R.M. Sánchez-Camus (Marcelo) teaches the Health and Wellbeing through Art Making Online Short Course. On the course students get to explore the practice of creative wellbeing and art making while getting a better understanding of some of the key positions around the arts and health movement.
Marcelo has extensive experience in arts and health with a focus on arts as a therapeutic intervention and runs a social practice studio creating art works around co-authorship, collaboration, psychogeography, and wellbeing.
We spoke with Marcelo to talk about his course and the impact arts and creativity can have on mental health and wellbeing.
Why is creativity important for your mental health and wellbeing?
Those of us who engage in creative practice have a deep and embedded understanding that creativity is so central to who we are that without it we would falter physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. We don't often spend enough time trying to understand exactly what is happening in our brains and as a result in our bodies.
In the work I have done, I have seen first-hand the emotional and physical benefits of creative practice in people. I have watched patients in a hospice who cannot find relief from any number of painkillers sit at a table and go into flow and for a brief period of art making forget about their pain.
Creativity happily flows between both our rational left brain thinking and our intuitive right brain, contrary to the myth of artists' being right brained. We can utilise creativity as a tool to help not only design a better external world but a better internal world. Our mental health is not about being content or happy all the time - that is a farce. It is about being resilient and recovering from the peaks and valleys that are inevitable in life and applying the same creative strategies and practices you may apply to your work to your mind.
Through my creative practice I have been able to see how visual language can helps us make sense of the world and of ourselves in a way that the spoken or written word cannot always make tangible. Working in through a social art model I run my own art studio and teach the Health and Wellbeing through Art Making Online Short Course.
Health and Wellbeing through Art Making
The pandemic and lockdown made me redesign the class for online delivery and as a result I have been able to work with and connect with some amazing artists across the UK, Europe, Middle East and China.
It has been incredible to witness how we connect through our shared humanity across, time zones and cultural contexts, to explore how art making can not only help us make sense of living, but potentially make living healthier and more comforting. This is something we all need and crave.
There are many of us who are interested in how our creativity can reach others and help improve their lives. Finding a sense of purpose and peace can be challenging amid endless chaos. Yet somehow a simple act of mark making with some careful and caring instruction can help reveal so much of our subconscious that felt previously trapped or invisible.
Part of the course is a hand over to the student, where each artist/student gets a chance to teach a short lesson to the group. This sharing and learning highlights everyone's local knowledge, heritage, and interests. The result is a powerful testimony to our interconnectedness and ability to communicate and share through art making.
I feel very proud and inspired to keep developing, learning and growing the field. If you haven’t had a chance to explore your own creativity and how it may intersect with art making, I can say without a doubt that you find new insights and perhaps find some healing.
Explore how and why health and wellbeing works within the art making context and if you are feeling inspired, start your creative journey now.