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Liverpool Lighthouse partnered with Edge Hill University to deliver Arts For The Blues

Updated: May 25, 2023

Liverpool Lighthouse is excited to be partnering with Edge Hill University to deliver Arts for the Blues, a ground-breaking creative wellbeing research project, funded, in part, by Arts Council England. The project involves people with mild to moderate depression taking part in community-based, therapy-informed creative group sessions with artists. Through the project, the participants will co-create and co-produce an immersive performance at Liverpool Lighthouse that will then go on to tour the North West this summer.

Arts for the Blues is a pioneering project led by Edge Hill University and developed in collaboration with the University of Salford, which uses the arts to tackle depression.

It is a collaborative research project between artists, therapists, universities, NHS trusts and cultural institutions. It has been developed to address a vital need in the North West, which has high levels of mental health problems, exacerbated by economic conditions and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Currently, mental health provision predominantly focusses on talking-based therapies. However, this excludes many people for whom talking therapy is not a viable treatment; including those who struggle with verbal communication or don’t have a strong command of English.

The high levels of drop-out from primary care mental health services (IAPT) – calculated at 63% by NHS Digital in 2021 – show that alternatives are needed, which is why Arts for the Blues has been developed. By using a creative psychological therapy that encompasses movement, visual arts, drama, music, creative writing and talking, people can experience and express emotions, connect with others and develop useful techniques to use outside of the therapy.

Over the last five years, the project has worked with hundreds of adults and children in schools and mental health services across the North West. This project at Liverpool Lighthouse is pioneering as it is the first time Arts for the Blues has been brought into a community setting for adults. Evidence from this research project will help move forward research into delivering mental health treatment and support through creative means outside of clinical settings.

Results from previous research with adults showed decrease in anxiety and an improvement in wellbeing. A pilot trial with 56 children suffering emotional or behavioural difficulties was similarly successful; 12 months after the intervention, there were sustained improvements in their quality of life, quality of sleep and overall wellbeing.

We're looking forward to hosting what we are confident will be the incredible, impactful work produced by the project, information on performance dates will be available on our website and social media channels.

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