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Connecting the Dots

Connecting the Dots is an exciting project exploring access to the arts for people living with mental health issues.

Arts programs play a key role in opening a dialogue between people who experience mental illness and the broader community. They rebuild the confidence and wellbeing of individuals living with mental illness, and regular participation in such programs can lead to positive employment, education and community engagement outcomes.

Through Connecting the Dots, AAV has worked with Victoria’s arts and cultural development industry, people living with mental health issues and the new Mental Health Community Support Services (MHCSS) to explore opportunities for planning and developing access to the arts for people living with mental health issues.

Connecting the Dots has three components:

  1. Development of a self-advocacy tool kit to assist individuals, and their carers, in preparing for individualised planning meetings to enable people to articulate/describe their desire/need for arts participation as a key goal in their plans.
  2. Development of resources for the recommissioned Mental Health Community Support Services in Victoria to ensure a strong understanding of the role of arts in a health context; to understand and consider the range of models of arts development and participation; and to identify strategies for building partnerships with the broader arts and community sector.
  3. Engaging the mainstream arts and cultural development sector to build its capacity to support the artistic aspirations of people living with mental health issues.

The outcome of the project has resulted in resources to help people advocate for the arts in their NDIS plans; Art and You,  Art Form and Art Advocacy (officially launched in Feb 2018).

Arts Access Victoria would like to thank and acknowledge the Youth Arts Network of young people who have a lived experience or are passionate about mental health, for their guidance and assistance in co-designing, writing and creating these resources.

Art Form booklet, Art and You and Art Advocacy films have been produced as part of the Connecting the Dots project and supported by The Lord Mayor's Charitable Foundation. Art Form booklet graphic design by Carla McKee. Art and You and Art Advocacy films by Singing Bowl Media.

Header image: Eloise Grills, watercolour (detail) 2017. Produced during an Arts Access Victoria Youth Arts workshop facilitated by Eloise Grills.