Social prescribing patients curate art exhibition at leading Cornish gallery

Patients from a GP surgery in Cornwall have curated an art exhibition at a leading local gallery as part of a social prescribing initiative, which has been described as ‘completely transformational’ for those involved.

'What lies behind' exhibition
'What lies behind' exhibition, Newlyn Art Gallery

The ‘What Lies Behind’ exhibition, a recent display in Newlyn Art Gallery, saw 10 patients from Morrab Surgery in Penzance select works of art from Arts Council national collection of more than 8,000 pieces.

The group were asked to choose pieces that reflected their personal response to the pandemic. The works on display included textiles, sculpture, prints and paintings by artists including Pablo Picasso, Henry Moore and Chila Burman.

The project came about during lockdown after Morrab Surgery’s social prescribing link worker Ellie Moseley realised that many of the patients in the practice that she was working with had an interest in the arts.

Art exhibition

She reached out to local art institutions and contact was made with James Green, director of the Newlyn Art Gallery, who was keen to set up an exhibition that involved social prescribing and the local community. The gallery was looking to explore the potential of the Arts Council Collection to offer health and wellbeing benefits to local people.

‘The group already wanted artistic activities so all that was needed was facilitation on my part,’ Ms Mosely explained.

The patients selected the art works during a series of online meetings, which also provided key social outlets for the group.

Ms Moseley said the project had been ‘completely transformational’ for those involved. She said that one of the patients involved was ‘completely isolated and felt completely alone, friends all moved away. She’s come out of this project transformed, social, believes in her ability to fit in and has contributed massively to the project.’

Impact of social prescribing

Ms Moseley also highlighted the impact of the initiative on the practice and explained that staff at the surgery 'have started to become more aware of the support services that are available, while building up their own knowledge.’ She added that Morrab Surgery has now become ‘one of the higher referral partners’ to social prescribing initiatives as a result of the increase in awareness.

Meanwhile, the gallery has also benefited from the exhibition. ‘It’s well understood that participation in cultural activities can make people happier and more content. Here at Newlyn Art Gallery and The Exchange, we are now building evidence that shows these tangible health benefits,’ Mr Green explained.

Ms Moseley said the practice is continuing to build on the success of the exhibition and expanding the range of social prescribing initiatives on offer. Ite currently provides free pilates, Tai Chi and yoga sessions and is in the process of developing a new project in partnership with the National Trust.

However, Ms Moseley warned that continued funding was vital to the ongoing success of projects such as this. ‘These are sustainable outcomes for the community and build new resources that will help beyond the lifespan of a single project,' she said. ' But we need to be given more chance to build those resources, otherwise it won't make any sustainable difference in the community.’

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Rebuild GP campaign logo

Hundreds of GPs sign open letter highlighting 'decades of neglect' of general practice

Hundreds of GPs have signed an open letter to patients warning that 'decades of neglect'...

Dr Farah Jameel

PCNs are 'existential threat' to GP independent contractor model, BMA warns

The BMA's England GP committee has warned that PCNs pose an 'existential threat'...

Houses of Parliament

GP partnerships 'like collapsing Jenga stack' after Javid threat to nationalise practices

Sajid Javid's decision to back a report calling for the end of the GMS contract within...

£20 notes spread out

VAT trap for PCNs could strip millions of pounds from general practice

Tens of millions of pounds could be stripped from general practice because work carried...

Talking General Practice logo

Podcast: Is the BMA representing GPs effectively, why GPs face a pension tax hit, and views on the workload crisis

In our regular news review the team discusses representation of GPs, a new survey...

Man sleeping

NICE guidance on insomnia backs app to replace sleeping pills

Hundreds of thousands of people with insomnia could be offered treatment via a mobile...