The Bath Museums Community Engagement project is a collaboration between the Bath Preservation Trust, the Holburne Museum and the American Museum in Britain. The museums are all committed to working in partnership with community groups representing diverse and new audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Since September 2013, a programme of exciting, arts-based projects has been run, funded by the Arts Council England.

Projects have included:

Freshart@ Hillview

Run in collaboration with Creativity WorksAvon & Wiltshire Healthcare Partnership TrustSirona & St Mungo’s.

Allowed space and time to be myself and be creative in a well-supported inspiring environment.” (Project participant)

This project created new artwork to be displayed at the Hillview Lodge acute psychiatric unit at Royal United Hospital, Bath. The participants were people affected by mental health challenges or their friends or family members and the work presents people with lived experience of mental health challenges in a positive light, breaking down the stigma often associated with this subject.

The original idea behind the project came from Nat Burgess, a service user at Hillview Lodge who wanted to give something back to the ward and saw that fresh artwork in regularly rotated displays would promote conversation and wellbeing. Read an article by Nat about his brilliant idea here.

In addition, the project workshops have provided an opportunity for participants to build their skills and confidence and take pride in the display of their work.

The project consisted of fourteen workshops led by two professional artists and was held in inspiring museum settings. The participants had the chance to explore these fascinating collections as well as create their work in unique spaces.

Before the artwork was put on display at Hillview Lodge, a public exhibition was held at the Building of Bath Collection.

Key Numbers:

  • 10 months of planning and doing

  • 5 participating museum sites – No.1 Royal Crescent, the Holburne Museum, the American Museum in Britain, the Museum of Bath Architecture & the Herschel Museum of Astronomy

  • 7 external partners

  • 38 workshops

  • 107 participants

  • Over 100 contact hours