Making Connections: The Art of Social Prescribing Conference

Between May 2015-March 2016 we are running a series of regional events to bring together commissioners, arts and cultural providers and others interested in increasing levels of cultural commissioning. Delivered by NEF, these events focus on common problems faced by commissioners.


  1. This one day conference aimed to respond to increasing interest in social prescribing. It presented the latest academic and applied research with particular reference to the role that arts and cultural activities play in social prescribing. A range of workshops that took place introduced a range of established arts and cultural programmes, highlighted good practice approaches in mental health and wellbeing and encouraged debate on how to most effectively commission, fund and evaluate social prescribing schemes.

  2. It was delivered in partnership with NCVO, NEF, Institute of Cultural Capital, University of Liverpool: Heseltine Institute for Public Policy and Practice, and Arts & Humanities Research Council.
  3. In the opening plenary Professor Camic from Canterbury Christ Church University gave a presentation on AHRC Museums on Prescription research programme.
  4. Next Kerry Wilson and Gayle Whelan, Institute of Cultural Capital, gave a presentation on researching the efficacy of social prescribing in mental health care. Below is the presentation and summary research paper.
  5. Before lunch there was a Q&A and response from an expert panel which included Helen Featherstone (Arts Council England), Melanie Crew (Department of Culture, Media and Sport) and Jessica Harris (Cultural Commissioning Programme).
  6. Melanie informed us that DCMS are launching proposals for a new far-reaching cultural strategy, which is the first in 50 years. There is an online discussion platform for you to share and discuss your ideas under each of the strategy's main themes and challenges.
  7. Afternoon Workshops

  8. In the afternoon a number of workshops took place where attendees could find out more about established arts social prescribing programmes. Below is links to presentations and organisations' websites from the sessions and links to organisations' websites.
  9. Workshop 1
  10. Workshop 2
  11. Wellbeing Enterprises social prescribing in Halton
  12. Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group Arts and Social Prescribing in Practice