Day in the Life: Alexis Butt

B&W photograph of a white woman with long mousey blonde hair smiling sitting in a chair

What have you been doing today?

My day started with a swim before work (something I try to do a couple of days a week). Then since sitting down at my desk at my co-working space my day has been very varied, but focused on my work at the National Centre for Creative Health (NCCH); the day started with a NCCH staff meeting discussing current actions and project support, then I collated a new organisational policy, I then worked on posting some social media and communications for the newly launched Creative Health Review, and then had a meeting with the Chair of our GP Special Interest Group to plan objectives for the year ahead, and then collated a general newsflash for NCCH. After lunch, I updated our NCCH website with a Creative Health Review Case Study, as well as a new Blog from our Creative Health Associate Programme, I also phoned the Charities Commission, and printed and posted Access to Work forms and finished a few outstanding HR items. Then I finished setting up a range of regional events for our Creative Health Associates on eventbrite, and had a meeting with our Creative Health Champions Chair, and sent a few Spring meetings reminders to some of our working groups including Advisory Group, and Creative Health Champions. To finish the day, I started on the process of on-boarding two of our newest Trustees. Throughout the day I responded to a range of general enquiries and emails, worked on social media, and finalised our Creative Health Toolkit which is due to be launched in the next couple of weeks. 


Is that a typical day for you?

Yes, most of my days include a very hands-on approach to the smooth running of an organisation, and using my wide range of skills including HR, development, communications, administration, partnership working, and programming, to facilitate platforms needed to deliver work in the field, help support others in understanding the complexities of the sector, and enable opportunities for people to work together in equal partnership and for equal benefit.


When did you start working with culture, health and wellbeing, and how?

I started working with the CHWA team very early on in its organisational journey, due to my role at Arts and Health South West (AHSW). AHSW helped incubate CHWA as a national organisation, and we worked very closely with the team to help achieve the realisation of an independent charity. Once CHWA became independent, my working relationship continued through the National Centre for Creative Health (NCCH) and NCCH’s Memorandum of Understanding with CHWA. I have always enjoyed working with the CHWA team and feel very inspired by the organisation’s dynamic nature and particularly CHWA’s ideas around equity. So, I am delighted to be taking on the role as a South West CHWA Regional Champion this year. 


What was the last project you came across that inspired you?

There are two projects which I have been recently inspired by:

I was invited to the opening of a public exhibition ‘Project Becomings’ in an inner-city shopping centre close to where I live in Bristol.  Project Becomings is part of a Doctoral research project which investigates ways to prevent and respond to the damaging impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences, thought to affect one in six adults in the UK. The research explored how trauma recovery could be understood and practised beyond (not disregarding) medical narratives.  The project nurtured an environment which sought to work with participants, ensuring they were integral to the project's development, and also developing self-confidence and critical conversation regarding recovery. The exhibition of the project was hosted in an inner-city shopping centre visited by a huge range of people from diverse backgrounds which make up our Bristol community, and I felt it was is a perfect example of how research, lived experience, and creative practices for critical exploration, expression and public engagement can be woven together. I am glad to hear that the project is now keen to bring the approach to a broader audience, in addition to the exhibition and creative elements, there will be workshops for practitioners, researchers and the public to share methods benefits and support meaningful change.

The other project is by a Charity I found out about through some of my work around Integrated Care Systems. I had a chance meeting with the Principal for Health Inequalities Mental Health and Community Engagement at South Gloucestershire Council, who told me about a personal project (completely outside of a work remit) in the locality of Wiltshire called Word Fest. With the aim of improving literacy across the Calne Area, Word Fest uses creativity, storytelling and community activities to break down the barriers to engaging with literacy, and encouraging those who most need support to think about approaching literacy through a difference lens. I think it is a great example of the power of creativity as a vehicle for engagement and access in addressing key inequalities in our communities.


As an arts graduate with over 20 years’ experience working across the arts and cultural sector in the UK and in Asia, Alexis enjoys using her wide range of skills and background to help others feel supported in their creative and professional practice. She works part-time as General Manager at the National Centre for Creative Health, and previously worked part-time for Arts and Health South West. Alexis is also a creative practitioner and can often be found in her studio painting or creating silver jewellery. Additionally, she is a qualified Paddleboard Instructor, and so alongside advocacy for creative health, Alexis believes that blue health (being in, on or close to water) can be a powerful support for mental health and wellbeing.