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We recently worked with Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust to develop and deliver a one-day, visual arts-based workshop with allied health professional (AHP) support workers. The workshop was an opportunity for support workers to share their sense of professional identity, perceptions of their role and, through a democratic, arts-based process take the lead in shaping an AHP support worker development strategy for the Trust.

Facilitated by an experienced visual artist, the day started with each participant making a 2D collage about themselves and their professional role by layering, creating texture and opportunities for chance juxtapositions. Following this, participants overlayed a line onto their collage to represent their professional journeys, exploring words and images to describe their role, skills and challenges, as well as how they felt they would like to develop. Throughout the process, participants created an identity book, which captured their dreams and ambitions. By the end of the day, a large, collaborative group piece of visual art had been created that represented support worker perspectives of their professional experiences and provided person-centred, grassroots-based information to inform the new support worker development strategy.

Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust is now exploring how arts-based processes can feature in their future development planning.