Surfing Sofas Creative Response

Surfing Sofas Creative Response

As part of the National Centre for Creative Health (NCCH) and All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing (APPG) Creative Health Review, the Review has commissioned a range of artists with their own lived experience to respond creatively to each of the Review's roundtable themes. The Review be releasing these in the build-up to the Creative Health Review's final launch, but we were pleased to have been joined by Surfing Sofas on Tuesday 16th May 2023 for a live performance during our Leadership and Strategy roundtable which celebrated Creativity and Wellbeing Week (15th - 21st May 2023)

Surfing Sofas created a live performance response to the Creativity and Wellbeing Week provocation ‘What is the role of creativity in a health crisis?’. Watch it below!

Surfing Sofas – is a sofa surfer who writes to break the stigma around homelessness and raise awareness about the UK homeless crisis. Find out more about Surfing Sofas here >>

"They say good leaders should have
commitment and initiative,
Critical thinking skills,
And the Vision to envision with.
You can be born a leader, a good one.
But you can’t be born a great one,
Cos great leaders are swords,
Which are forged in the fires
Of compassion, failure and experience.

They say good strategies should have
Clear definitions,
Long term goals,
And good gears in its systems.
Strategies without compassion
Are good for the short term.
However, we’ve seen many times
In the long term, they’re inefficient.

For decades, some leaders
Kept their failing strategies the same.
But is a strategy, a strategy
Without capacity to change.
With good leadership and strategy,
Magic can happen.
But that only happens
When there’s no lack of compassion.

The best leaders I’ve met
Were brave, peaceful and gentle.
Their benevolent traits are
What I wish that more can use.
I’m not saying compassion
Is the be all and end all,
But it should be prioritised
On our list of core values.

So let’s maybe…
embed more compassion
Into strategy and leadership.

And art… Let’s not forget art,
Cos we’re practically in need of it.

I mean…

When depression eats my joy and
Leaves me hungry for happiness,
Please don’t offer to feed me
With a platter of pills,


Feed me poems of solace
By Longfellow and Wordsworth,
Feed me paintings of hope by
David Tovey & Jean Pierre.
Feed me stories of overcoming,
By Denise Harrison.
Feed me photography of faith
By Mitchel Ceney & Amanda Sinclair.

Feed me eco-friendly sculptures
By Benji Lain.
Feed me play scripts I resonate with
By Lisa Ogun
Feed me fashion from the future
By Bengy Speer
And Feed me songs of strength
By Shalea.

But please Don’t feed me
too much meds when I’m down,
But please do feed me
As much art as you like.

So… What is art & creativity’s role In a health crisis?

Well… Arthur Rimbaud,
Renowned French Poet,
Created rich heartfelt art
While fighting poor mental health.

Vincent Van Gogh,
I’m sure, you know who he is.
If he never painted whilst being
a mental health patient,
Then we may have lost him,
Much sooner than we did.

There are phases when our minds
Can get overcrowded,
Till we try to organise our thoughts
But can’t find space.
Or the time to gather our thoughts,
But when we make art,
The process can put us
In a trance like state.

It’s like a meditative space
Where we seem to find,
We have lower blood pressure levels
And some peace of mind.
Art can also give people
A dopamine boost.
That can help to chase away
Those low and bleak moods.

Art can break language barriers.

For example,
If I was to say
The word “Fiore”,
You may not know what I mean.
But I bet…
I was to doodle a flower,
You’d see the translative magic
Of art’s beautiful power.

Art is good at sparking
The stuff that is causing.
A Joy inducing, pain reducing,
Rush of endorphins.
Creating art does something
Mysterious to the brain,
Where it helps us reduce the
Experience of our pain.

There’s been some interesting research,
and what it suggests
Is that depression can slow down
The healing of wounds
Due to its psycho-immunologic effects.
Well... Art can shift our attention
So that we’re not as depressed.

Which seems to mean that art
Can benefit and ease the progress,
the mindset and speed of
A patient’s healing process.
Because art is a magician,
And wonder is its game,
And we feel the thoughts of happiness
It conjures in the brain.

This isn’t complicated knowledge,
So I must keep it simplified,
Art can provide us with
A much needed stimuli.
It can make us stand and smile,
It can make us sit and cry.
And help us greatly
when we see a health crisis arise."

~ Surfing Sofas

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