Tin Arts performing at Cultures of Health & Wellbeing national conference
Tin Arts performing at Cultures of Health & Wellbeing (21-22 March 2019, Great North Museum: Hancock)

I have been thinking about cooperation a lot lately. The Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance is a small organisation in terms of resource – but in terms of partnership and collaboration its reach is enormous. Over 3,000 people have now signed up as members, along with almost 70 partner organisations. The prevailing atmosphere of openness and generosity from all these people and organisations is truly something to be celebrated.

The structure of the Alliance is allowing us a breadth of thinking that gives us real collective strength. This is an ongoing, expanding conversation, which of necessity must include people living through ill-health, people at the sharp end of inequalities, clinicians, bureaucrats, artists, politicians, curators, climate change activists, librarians, researchers, historians, educators, digital specialists, and so on and so on. Thanks to this breadth, the Alliance becomes its own kind of augmented reality – behind a single question a myriad other possibilities and contexts bloom. It can be vertiginous but the need for us to think together is real. When we argue for the importance of opening up health to our own particular perspective or profession or practice, we argue for all these others, and more. I believe we argue, ultimately, for cooperation and communication across difference.

Next year, I hope the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance will continue to foster relationships across all these spaces. In the meantime, thank you to everyone who is helping to make this Alliance a reality. We wish everyone a very happy holiday, and good things for 2019 and beyond.