We are delighted to announce that we have secured funding from the Arts Council for our exciting new research and development project Encounter. HertsCreation Co-Directors Alex McIntyre and Martin Heaney have a shared interest, originating in our combined arts and research practices, in exploring transitional spaces for adolescents. We will begin this investigation with the working question:
How can we create transitional spaces by using the arts with young people to explore wellbeing?
Our project will be co-funded by Watford Community Housing Trust and Watford Museum. We are delighted that we will be working with young people at the Francis Combe Academy and SignPost Counselling Watford in a series of sessions that will lead an exhibition at Watford Museum. Through our research, we want to create a model of practice that we will share with other agencies with planned seminar and conference contributions. We aim to create a unique resource for Hertfordshire agencies to develop imaginative new pathways for young people to engage with the arts and increase their emotional wellbeing.
This work responds to the increasing presence of mental health issues for young people in Hertfordshire. One in ten children and young people aged 5 to 16 nationally have a clinically diagnosed mental health disorder and around one in seven has less severe problems . Research data of the Hertfordshire Young People’s Manifesto 2014-2015 indicates that the overall majority of young people in Hertfordshire may not know how to keep themselves emotionally and mentally well. It also identifies a lack of funding for CAMHS in Hertfordshire, which means that many young people are waiting up to 6 months between an initial meeting and regular professional support.