Image shown: Dr Jenny Elliott is delighted to announce the programme for Arts + Health: Check Up Check In 2020. Themed Taking Risks, this leading national arts and health event will take place on Thursday 23 April at Draíocht in Blanchardstown, Dublin and is open to healthcare professionals, arts practitioners and anyone interested in learning more about this exciting field. 

Check Up Check In 2020 is organised by / Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT) and Create, the national development agency for collaborative arts, with local partners Fingal County Council Arts Office and Draíocht, and is funded by the Arts Council and the HSE.

The event features a keynote address by artistic director, contemporary dance choreographer and healthcare professional Dr Jenny Elliott, and presentations by some of the most innovative and creative practitioners working in arts and health in Ireland today.

Keynote speaker 
Dr Jenny Elliott has worked in arts in health development locally and internationally for over 25 years as a contemporary dance choreographer, dancer in residence, healthcare professional, artistic director, lecturer and researcher. As Artistic Director of Arts Care in Northern Ireland, she has developed models of health and wellbeing which engage service users and healthcare staff in bespoke dance programmes, in addition to many other arts in health initiatives. The author of several articles and reports on arts and health, Jenny also contributes to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing, Westminster.

Responding to the event theme Taking Risks, presentations will explore the notion of ‘risk’ for artists compared to healthcare professionals, and the challenge of creating innovative, exciting and inspiring art within the specific context of a health setting. In her keynote address, Dr Jenny Elliott considers the necessity for artists who practice in healthcare contexts to push boundaries and to engage in experimentation. Through philosophical consideration and examples from professional practice, she will trace the benefits of risk taking and the deep impact of the arts on wellbeing, reducing practice fatigue among artists and nurses in clinical settings and inducing change in healthcare cultures. Jenny will further share her vast experience and offer practical advice for negotiating the challenges of working in arts and health in a workshop setting later in the day.

Check Up Check In promotes solidarity among arts and health practitioners and provides opportunities for participants to share their experiences, exchange ideas and support and inspire each other in their practice through a range of themed presentations including:

  • What’s My Practice? – A series of workshops examining methodologies employed in collaborative/ participatory arts and health practice, involving a range of artforms
  • Sticking Points: What to do when you get stuck – Artists and healthcare professionals share challenges they have faced in their work and look for solutions to overcome them
  • Other People’s Practices: Dealing with the reality – A conversation with artist John Conway, about an innovative artist residency and research project at Usher’s Island, a National Forensic Mental Health Service community centre
  • Take a chance on me: Public Art and Risk – Art curators, artists and healthcare professionals share their experiences of navigating the commissioning process in the healthcare context.

24 April: Workshop and Advice Clinics
The following day, Friday 24 April, artist Marielle MacLeman will host a workshop entitled Trust, Risk, Recover – The Scope of Navigation, where she will explore the complexities and interplay of trust and risk through the creative and administrative processes of arts and health practice. Open to all those involved in the delivery of arts and health projects, participants will be invited to consider negotiation and the vulnerabilities of all stakeholders – patient, artist and supporting staff – and how outcomes, personal resilience and relationships are recovered when things don’t go to plan. The workshop will also include an online contribution from Glasgow-based performance artist Steven Anderson, and will take place at Draíocht, Blanchardstown, with support from Create.

The team from and Waterford Healing Arts Trust will also host advice clinics for anyone working in the area of arts and health on Friday 24 April. The clinics will take place at Draíocht and are free of charge but must be booked in advance by contacting

Booking information


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