School for the Creative and Cultural Industries


Reflections on the Creative Health student conference

12 July 2023

On 6 June students on the Creative Health MASc held a day-long conference at UCL East to present their research and collaborative dissertation projects with community partner organisations.

Photo from the Creative Health conference showing people laughing, gathered around a table. On the table are post it notes and drawings

The conference, organised and hosted by students on the programme, was an opportunity for students to share the knowledge gained through the MASc. The MASc in Creative Health is the first of its kind in the world. It aims to create a new generation of socially engaged scholars and practitioners to meet the needs of a changing health, social care and voluntary third sector, where personalised care, a focus on health equity and the patient experience are integrated into public health.

The MASc Creative Health can be studied fulltime (one year) or part time (two years) and there is also the option of a Graduate Diploma or certificate.

Thomas Kador, the programme lead said:

This is our second annual conference on the MASc. It is the culmination of a year (or two) of learning for our students and a wonderful showcase of all the hard work they have invested and the insights they have gained over this period"

Alongside the student’s verbal presentations, they also produced posters and podcasts, exploring topics in creative health and lived experience, which were available to view and listen to on the day. There was also a panel discussion on the topic of ‘What is and is not Creative Health’, Dr Thomas Kador, Dr Errol Francis (Artistic Director and CEO of Culture&), Saoirse Finn (PhD Researcher and Network Coordinator of the Arts & Health Early Career Researcher Network) and ably chaired and moderated by MASc Student Todd Henkin. The conference was attended by many of the external contributors to the programme and representatives from the community partner organisations for the student dissertation projects. They include:

  • UCLH NHS Trust
  • The National Centre for Creative Health
  • Arts4Dementia
  • London Arts & Health
  • The Culture Health & Wellbeing Alliance
  • The UK Craft Council
  • Castlehaven Community Association
  • The Forest Bathing Institute
  • Saint Margaret’s House
  • The Bromley by Bow Centre

Key themes explored in the student presentations included community empowerment, connectedness to nature and people, experimental education, accessibility, holistic approaches to health and the ethical challenges associated with conducting participant research in creative health.

Abbie Bambridge, a student on the programme said:

One of the most exciting aspects of the research projects presented, is the process of coproduction and collaboration with organisations and partners. Interweaving education and research, with community and socially engaged practice.The presentations emphasised the interdisciplinary approach to research, intervention design, and delivery within the creative health programme. Presentations challenged traditional ideas around academic research and how we might conduct creative documentation and data collection to adapt to specific partners, activities and build an evidence base.”

Aimei Zhou, a student on UCL’s Health Humanities programme, who took one of the MASc’s core modules, highlighted how the programme and the conference encouraged her to think differently:

I feel that the whole conference, including the three terms of study, has given me another perspective to rethink my exploration in the field of health humanities, while the foundation of health humanities has fed back into my practice in the field of creative health to provide theoretical support, which has surprised me because looking at health issues from different lenses has given me a more holistic horizon. There is never just one path to a destination, nor should there be just one road. Knowledge from different disciplines can enrich our exploration of creative health, creating a hybrid and creative new path.”

You can read Aimei’s full reflection on the conference here.

It is planned that the student conference will take place again in future years as it is a key part of and wonderful showcase for the programme. For more information on the MASc (Graduate Diploma or Certificate) in Creative Health Please visit the programme website,  or contact the programme team on uasc-pg-admissions@ucl.ac.uk.

 All photos by MASc Student Kaihao Luo