Learning to facilitate arts-in-health programmes: a case study of musicians facilitating creative interventions for mothers with symptoms of postnatal depression

Perkins, R. and Yorke, S. and Fancourt, D. (2018) Learning to facilitate arts-in-health programmes: a case study of musicians facilitating creative interventions for mothers with symptoms of postnatal depression. International Journal of Music Education, 36 (4). pp. 644-658. ISSN 0255-7614 (print) 1744-795X (online)

Abstract

There is growing research documenting the effects of arts-in-health interventions on diverse participant groups. However, the impact of interventions on facilitators remains largely lacking. Drawing on a case study project, this article reports on a qualitative study to understand the practices, challenges, enablers and impacts for musicians of facilitating creative interventions for women with symptoms of postnatal depression. Thematic analysis revealed that the musicians used specific practices to successfully facilitate their activities, relying on a balance of forward-planning with the need to retain flexibility and provide women with autonomy and opportunities for social bonding. Key challenges included coping with the emotional impact of the project as well as facilitating different types of creative activities, while a strong sense of team and the structure of the interventions supported delivery. Finally, the project enabled the development of both generic and context-specific creative facilitation skills, and also contributed to the facilitators’ wellbeing. The logistical, educational and support implications for other practitioners seeking to establish such interventions are considered within the context of arts-in-health and musicians’ education.

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