The Tonic Arts Participation Programme aims to increase participation across the Lothians, reaching as many within NHS Lothian as possible with a dynamic interdisciplinary programme incorporating all artforms and cross-sector partnerships, including close collaboration with the Charity’s Green Health and NHS Lothian Volunteer teams.
The Participation Programme brings the transformative power of the arts to patients, caregivers and staff in healthcare settings across NHS Lothian. It inspires individuals, helping them to connect and communicate, encouraging them to become more involved and enhancing personal development and wellbeing across NHS Lothian. The experiences provided by the Participation Programme can be a force for change for patients, caregivers and NHS staff, encouraging creativity, reducing exclusion and assisting social and personal development.
The programme is delivered with partner organisations Artlink Edinburgh & the Lothians, Music in Hospitals and Care Scotland and others such as the Scottish Book Trust, Generation Arts and Media Education. It encompasses a wide range of artforms including music, theatre, film, spoken word, storytelling and creative writing.
Artlink, established in 1984, has a long history working across NHS Lothian sites. Their focus is on working with patients using their creative interests and talents to inform an ever changing programme of events and workshops that make positive change within wards, hospitals and their grounds. Close and productive partnerships with ward staff, occupational therapy services, arts & environment managers, and wellbeing coordinators makes sure these activities support a good healthcare experience. www.artlinkhospital.art .
Music in Hospital & Care is a charity that improves the health and wellbeing of children and adults through the healing power of live music. MiHC provides over 300 music performances and interactions across NHS Lothian sites.
‘Live music is essential for the patients and their relatives in critical care as it helps to make the experience feel a little more human, a little less frightening, and an escape, even just for a while, from their current situation.’ Senior Charge nurse, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh
Generation Arts is an arts and wellbeing charity that aims to improve the quality of life through participation in creative activity. They deliver a participatory programme of activity on NHS sites from cinema pop-ups; arial dance circus skills and singing.
Tonic Arts has formed a unique partnership with the Edinburgh International Festival that aims to give patients, visitors and staff access to internationally renowned artists. This year the EIF brought the London Symphony Orchestra to NHS Lothian sites, they performed 15 concerts in three day to over 1,200 patients, staff and visitors.
Dance Base, Scotland’s National Centre for Dance, uses the power of dance to improve people’s health, wellbeing, and place in society. After rolling out a successful pilot in 2022-23, Dance Base’s Dance for Health and Wellbeing team is partnering with Tonic Arts to bring more quality dance activity – led by professional, experienced dance artists – into NHS Lothian sites to enhance the patient and staff experience and environment.
Live Music Now Scotland (LMN) gives outstanding emerging artists the opportunity of fairly paid performing and training at the start of their careers and enables high-quality live music to reach people throughout our communities, especially those who wouldn’t normally have access to it. LMN has recently delivered a project in the Edinburgh Haematology Centre at the Western General Hospital that looked to reduce anxiety and stress in patients receiving invasive treatments.
If you are interested in the arts and believe that they can have a positive impact in hospital environments, there are many ways you can get involved.