Guest blog: Jocelyn Cunningham from Arts and Society talks about and invites you to get involved with the first arts and recovery festival in the U.K.

RECOVERY-FESTIVAL-PICNIC invitation - CopyRecovery in Common will be a free arts festival with a difference: it is built upon the idea that recovery is something we all go through for many different reasons and at different times of our lives. This distinctive, participatory festival will be the first arts and recovery festival in the U.K. and has already generated national and international interest. Recovery in Common will take place in Trowbridge in 2017 and be alcohol and drug free. The Civic Centre and adjoining park will be transformed for a day and night by music, (on indoor and outdoor stages), dance performances and workshops, street theatre, exhibitions, a Recovery Café that will share experiences of recovery, an Imaginarium Marquee with workshops for children that lead to a musical procession, bike repair workshops, yoga, films, panel discussions, delicious food and much more – all with ‘recovery’ in mind. Recovery in Common will re-imagine how a festival can be and profile Trowbridge and Wiltshire as a place where ground breaking arts and social innovation happens.

We believe that recovery in mental health starts with communities rather than services and is something we all have in common, whether recovery is from a physical or mental illness, addiction, bereavement or life changes. Arts and creativity is an essential part of recovery and a catalyst for connecting with others, a vital component for well being in increasingly isolated lives. The remarkable connection between recovery and the arts resonates everywhere – have a look at this very rich variety of approaches: Creative Practice and Recovery at the University of Nottingham, Portraits of Recovery or the work of Creative Recovery.

In Wiltshire, the peer support network in the Addiction service initiated the idea of a festival that was celebratory and alcohol-free a few years ago and a broad range of related services have been meeting since then. A year ago this group commissioned Arts and Society as creative producers to help make this happen alongside a core group of partners (Julian House, Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Trust, Selwood Housing and Turning Point). The ambition is that this festival becomes an annual event with spin off activities and the development of new partnerships.

In January we hosted a Creative Gathering at Trowbridge Town Hall Arts for artists and those working in recovery to explore ideas for the festival and develop its ethos. We were hoping to mount the festival next month but now think that another year of planning, strengthening partnerships and fundraising would be in the best interests of a truly amazing and sustainable event.



To this end, we are hosting a picnic in Trowbridge Park on September 17th to celebrate the story so far and bring new people into the mix. We would love to have more artists and creative practitioners involved and would be delighted if you could join us. Please visit our Facebook site, follow us on Twitter and drop us a line if you would like to know more or get involved!


Fb: Recovery in Common

T: @RecoveryFestiv1



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