Creative,  Health & Fitness

The Summer I Joined An Arts In Health Fellowship

Ah summer! Don’t we all just love it? The weather’s great at last and you can finally request some time-off for summer projects. You can plan a meaningful adventure that allows you to contribute to a sustainable project.


With all of the various research programs, volunteer opportunities and fellowships available in the world, who really wants to volunteer in their neighborhood when you can join forces with other like-minded people all over the globe? This is what ended up happening when I chose to apply for the Arts in Medicine Summer 2022 Cohort. This past summer.


What Is Arts in Medicine All About?

The Arts in Medicine Fellowship is a social enterprise arm of the Arts in Medicine Project. This project focuses on the medical humanities that seek to promote artistic engagements so as to help alleviate the pains of individuals and improve overall health outcomes of patients, families and caregivers. The Arts in Medicine Fellowship was founded in Nigeria in 2018, to bridge the gap between the arts and the healthcare system.

What Does The Fellowship Offer?

The fellowship offers educational and professional development, as well as international exchange programs that give fellows a globally enriching experience with the world’s leading experts in the field of Arts and Medicine. This has continued to strengthen the cross-cultural, institutional and diplomatic ties with the United States of America and other partners in developed countries. The fellowship provides education, awareness, research and practical interventions through the arts and thought leadership. The fellowship engages with those in need of healing, cultivating more mindful, functional and supportive environments in non-traditional spaces.

Why Did I Join The Fellowship?

As a child I was always fascinated with helping others alleviate their pain and suffering. Viewing images and videos on television of ailing children and impoverished communities made me quiver and become sick quite literally. There was something about the level of inequality and poor management of resources to help these communities that didn’t quite sit well with me. I’d often fantasize about growing up fast, becoming an adult and initiating real change. I sensed an imbalance and was determined to correct it. Eventually I’d come to realize that while this vision in itself appeared quite grand and wonderful, it was also very ambitious and would take more than just myself and a few others to achieve. In order for us to be able to carry out this mission, we would need to partner up with bigger organizations, one like the Global Arts in Medicine Fellowship (GAIMF) and come up with creative ways to tackle these problems. I would visualize myself working in tandem with others like me from various parts of the planet to create solutions. Finding the Arts in Medicine program and applying to become a fellow has given me the opportunity to actualize a childhood dream of mine.

What is GAIMF’s Vision?

The GAIMF (Global Arts in Medicine Fellowship) is to become a global institution that promotes the use of Art as an important complementary health practice.

What is GAIMF’s Mission?

The GAIMF has 3 main missions which are:

  1. To integrate arts into medical practices for the improved well-being of the global community
  2. To provide creative solutions to health care challenges through collaborative art practices which include but are not limited to- visual arts and performing arts
  3. To endorse and promote the practices of artists and medical professionals working in the field of arts in medicine


***Please do note that while I heavily support and endorse art therapy, arts in medicine is NOT art therapy. There are many misconceptions about what art therapy is and what it is not, which I wrote about here. And while art therapy integrates psychotherapeutic techniques with the creative process to improve mental health and well-being, arts in health care aims to enhance the quality of life of its users artistically and environmentally using all art forms.

Who Runs The Fellowship Program?

The Fellowship is run by a diverse team of individuals from across the globe. The major divisions include Board members, the AIMF leadership team, Administrators, Monitoring and Evaluation team, and so on.

What Are The Goals of The Fellowship?

The fellowship itself had 5 goals which aimed at each of the following:

  1. To provide an atmosphere that enhances health and well-being
  2. To provide interventions at hospices, health centers, fairs, homes and corporate space
  3. To build a global network of Arts in Health professional
  4. To improve the experiences of patients and clients and;
  5. To build the capacity of all fellows beyond the fellowship

How Long Did The Fellowship Last & What Was Your Favorite Part?

The 2022 Global Cohort was a 12-week fellowship program that began on 7th August 2022 and ended on the 23rd of October 2022. The fellowship consisted of online lectures, on and offline practical activities and the execution of community art projects for well-being. The weekly sessions were virtually held on Zoom on 3:00pm until 5:00pm WAT (West African Time) every Sunday for the duration of the fellowship. We were strongly advised to attend the sessions LIVE on Zoom, however, in the event where a fellow was unable to attend the sessions LIVE, YouTube recordings were made available for viewing.

Out of all the sessions I attended, my absolute favorite session was held by Sarah Hinds and was titled, “Creative Practice for Well-Being: Visual Arts & Dance” which as the name suggests, incorporated a lot of dancing. As a group we danced in stimulating and engaging ways while still maintaining a sense of mindful movement. By the end of the session, I left feeling happy, invigorated and energized. Other sessions I attended were great and were facilitated by some amazing instructors too. Some of the ones I thoroughly enjoyed were, Creative Practice For Well-Being (Photography and Dance), Leadership In Arts and Health (Developing Art Based Interventions), Design Thinking and Health Innovation, Mindfulness and Meditation for Mental Health and Arts in Health Research Studies, Research Impact and Research Development.

What Was The Festival About?

The AIMF (Arts in Health Festival) is a hybrid event which connects students, professionals, community members and organizations around to experience curated activities by the fellows. The festival was created to foster creativity, education, social engagements and a series of art workshops and exhibitions. The event sometimes focuses on problems on public health, social justice and mental health among other causes. People are often driven by a need for new ways to connect and to share views on the world with one another. Now more than ever we need to fuse art to compliment medicine to enhance and give color to healing spaces! The festival is an integration of regional Arts in Medicine projects designed, driven and delivered by the Arts in Medicine fellows.

Read more about our project here.

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**Erica weaves themes of transformative hope and grace-filled leadership into everything she shares on her blog. She’s an author, a speaker, and a life coach, who offers honest encouragement and road-tested wisdom about topics ranging from leadership and lifestyle, to discovering your God-crafted identity, design, and purpose.

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