Testimonials


~ THE CREATIVE WELLBEING PROJECT  ~ For new and expecting mums 

Lovely course! Absolutely recommend it!

 

It is a beautiful, creative, thought-provoking course and I consider myself extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to attend this course during my pregnancy. 2024

The pregnancy journey can be emotionally volatile with moods and emotions there one moment and not the next. At a time like that having a medium to express yourself can be hugely catalytic.
Julia and Andrea are both really gentle and patient. They’re a space of safety, non-judgmental and wonderful facilitators. They’re always willing to go the extra mile and stay on after as well to offer resources or just listen.
It’s also really helpful to have other mums go on this journey with you. Their perspective and the fact that they’re in the same place as you and can relate to your experience allows to be really seen and understood. I feel lucky to have encountered this course at the time that I did. 2023

Every class brought me some peace of mind and also food for thought for a longer term. I was also pretty excited about the artworks that are going to stay with me as a reminder of what we discussed and inspiration for exploring other ways of creative wellbeing. Finally, a huge benefit was the feeling of support and understanding from everyone in the group and especially from Julia and Andrea. 2022

Thank you so much for all your support and class, it was fantastic. 2022

I can’t tell you how much I have enjoyed this course and what it has done for my well being, I know this course is something I will cherish and learnings will stay with me for life. 2022

I really liked the format. I liked the structure of the presentation, exercises, break-out rooms , debriefing and time for the creative parts. Sometimes I wished we had more time for the class but on the other hand I realise that it would be difficult for most attendees to stay longer. At least not in every class.I liked the materials, sometimes I wasn’t always sure what tools to use but it’s just me. I didn’t learn all the different ways to use the water paint 🙂 however, I didn’t feel like it was necessary so I didn’t mind. also liked the homework, which I was afraid of at the beginning (that it’s going to be some extra task and “burden”) but when it turned out it was usually thinking about something, it made a lot of sense. I also really like that the course is accessible. I was imagining some kind of recruitment process for it so I was really glad it wasn’t needed as it would somehow take away the fun and relaxing part of the course. Overall, the classes felt really comfortable and I loved that there was so much flexibility and no pressure at all.I also think the size of the group was really nice. I’m not sure if this is the usual number of participants you aim for, but from the perspective of the attendee it really created an intimate atmosphere and encouraged to share each others thoughts. I also liked that the group had some first-time and some experienced mums already. 2022

I’m really grateful it just so happened that the course went over me actually having the baby and not just being pregnant. I think it helped me even more not only to cope with my thoughts , feelings and expectations regarding labour, birth and the future but also with the reality of the baby being there already. Every class brought me some peace of mind and also food for thought for a longer term. I was also pretty excited about the artworks that are going to stay with me as a reminder of what we discussed and inspiration for exploring other ways of creative wellbeing. Finally, a huge benefit was the feeling of support and understanding from everyone in the group and especially from Julia and Andrea. 2022

When I first found out about the program I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I was mostly focused on the artistic part of it, while in reality it turned to be so much more. Each part of the course is so very well thought through with a holistic approach to building the wellbeing not only through art but also some research evidence, fun facts, support from the organisers and other participants and even some mindfulness exercises. It provided me tools to cope not only with labour and having a baby, but also every other part of my life. 2022

 

I definitely recommend this workshop to anyone, regardless of how arty they may be or not be. It helps expectant mums to relax during their stressful period of scans, doctor’s appointments, planning for birth and baby arrival. It teaches simple but effective techniques that I did not consider before (did not know that they even existed). What is created during the seasons makes the participants proud of what they achieved, and will stay with them to remind the relaxing and fun time they spent with the kind instructors and other participants. Totally worth spent time! 2022

It’s easy not to commit to 5 weeks when you’re heavily pregnant, but the real benefits and value you will get from doing this course is to show up every week if you can. The other women in the group lift you up and despite being on zoom, you can surprisingly build wonderful connections; it’s nice not to feel alone.  Julia and Andrea were super supportive and offered more than just art if we needed it, and when you’re going through such a massive life change as pregnancy, knowing where to go for such support is priceless. I will cherish the experience and be joining the boosters! 2022

This was a really great way to expand my understanding of myself and my pregnancy in a super positive way that left me calmer and more centred than any therapy I’ve ever had. You don’t have to be an artist (I am not) but the use of the different materials really expanded my understanding of what I could do in art as well!” 2022

