Practicing Well - A must read report!

If you do one thing this month, I urge you to take a look at Nicola Naismith’s thoughtful, useful and timely Practicing Well Report! Naismith makes a compelling case for a shared, collaborative and co-produced approach to supporting artists working in this sector.

Naismith paints a picture of the wider global context - and more localised professional contexts - which have left many of us reeling and in need of support. 

However, perhaps one of her most important insights is to identify a culture of coping that is so engrained within the arts that many of us do not realise that we need support until it is too late. 

Encouraging all of us to think about our support needs – not just so that we can cope better, but so that we can learn, develop, grow and thrive! – Naismith sets out a practical menu of support options available to artists. 

Acknowledging that we need to try things before we can know what we want and need, she recommends a layered menu of support activities so that people can choose what’s right for them at different times.

Naismith’s recommendations speak to funders, policy makers, researchers and practitioners. Wherever you situate your practice, I hope Practicing Well inspires you to start conversations around the support that we all deserve and need to practice well!

Practicing Well has inspired me to plant the seeds of a personal manifesto. Perhaps this is something that will grow and develop over the Spring?

  • Connect and collaborate
  • Tap into curiosity
  • Create space for dialogue
  • Use creative practice to reflect, process and make meaning

I look forward to contributing to the Practicing Well conversation over the coming months during which I will be:

  • Evaluating the impact of WAHWN’s artist support programme How Ya Doing? to find out what works and why for artists taking part in support activities
  • Developing a series of creative reflective practice taster workshops, the first of which will be in April with creative researcher Rebecka Fleetwood Smith
  • Delivering professional development and training programmes including this one which is open for bookings now Engage Creative Evaluation
  • Continuing to mentor a handful of wonderful humans who work in this sector! 

Jane Willis

Director, Willis newson