HERA – Healing Expressive and Recovery Arts Project

We are proud to be involved in The Hera Partnership – a new arts & health programme delivered across Brighton & Hove. It is a 3-year project running from 2020-23, to provide creative activities for people living with complex or long-term health challenges, which can be accessed for free through their GP surgery. This includes creative workshops, training, access support for low confidence, and public events to showcase the creativity and diversity of Brighton & Hove.

D&A have joined the partnership, along with three of Brighton & Hove’s leading arts and health organisations; the Robin Hood Health Foundation (RHHF), The Old Market (TOM) and Creative Future (CF). Our role in the partnership involves bringing our lived experience of disability, our knowledge of enabling assistive technologies and strategy-led support and an inclusive intersectional approach to accessing cultural activities as a route to improved health and well-being. 

We believe art and culture should be available and accessible to anyone, regardless of socioeconomics, health, age, gender and so on. The cultural capital we amass through education and exposure to different cultural experiences plays a fundamental role in shaping opportunities and the social mobility afforded to us. It is imperative that the arts are inclusive, in order not to further stratify our society. The arts expand our horizons, stretch our creativity, act as a therapeutic outlet and allow us to see and express things differently.  We are proud to be involved in a project that champions an inclusive approach to the arts!

Colouring in the HERA peacock

HERA Programme Director, Emma Drew, said:

“This funding from BHCC provides a unique opportunity to bring together four of the city’s leading arts & health organisations to form The Hera Partnership. The ambition is to deliver an innovative, evidence-based programme of creative workshops, arts & health training, access support for people with low confidence and public events, to show how the special creativity and diversity of our city can benefit health & wellbeing.

Arts and culture are a basic right, regardless of your health status, and a healthy life includes creativity.

Our charity was set up by visionary GP Laura Marshall Andrews, and since 2014 the Hera Project has developed new ways to support people with their physical and mental health, using dance, music, art, photography, creative writing and digital computing. Last year, people engaging in three or more group sessions with us saw an average 41% reduction in their need for GP appointments, according to an evaluation done by a doctor from Brighton & Sussex Medical School.

By adopting a collaborative approach, the Hera Partnership will harness the unique strengths and expertise that each organisation brings. It will allow us to work with others to build a professional city-wide framework of arts and health activity from which further creative opportunities can evolve. The funding means that, together, we can benefit even more people and significantly increase the impact of the programme.”

Our Partners

The Robin Hood Health Foundation

A registered charity that integrates creative activities for people with long-term health concerns into primary care, and all activities are free. It has received funding from Arts Council England, NHS England, trusts and foundations, and public donations. The RHHF is the NHS social prescribing provider for the Goldstone Primary Care Network in Hove.

More info

The Old Market

An established professional arts venue with a varied and high quality programme, and a commitment to being active in its local community.

More info

Creative Future

Founded in 2007, Creative Future is a bridge from the margins to the mainstream and a catalyst for individual change. We empower people to use their creative talent to change their lives. Providing a platform, professional support and creative training for those who face significant barriers to accessing mainstream arts, including mental health, disability and cultural or socioeconomic background. Creative Future exists to make the arts more diverse and representative of the world we live in.

More info

Abstract Artwork by Suzie Poyntz

A piece of art created during a HERA workshop using paint and collage.

Suzie Poyntz, Abstract Artwork- collage and paint