“This programme provided me with a community connection and access to connect with other mums to be. It gave me something each week that made me make time for myself during my pregnancy. It was such a positive, calming and relaxing experience and I always felt better in myself following each session. I highly recommend this programme to other mums to be and I really hope for its continued provision and success. Thank you so much to everyone who made this programme possible.” 2022

“Such a wonderful course to remind us to take time for ourselves.  Lots of brilliant meditative art techniques to help bring balance back to you during what is often a daunting, busy time.” 2022

“Lovely initiative to help de-stress mums to be and postnatally.” 2022

“It was a really great opportunity to connect with myself and the baby in a way I wouldn’t be able to do on my own.” 2022

“The sessions helped me lift my mood and spirits without me realizing that. It is amazing how the simple techniques can bring in such a huge shift.” 2022

A great opportunity to express yourself through art. I enjoyed the process and took a lot from the course. Having 2 hours a week to focus on yourself was incredible. The facilitators were very supportive, kind and knowledgeable. Definitely recommend. 

“I really enjoyed taking the time for me. Being pregnant, I felt that I had lots to do/prepare and should be using my time productively. I actually found that the most productive thing I could do was take some time out to myself and it gave me perspective so I could take on everything else I had to do. It also helped me to connect with baby and other mums and realise that a lot of other expectant mums shared my worries and stresses!” 2022

The course was a supportive and gentle space where I learned how to use different artistic techniques and creative activities to improve my wellbeing.” 2022

What made this space unique was exploring different ways to express creativity at a subconscious level and become more present during the process” 2022

I absolutely loved this course, and can’t recommend it highly enough. For me it took some time to switch into it, and I found it so beneficial in the end.”

I STRONGLY recommend this programme, whether you’re creative or not (I’m not) – you just can’t “get it wrong”, and it brought me a lot of peace and excitement at the same time.” November 2021

I will definitely be recommending this to other mums. It’s probably one of the most relaxing things I did in pregnancy and totally different from any of the other activities that I usually participate in. It was lovely to speak to other mothers and hear about their pregnancy journeys.” November 2021

Possibly extend the course to other stages of pregnancy and possibly postnatal…In the past, with my first pregnancy, I found that there was lots of support available to expecting moms but I genuinely struggled to find the help I needed after the baby was born. Primarily because if there was anything available, bringing a baby wasn’t quite allowed but having someone to look after the baby especially when a mom is left by herself with the baby wasn’t possible either.” November 2021

I’ve definitely learnt how to use art as a medium of relaxation.” November 2021

“I think the length of the sessions meant that a coffee morning wasn’t necessary but I don’t necessarily think that means that the option should be taken away. Overall I thought everything else was pretty much perfect!” November 2021″

I am grateful for several things I learned from the workshop:

– making time to myself (actually even making time to take part in the workshop) and how important it really is

connecting with others through artwork opens up lots of emotions and feelings we have and sometimes we don’t let them go. Expressing these through art is something amazing and if this workshop was in a different format such as a group of expecting moms talking about their emotions without tools to express them in a creative way, it wouldn’t have been the same

– expressing emotions that are sometimes hard to tell in a creative way. Many tasks we had involved trying to find more than one way of looking at a problem/task. Recreating it and while doing so subconsciously led to some interesting findings. I remember an activity when we drew a shape of a certain word and then drew again and again and in case it went from something negative into something positive, releasing my mind from negative thoughts about certain things into subconsciously making it into something likeable or manageable.

being inspired by others. Everyone has their story and each pregnancy is so different with different challenges but listening to others’ stories and seeing how they cope with their challenges helped me so much with my own

amazing and professional support of Andrea and Julie who led the workshops. Their experience and guidance through artwork left me feeling safe and confident that if I need help there is someone to help me overcome challenges. 

– relaxing. The sessions were led in a way that there was no pressure on anyone to share anything and just be ourselves while providing us tools on how to relax. Each time I was actually very rushed when joining these sessions because of running late for many reasons and it took me a while to relax. Combining the workshop with breathing techniques definitely helped so much and by the end of the session I felt so happy that stayed with me for the rest of the day.” November 2021

The session length was perfect and the smaller size of the group also helped a lot in connecting with others and having meaningful conversations that were inspiring. Posting an art kit was absolutely amazing as we had all tools needed for the workshop and I think it would have been harder otherwise to get the right tools because especially for special paper I’d need to bulk buy as there isn’t usually an option to just get a few sheets that are needed. I found splitting into break out rooms a really good opportunity to talk to others and also noticed people open up and actually participate more in a smaller groups when sometimes there was silence when we were back in a bigger group.” November 2021

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to participate in coffee mornings as sadly this coincided with the times for the most important work meetings I had that I couldn’t postpone.

