSI’s projects and history over nearly 40 years and we are applying for funding to catalogue it and make it more readily available. In order to do so, we need to draw out the collection’s potential for research, and are particularly interested in identifying examples of how it would illuminate health research and practice. For example, some of WSI’s engagement practices could be relevant to increasing participation in long-term health studies. Arts for health practitioners have identified their work as a form of social prescribing before it had a name, as well as recognising the importance of their work to the commemoration of loss.
The University of Bristol Theatre Collection have organised a workshop which will provide an opportunity to see some of the archive, via a visualiser, and gather ideas on how it could be useful.
If you would like to find out more and might be able to contribute some ideas, please contact Lucy Powell (firstname.lastname@example.org , 0117 954 5464) to let her know which session you would like to attend and she will send you a link to the meeting.
- Friday 26th March 9.30-10.15am
- Friday 26th March 12-12.45pm
- Friday 26th March 3.30-4.15pm