The smallest acts of creativity can increase our wellbeing. When it is integrated into our daily lives, it can be transformative, reducing stress and anxiety, facilitating self-discovery and sense of purpose while also enabling us to socially connect with others. For these reasons, creative therapies have been used for many years in mental health recovery.
Join The Hunt Museum, the HSE’s Mid West ARIES project and Mental Health Ireland for a panel discussion exploring the benefits that creativity can bring to your life and where you can locally access opportunities to flex your creative muscles.
Mid West ARIES offers a range of courses, information and educational materials on Recovery and Well-being in Mental Health which are created and delivered by people with lived experience of mental health challenges.
Panel Discussion Chair
Margaret Keane, Education Training and Development Officer, Mid West ARIES
Margaret has worked at Mid West ARIES in the above role for two years. This role has enabled her to channel her passion for design teaching and learning in social emotional learning and mental health education. Having previously worked in training, creative and management positions across several sectors including mental health education, education technology and media, Margaret’s skills and experience significantly contributed to the successful transition to online courses made by Mid West ARIES during the pandemic.
Aisling Kennedy- Project Co-ordinator, Waterford Healing Arts Trust and Freelance Arts and Health Curator
Aisling works as a Project Co-ordinator for Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT). WHAT is Ireland’s leading arts and health organisation. Aisling manages their Iontas Arts and Mental Health programme, their exhibitions programme and University Hospital Waterford’s Art Collection. Aisling also works as a freelance Arts and Health Curator with the Arts in Health team at Children’s Health Ireland. In 2021 she completed an MA in Cultural Policy and Arts Management at University College Dublin, she is AXELOS Global Best Practice qualified in project management and has a BA in English Literature and Art History.
Maria Cagney, Curator of Education & Outreach, The Hunt Museum
Maria has worked at the Hunt Museum since 2016 and in the museum sector in Northern Ireland since 2005. She is responsible for all educational provision at the Hunt Museum working with schools, community groups and volunteers. With an educational background in Fine Art, Maria is experienced at using museum collections as a stimulus for creativity and has over many years observed the health and wellbeing benefits that this can bring for participants for all ages.
Mike O’Neill – Manager, Mid West ARIES
Mike is the specialist lead in the development, management and delivery of mental health education across HSE Mid West Community Healthcare. He has a strong commitment to service improvement and change management, not just in how the mental health service becomes more recovery focused but also in how people can gain the knowledge and skills to enhance their recovery and wellbeing.
Sheila Richardson, Educator, Artist & Creative Arts Psychotherapist
Sheila Richardson is a practising artist supported by Limerick City Arts & Development LCC with a studio at the Cappamore Artists Complex, Co. Limerick. She is a P/T Lecturer in Visual Arts Education at Mary Immaculate College. She has worked with many marginalised and disadvantaged groups over the years as a Teacher, Creative Arts Facilitator and in her clinical role as Art Psychotherapist. She is passionate about helping young people to find their voice through Education and Creativity. Her most recent and successful project running for the last 5 years is a project based in Narrative 4, LMk City. It is called ‘The Girls Stories Project’. Its aim is to bring adolescent migrant girls together who are new to the city and county. They have often fled their homes from areas of conflict and the project provides a safe and supportive space for them. The principle and practices of therapeutic creativity are at the heart of Sheila’s work.
Claire Flynn – Development Officer (Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary), Mental Health Ireland
Claire has been working in the above role with Mental Health Ireland for the last 18 months. Prior to this she was Manager at Limerick Mental Health for five years and Project Coordinator with Le Cheile for one year. In her current role with MHI, Claire works closely with voluntary groups to develop and deliver new health and wellbeing initiatives. She also contributes to MHI Recovery initiatives. such as peer-led day services, Recovery Fairs (mental health promotion events) and Recovery Colleges (learning to support your own recovery). For many years Claire has actively volunteered with Garryowen Community Development Project and until recently she was Chair of their Board.
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