Also on a separate note I actually found an online format much more accessible than if I were to commute somewhere. Covid pandemic has clearly had a lot of negative impacts on our lives but one thing that I actually found good that thanks to the remoteness I was able to take part in many interesting initiatives and meetups like this workshop. I genuinely think if this happened pre-pandemic and I was in the office and was to take time to go to a class somewhere, I wouldn’t be able to do so. With my first baby, this was the case. I only ever did 1h antenatal workshop…and yes there are cases when in-person workshops are much better such as learning how to change a nappy or look after a baby. However, in this case, I found the online format amazing.” November 2021

I really enjoyed the course. Each session was a good length. The art kit was fantastic. I didn’t attend the coffee morning afterwards due to work commitments, but otherwise would have joined.” November 2021

“I really loved this course. I think 5 sessions is fair, although I could have happily made it a long-term routine. The sessions were a perfect length but I think I only managed because I was already on maternity leave, I would have probably struggled to get away from work for more than an hour.  The coffee mornings to follow the course were a good idea but they did make it too long and by 12 pm I had to start thinking about making lunch, etc. Luckily, some of the breakout rooms allowed for chatting – maybe some more of these could be added instead. The posted art kit was brilliant. Good size of group would have probably been ok with a couple more people too, but probably no more than 10.” November 2021

“It was a great way of carving out an hour to myself. Very relaxing. I don’t feel like I’m a very creative person but with Julia’s guidance, I was really getting into flow with some of the exercises and actually felt quite proud of my pieces. I’ve learned to give things a chance even if they push you out of your comfort zone. I’ll probably repeat some of the exercises by myself and with baby once she’s a bit older.” November 2021

“The class gave my lockdown self-isolation some much-appreciated structure, something therapeutic to enjoy and focus on, and something I can return to if I feel the need (as I was kindly given ample materials). I’ve also stayed in touch with the other lovely people on the course. 

“It’s completely blown my mind how effective creative and visual techniques are in finding a way out of negative and anxious thinking. I’ve found new ways to process, express and let go of what is going on for me. I really enjoyed the sense of connection with others. I’ve felt tangibly more positive and at ease and happy at the end of sessions.”

“It gave me a chance to reflect on myself and check in on how I was feeling. I think it’s very easy to become just a pregnant woman and forget that you have needs too, so having a bit of me-time during the day was so useful. It was sometimes hard to change pace when going from work to the class, but Julia was so calm and we always took time to check-in and breathe. Having said that, if it weren’t for covid I would have been at work and unable to attend, so some classes outside of work hours would be really welcome.” 

“I think it came right at the right time for me – I think I started in the latter half of my second trimester. The other mums seemed a little more fixated and anxious about various things, and I think two women ended up missing the final session or two because they had given birth or were being induced! Maybe they would have coped better if the therapeutic art class had come a bit earlier – and it would have been better for those who had to miss classes, of course. Once you have the materials you can always carry on, up until birth!”

“Make it longer! Also who else do you run these courses for – I think everyone I know would benefit from it (my partner, my teenage step-kids, other friends and family).” 

“I’ve struggled with anxiety for a long time. I’ve tried plenty of times to address this with CBT and mindfulness – which seem to be the main approaches that are pushed through NHS and through private health care – and ended up feeling a bit of a failure when they haven’t really made a difference. This course is by far the best, most effective therapy I’ve ever experienced and the techniques and activities taught have helped me to instantly let go of negativity and anxious thinking in a way that nothing else does. I’m not really an “arty” person but this course has really connected with me and my feelings. It was interesting because there were so many different things going on for the women who took part, but the course connected and spoke to everyone. The course is well-designed and delivered with compassion and insight. Pregnancy can be such a scary time. In an ideal world, I think every expectant woman should have the chance to undertake this creative well-being course.

I actually tried to have some counselling to help with a traumatic birth-related event that makes me a bit more anxious around pregnancy and childbirth, and it was truly awful – the treatment was unprofessional, unhelpful, difficult to access and it only made things more challenging for me, leaving me with feelings of helplessness on top of the anxiety. Being offered the art class instead was enormously beneficial – it was much gentler and easier to deal with, and the impact was unconscious as well as consciously soothing and calming. For example, we addressed topics of “anxiety” etc. with art techniques, without having to name the thing we had in mind during the session – but could obviously go back to those techniques as needed. I felt “armed” with something useful by the end, as well as having spent time in a pleasant fashion, in enjoyable company.”

