As 2021 draws to a close, we extend a huge thank you to everyone in the performing arts community and to all our contributors, members, and supporters. The Arts Wellbeing Collective is proudly industry-led, and your unending generosity, commitment and insights enable us to do what we do. We are profoundly grateful for your energy and engagement with the program; for the ways you continue to have and support conversations about mental health and wellbeing in your workplaces; and for showing up for yourselves and each other every day. We all have a role to play in shaping the future we want to see – luckily, we are doing this together.
It’s been another big year for the Collective with hundreds of performing arts workers and mental and allied health specialists collaborating across 2021 to produce programs, services and resources designed to support our people. Together, we have developed:
- Back After Interval series: a set of guides supporting people returning to creative work and workplaces – for all performing arts workers, for managers and leaders, and for performers and creatives.
- Power Up! Performance Energy Video by Fog Theatre and video artist Kate Geck: a brand new performance energy offering that shifts the viewer’s energy from isolation and separation towards expansion, fun, and renewed creative connection.
- Mental Health Matinees: seven new 60-minute webinars covering a wide range of topics, delivered by subject matter experts, bringing our total webinar library to 19 videos
- Sleep Well: a short guide looking at some common sleep challenges, and simple strategies for addressing them
- Spotlight Magazine, Issue 3: The Arts Wellbeing Collective magazine, jam-packed with 68 pages of articles and information sharing ideas, experiences and examples of good practice
- Pet Collective: a snapshot of the pets of the Arts Wellbeing, an ode to our beloved furry, feathered and other friends.
We’ve received some lovely recognition and hit some exciting milestones during 2021, recognising our collective efforts towards a better future for all performing arts workers:
- AWC were featured as a case study in both the Victorian Royal Commission into Mental Health final report and the National Mental Health Commission series on industry initiatives supporting mentally healthy workplaces.
- We continued our online and in-person Mental Health First Aid training and more than 300 people across the sector have now been trained in this important skillset.
- We delivered 24 presentations, panels and interviews, in Australia and to international audiences, to support the growing conversation on mental health across our entire industry.
- We worked closely with more than 20 organisations to deliver specially designed workshops and to support the development of tailored mental health action plans.
- Our meditations for performing arts workers have exceeded 1500 downloads
- Our website has been visited more than 100,000 times
Finally, we are delighted to announce the appointment of the new Head of Program, Arts Wellbeing Collective! Meghan Bourke is an experienced arts leader, event producer and project manager with a passion for inclusive, progressive and community engaged projects. We have lured Meghan away from her role as General Manager/Co-CEO of the Women’s Circus, and before that she has worked for many years in a range of producing and leadership roles in not-for-profit, local government, music and arts festivals.
Meghan is a passionate advocate for accessibility, diversity and inclusion and gravitates to work where she can inspire and support positive change. She is thrilled to be taking this role and is enthused by the opportunities to be a catalyst for systemic change in the performing arts sector. She will be a fabulous addition to the team as we develop our next strategic plan and evolve our business model. Meghan is starting on January 17, allowing her to squeeze in an intensive residential program towards her Master of Public Policy and Management, with particular focus on mental health and community engaged policy. Welcome Meghan!
The Arts Wellbeing Collective team are excited to have a decent break over the festive season, and to come back in the new year with a renewed team and focus. See you in 2022!
Wishing you a safe and restful summer.
Elissa, Kam, Matt, Meghan, and Zac
The Arts Wellbeing Collective team