Welcome to Arts Access International

Arts Access International has been developed by Penny Eames and Dr Robin Philipp to advance a philosophy that all should have access to means of creative expression and cultural well-being and that throughout the world projects that advance well-being through cultural and arts programmes should be celebrated and enhanced.

The organisation developed as a way to further the work and experience of Arts Access Aotearoa internationally and was a result of an increasing number of requests for assistance in Australia, South Africa, United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Singapore. Responding to these requests for assistance took the organisation to many parts of the world and encouraged Penny and Robin to have a base in the United Kingdom as well as in New Zealand.

In recent years Arts Access International has increasingly been examining the role of culture and cultural well-being in society and in the community.  The arts are often the tool.

The Art in Prison programme launched in February 2005 in South Africa was modelled on the Art in Prison programme which we developed in New Zealand prisons. This was the first major project outside New Zealand and enabled us to build a positive organisation with an international focus.

Creative spaces in South Africa and Australia are also models.

It is now over 15 years since Penny Eames set up Arts Access Aotearoa. That organisation produced a wide range of publications which have been read extensively nationally and internationally. The international interest generated in the work of Arts Access Aotearoa led to the need to set up the new international organisation – Arts Access International.

This organisation is initially being run under the umbrella of the PSE Consultancy, but is beginning to gather momentum of its own and is the organisation that promotes cultural and social well-being throughout the world.

Under this banner Arts Access International it will concentrate on the following:

  1. running international workshops, particularly in relation to art in prison, art in health and the formation of creative spaces, all for people on the margins.
  2. having a website that provokes discussion and support; includes a tool kit for health professionals;
  3. conducting research into the role of the arts in social sector;
  4. developing creative business solutions for people on the margins;
  5. producing quality publications associated with access and participation issues on CD Rom;
  6. setting up creative spaces for people on the margins anywhere in the world but particularly in Australia and South Africa;
  7. examines how cultural economics and cultural capital can be used to enhance community wellbeing.

An underlying hypothesis of the work of Arts Access International is the way that, from within ourselves, we look outwards at the world around us which influences our perception of factors in the external environment that impinge on us and how we respond to them. The relationship is dynamic and symbiotic.

Greater understanding is needed of this interdependent relationship and of how the roles in it of creative endeavour and aesthetic appreciation benefit our morale, self-esteem, confidence, well-being, sense of belonging and personal development. This understanding helps to give pleasure, enjoyment, direction, purpose and meaning to our lives. There is an art to acquiring and utilising this understanding and its basis is in the arts. Appreciation of it and the culture associated with it are supportive of us and of society. They are worth fostering as they enable us in the art of living.

If you are interested and want to contact us:   penny.eames@paradise.net.nz     or   Robin.Philipp@UHBristol.nhs.uk

This website has been jointly sponsored by:

The Centre for Health in Employment and the Environment (CHEE) Bristol Royal Infirmary: England and  PSE Consultancy   www.pseconsultancy.com

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