“I want to share with all the stakeholders and future mums that this program is extremely accessible happiness therapy! Happiness and fulfilment are extremely powerful emotions, but too often left behind in modern society. The pathway that this program has created is to trigger the self-reflecting process by materialising the abstract emotional concept via painting. The instruction is very clear to guide the process and no pressure on the painting skills. We have received a lot of encouragement to explore the deep memories and emotions in a positive direction. The benefit of the program is directly observable after the 1st session! My husband found me happier and more relaxed after the 1st session. And the deep self-conscience revelation and the self-motivating process will be impacting my way of thinking beyond the program. A big thank you for the sponsor and the organiser of this great program!”

~ TEAM DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOPS ~

“Thank you for the work that you put into this and for the support that you provided for the team during this first phase of the project. It was really valuable to have your expertise and insight.” ~ Lucie Parkes, Formal Learning Manager, Public Engagement, Historical Royal Palaces

“I found the time invaluable and, as well as appreciating the rare opportunity to explore my own understanding and ideas, I’m confident that the session laid strong foundations for the programme moving forward, whilst ensuring that each team member felt appreciated, included and understood. The shared understanding and sense of safe space achieved within the time was just what we’d hoped for and I appreciate that’s through a lot of planning and expertise on your part.” ~ Creative Producer, Hampton Court Palace, Historical Royal Palaces

“The team drawing activities brought us closer together. It allowed us to share through creative means first and then words. It made the dynamics feel more equal as we all took part and shared. This also provided insight into how others were feeling and helped build common ground and a sense of comradery.” Staff training participant, Historical Royal Palaces

“I learned a lot about other Trustees, their thinking and abilities. The drawing helped us contribute to the discussion on all issues.” Charity Trustee ~ Development Workshops

“It was interesting to discover that our best group work on the day was done through the drawings.” Charity Trustee ~ Development Workshops

“It was a really good day, very well planned and organised.” Charity Trustee ~ Development Workshops

“The drawing exercises were a really good way of getting us talking as a group. It was useful in helping us to get to know each other and our individual approaches and motivations – and it was fun!” Charity Trustee ~ Team Development Workshops

“I learned that the Trust has come a long way and that there is a strong core of optimism.” Charity Trustee ~Team Development Workshops

“I thought the drawings presented a very useful way of freeing up ideas. I’m feeling excited about the future of the trust” Charity Trustee ~ Team Development Workshops

“I gained a greater understanding of the history of the trust and a consensus of its purpose. I also discovered how effective the drawings were at initiating good and open discussion. Well done!” Charity Trustee ~ Team Development Workshops

“Using the drawings to communicate really levelled the playing field.’ Charity Trustee ~ Team Development Workshops

“The team and individual workshops have helped to provide valuable personal and professional insights that go straight to the core of our subconscious enabling us to identify our own problems, therefore, finding a way to resolve them and enabling resolution.” ~ Team Development Workshop Participant

~ EXPRESSIVE ARTS WORKSHOPS & EXHIBITIONS ~

“Thank you so much for hosting such a lovely event for the launch of our new foundation for Kingston, Kingston Charitable Foundation.  It really was a fabulous way to bring families together and was wonderful to hear that so many people had such a great time taking part. The sense of fun that you brought into the homes of everyone was great, events like yours have been particularly important over the last year; a year like no other when people have needed to keep safe at home.  ” ~ Hicky Kingsbury, CEO Kingston Charitable Foundation

“Thank you so much. What an utterly lovely workshop. I’m so pleased with how that went.”  ~ Danielle O’Shaughnessy, Community Engagement and Development Manager, Kingston Charitable Foundation

The morning was a wonderfully positive event and quite emotional for some of the mothers in the way that a seemingly simple intervention—spending time creating paintings together—was, in fact, a truly transformative experience for them. The workshop surpassed all our expectations and the overwhelmingly positive feedback speaks for itself.” Louise Nunn, Specialist Midwife – Perinatal Mental Health, Co-chair NWL PNMH Clinical Network Education/evaluation lead for the HEE NWL PIE project, West Middlesex Hospital

