In recent months, AIS has been supporting Susie Tate and her About Being initiative, which aims to help stroke survivors. Our involvement in this unique project came about as a result of us experiencing first hand, the impact that having a stroke has, when one of our longstanding colleagues and dear friends suffered the same experience. We hope Susie’s work will make a huge difference to stroke survivor’s lives and are delighted to have been given the opportunity to support her.
Origins of About Being
About Being came to life in Spring 2017, after Susie Tate led a 10 week dance and movement project on the neurology and older adults wards at Cumberland Infirmary. Dance in hospitals is developing rapidly across many regions and this initiative was part of a larger Arts Council funded project to develop dance therapy in hospitals for rural locations such as Cumbria, which were currently unserved.
Susie’s initial project for neurology patients was a great success, with clear outcomes demonstrating that physical, mental and emotional wellbeing were increased when patients had the chance to move through dance. It also opened up a lot of unanswered questions about where others could also benefit, particularly in relation to people who had suffered a stroke.
AIS became involved to explore this further, by providing the financial support Susie needed to see if and how dance could also help stroke patients. In addition to ourselves, the programme is also being supported by the University of Cumbria’s dance, physio and occupational therapy departments, with an MSc Occupational Therapy student undertaking research.
The aim of this project, which starts in the hospital and then moves into the community, is to offer a space for people who have had a stroke to come together to explore, create, socialise and get necessary exercise: in all, to take ownership of their recovery. Accompanied by music, the sessions will focus on the positive potential of how each person can move: tracing melody with fingers, improvising and creating, all supporting participants’ capacity to experience more.
Ultimately, Susie’s vision is for this project as being a model of work for further dance and other arts projects: through arts intervention, a logical, accessible progression from hospital to the community is created, where the person is at the centre – not their medical issues.
We are delighted to be supporting such a worthwhile project and will be sharing details of outcomes in the months to come.