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Arts and Health Australia

Chris Mead

Chris Mead

Chris Mead, Artistic Director of Creature Tales, Tasmania, Australia

Chris Mead’s career spans across wildlife conservation, cultural tourism, education, participatory arts and theatre. Creature Tales emerged in 2002 delivering creative approaches in strategic communication across a range of sectors, engaging artists to reveal the stories and our sense of place in Tasmanian communities.

A working partnership began with Stephanie Finn in 2010 and we have since flourished as an agile arts company where the core business is innovation, further developing new ideas with a diverse group of people across arts, health and education.

Achievements include award winning “Billy”, an annual rite of passage project for children in early years adopted by two school communities; “The Carnival of the Here and Now”, immersive theatre in aged care; “Animated Anthologies”, artist in residence in dementia care settings; “The Big Window Project”, creative approaches to person centred care programs for job seekers.

The strength of Creature Tales work is based on brokering partnerships and nurturing engagement through intergenerational exchange that taps into collective values and ideas. Much of the work concentrates on the social determinants of health and pivotal life transitions that have the potential to map our futures.

Chris Mead and the work of Creature Tales has received a number of awards including Arts and Health Australia Awards for Excellence - National Leadership Award 2014; Semi Finalist, Tasmanian Community Achievement Award 2014; Finalist, Tasmanian Community Achievement Awards 2013; Arts and Health Australia Awards for Excellence - Arts and Community Health 2012.

Speaking the language of your audience to influence change

When we are all singing from the same song sheet, change begins to happen. This presentation looks at creative ageing strategies as a normalised component in fostering stronger, more socially cohesive communities. Creating avenues for seniors to purposefully contribute to activities that benefit others, nurtures a space for intergenerational exchange of ideas and shared values. The artist is the conduit for connection and our role is to broker the engagement and speak the language of a myriad of audiences. This summarised journey of five years of work reflects on how we aim to influence change working responsively to a “whole of community” approach in reducing disadvantage, poor health and social isolation.