“I wanted to write and thank you and the artists for putting on such a wonderful exhibition at the World Mental Health Day Reception at Admiralty House. Julia, it was a pleasure to meet you and many of the artists during the evening, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to have seen the work that members of the group have produced. Please extend my thanks to your colleagues, artists and everyone that made the exhibition possible.”  Nick Clegg – Former Deputy Prime Minister 

“Julia offered a safe and calm environment with her approach, inspiring trust and confidence in the young people, putting them at ease, and allowing them to fully commit to the exercise. Julia was inclusive and adaptive in her approach offering tailored interventions to allow young people at all different levels of ability to become involved. Such activity aids our patients’ recovery by giving them a safe place to explore their creative self by providing scope for both distraction and self-exploration at the same time” Aquarius Ward for Adolescents ~ Springfield Hospital

Julia worked well with the young people engaging them in creative art activities. Julia offered a safe and calm environment with her approach inspiring trust and confidence in the young people putting them at ease and allowing them to fully commit to the exercise. Julia was inclusive and adaptive in her approach offering tailored intervention and allowing young people at all different levels of ability to become involved. Such activity aids our patients’ recovery by giving them a safe place to explore their creative selves by providing scope for both distraction and self-exploration at the same time.

“I was genuinely taken aback by the sheer quality of the artwork produced by the young carers. Collective Arts’ professional input proved invaluable and the whole process left all the young carers with a great sense of achievement.” Mark Tuohy -Chief Executive, Richmond Carers

“The Collective Arts workshop was a huge success.” Chandan Mahal – The Museum of London

“Collective Arts workshops are always very popular. They are a joy to work with.” Sue Hoar – Contact a Family

“Collective Arts has been associated with Stanley Infant and Nursery School since 2003 and has made a significant contribution towards the school’s award of Artsmark Gold status. Collective Arts has worked with the children on a number of innovative projects: they have a real commitment to developing the creative potential of each child and a flair for combining their individual contributions into exciting and innovative interactive installations.”
Hilary Bower – Head Teacher, Stanley Infant and Nursery School

“The workshops and themes were extremely well planned and well delivered and it was great to have facilitators like yourselves to support and encourage the young people. The work produced was of a high standard and more importantly the young people really enjoyed taking part…The finished results are displayed all over the Ward and several visitors have commented on them.” Frances Barrett – Aquarius Unit, Springfield NHS Hospital

“I just wanted to drop you a quick line to say thank you for your wonderful Art classes at The Haven – I have posted a comment on your blog but I wanted to let you know HOW much that one session with you in June (just prior to my surgery) helped me to express myself and my emotions more fully. I even purchased a set of acrylic paints with birthday money from my parent! Thank you for creating the space to allow us to embrace fully all that we are.” Participant, The Haven

“The teacher was supportive, interesting and inspirational.” Participant, The Haven

“This is the first art workshop I have attended. I was not expecting to enjoy the workshop as much as I have.” Participant, The Haven

“All the topics so far have been imaginative and interesting.” Participant, The Haven

“A real opportunity to move forward with my art. A very pleasant creative environment with a teacher/enabler who gives just the right amount of support and encouragement” ~ Workshop Participant  

“Well organised and fun. A tremendous amount of encouragement to develop my own skill. Helpful but not dogmatic, not autocratic, very democratic. Good direction and very caring and non-intrusive staff.” ~ Workshop Participant  

“Interesting and imaginative with many opportunities to learn different methods of expressing one’s art.”  ~ Workshop Participant 

“Enjoyable and enlightening.” ~ Workshop Participant  

“Lots of motivation and inspiration which has allowed me to be myself and express my emotions with paint.” ~  Workshop Participant

“Stimulating, interesting and fulfilling.” ~ Workshop Participant 

“The workshops have more than exceeded my expectations as I have a very difficult illness not normally allowing me to relieve my mind.” ~ Workshop Participant  

“I always come away from the workshops feeling positive.” ~ Workshop Participant 

“Fantastic.” ~ Workshop Participant  

“The teacher was very positive and encouraging. The group was very friendly.” Workshop participant

“Exceeded my expectations. “ ~ Workshop Participant

“I have found this course helped me with my depression” ~ Short Course Participant

Research project and presentations:

2022 Creative Therapies as a response to self-harm in Young people, Emerging Minds Summitt, University of Oxford.@Collective_Arts argue that conventional well-being interventions, such as CBT, often take a one-size-fits-all approach and don’t consider individuals unique needs. Whereas creative therapies can offer a more bespoke and flexible solution. @HazelMarzetti