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Arts and Health Australia

Clive Parkinson

A Recoverist Manifesto

Over the last two years people affected by substance addiction in the UK, Italy and Turkey have been exploring their recovery through the visual arts. As part of this process, people have participated in a programme of cultural exchange and worked with contemporary artists from the three countries to understand differences, similarities and frustrations. This process produced a number of workshops and exhibitions, a symposium that brought everyone together in Manchester, and an evaluation of the impact of the activity on wellbeing.

Bringing such diverse partners together exposed raw emotions and saw people whose self-belief had been battered by life experiences, questioning societal attitudes to addiction. People wanted to talk, to share and to reimagine what life might be like. Through facilitated group work with people in recovery, families, friends and professionals, we began to give voice to shared experiences of life. An unexpected outcome of the project was that these thoughts and ideas were powerful - too powerful to ignore - shedding light on the myths around addiction and barriers to recovery. So we began to create A Recoverist Manifesto bringing together the authentic, poetic voices of diverse people.

This presentation will explore elements of the project and its arts output, and share the first incarnation of A Recoverist Manifesto. Clive hopes that people in recovery in Australia might want to contribute to this ongoing work.

Clive ParkinsonClive Parkinson

Clive Parkinson is the director of Arts for Health. Based at Manchester Metropolitan University, it is the longest established organisation of its sort. Clive is a passionate advocate for culture and the arts and is constantly striving to further understand the potential impact of the arts on public health. He is a founding member of the National Alliance for Arts, Health and Wellbeing, which recently established an All Party Parliamentary Group for Arts, Health and Wellbeing

He is currently a co-investigator on the Dementia & Imagination project in the UK, which is exploring the links between the visual arts, wellbeing and sense of community. Heavily involved in arts and health development work in Italy, France, Lithuania and Turkey, he is currently working with people in recovery from substance addiction to develop a Recoversit Manifesto, which he will be sharing at the conference this year.

Inequalities in health, the arts and wider society, are central to his thinking and his current research scrutinizes the art sectors slavish adherence to reductive methods of understanding its own value. He is also interested in the unexpected outcomes of arts engagement. Clive regularly blogs at: artsforhealthmmu.blogspot.co.uk