East Midlands

A performance by young people for Hubbub Theatre
Image: Hubbub Theatre. Photography by Chris Webb.

Each region is represented by champions from the museums sector and arts sector, each working with health and wellbeing. The regional champions are working with the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance in a voluntary capacity. Become a member and join the conversation.

Helena Reynolds in a pink zip up coat and a head band

Helena Reynolds
Arts and Health Coordinator
Arts Derbyshire

Arts Derbyshire is the strategic arts charity for the County. Our aim is to enrich people's lives through the arts; we work with artists, service providers and the public to provide strategic direction for the arts in Derbyshire, to enable collaborative working for arts development, and to encourage people to take part in the arts. Helena is the Arts and Health Co-ordinator for Arts Derbyshire, working on community projects, sector support and also strategic development.

Laura Phillips
Elsa Phillips (age 8)

Laura Phillips
Head of Interpretation and Display
Derby Museums

Laura is Head of Interpretation and Display at Derby Museums where she works across the Museum and Art Gallery, Pickford’s House and Museum of Making sites. Prior to this, she developed community relationships and co-produced programmes at the British Museum. Laura’s particularly interested in how to make museums relevant and valuable to their local communities. Her work focuses on exploration of age friendly practice, ways of working that connect culture, health and wellbeing, participatory practice and building mutually beneficial relationships with partners.


A white woman wearing a puffer jacket smiling at the camera with her hair tied back standing in front of a green field

Louise Thirwall
Project Development Officer
Nene Park

Louise is Project Development Officer (Arts) at Nene Park in Peterborough. The Park spans over 900 hectares of open and inspiring greenspace and hosts the city’s public sculpture collection, alongside a growing cultural programme. Louise also works one day a week with Peterborough Presents CPP supporting the delivery of co-produced creative community projects and events across the City. Prior to Nene Park, Louise worked at Wysing Arts Centre where she was Operations Director, and Coordinator of the East Contemporary Visual Arts Network (East CVAN). 

Louise’s interests are in co-creation and partnership programmes that support creativity and wellbeing and explore new ways of working.

East Midlands CHWA Spring Gathering - Online - Monday 26 March, 2023, 9.30am-12.30pm

Alongside the usual opportunities to network and share news and activity, CHWA East Midlands Regional Champions are thrilled to announce that Oliver Alvin-Wilson and Ben Spiller from 1623 Theatre Company will be joining them to explore their mini-series 'What We Feel'

'What We Feel' follows an online peer support group who use Shakespeare speeches to unlock conversations around mental health and lived experiences. Co-created with mental health communities including professionals and survivors, the series is produced by 1623 Theatre Company and D&O productions and supported by Arts Council England.

Through this ground-breaking and challenging work we will be delving deeper into inclusion, diversity, co-creation, and good practice in care for all in the creative process.

We will be watching two episodes at this event. Preview the series here (please take note of content warnings attached to each episode, which appear underneath each video, before viewing).

Read the full agenda and more information about the work here.

Culture, Health and Wellbeing East Midlands Podcast Project

This podcast shines a spotlight on diversity, inclusion and representation in the region. 

It was developed and created during 2020-1 during the Covid19 pandemic by Laura Phillips from Derby Museums and Rachel Howfield Massey from Arts Derbyshire and Other Ways to Walk. 

Laura and Rachel volunteer as East Midlands Champions for Culture Health and Wellbeing Alliance, representing museums and arts respectively. They are passionate about supporting artists and practitioners working in the liminal space of arts and health to thrive and feel supported.

East Midlands CHWA Autumn Gathering 2022 - Online - Monday 28 November, 10am-12.30pm

Self-care focus for you: 'Wintering - A time for restoration and renewal at a deep level’

You are warmly invited to this free East Midlands CHWA Network Event, via Zoom, hosted by regional champions Laura Phillips (Derby Museums) and Helena Reynolds (Arts Derbyshire Arts and Health), and Hayley Youell of the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance.

Continuing our theme of self-care as practitioners, we will be delving deep into the concept of wintering for restoration and renewal with Rachel Massey of Other Ways to Walk. Resilience is not about how we endure but about how we recharge. When we are rested we let things alone and we let ourselves alone; to rest is to prepare to give the best of ourselves. Connecting with nature - the more than human world - can help us rest and recharge more quickly and fully.  

This is also an opportunity to meet with other culture and health practitioners from the region, find out how everyone is doing and think about what's next for the region and CHWA support.

This event is for East Midlands culture and health practitioners who are members of the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance. If you are not yet a member of CHWA, you can join here.

The East Midlands Gatherings 2020

CHWA Regional Champions Rachel Howfield Massey and Laura Phillips held two series of gatherings for the East Midlands membership during June and July 2020. The aims of the sessions were to provide a space for practitioners to come together and reflect, share experiences during this challenging time and start to shape the next steps for regional development.

To get involved with future regional activities, please make sure you are signed up as a CHWA member and select the East Midlands region here.

Revaluing Creativity: East Midlands CHWA Gatherings, June 2020

Following consultation with the membership, the first series of sessions were framed around the question, Is creativity for wellbeing being revalued by participants and how do we harness this new enthusiasm? Rachel Howfield Massey instigated conversations with a provocation and members explored ideas for the development of the regional network and steering group.

A Crisis of Touch: East Midlands CHWA Gatherings, July 2020

Leading with the question, Have we found ways to create intimacy at a distance, particularly in relation to digital poverty?, Rachel and Laura invited dance artist and researcher, Dr Gemma Collard-Stokes, to frame a provocation considering the crisis of touch experienced by many due to the Covid-19 pandemic.