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Art & Wellbeing

Wellbeing is something that affects us all, and thanks to an influx of self-help guides, courses and retreats on offer, wellbeing has become a bit of a buzzword! Art, creativity and nature all have proven benefits for wellbeing – and YSP offers all three. Our arts and wellbeing programme is for everyone – art lovers and cultural virgins alike

Wellbeing has even become a matter for public health staff, researchers, think tanks and governments as health and wellbeing present economic and social challenges across the UK. We understand, better than ever before, the complex inter-relation between our emotional resilience and our physical health. We know more about how poverty and poor education negatively impact health. Studies prove that exposure to nature and art can improve wellbeing, reduce stress and even extend lifespan.
The New Economics Foundation says that for people to have positive wellbeing they also need: a sense of individual vitality; to undertake activities which are meaningful and/or engaging and which make them feel competent and autonomous; a stock of inner resources to help them cope when things go wrong; and be resilient to changes beyond their immediate control.
At YSP we also believe that relationships with others, a sense of creativity, purpose and connectedness are important – which is why all our Art & Wellbeing events are designed to be inspiring, warm and sociable. We are also strong believers in the healing powers of cake so there’s usually a good portion of that too! We hope to create a programme to stimulate mind, body and soul: daydream and relearn the skill of being idle; escape on flights of fancy; connect with nature and fresh air; invigorate your creativity; have a moment of solace with a sculpture.

Our regular public events are open to all, and any profits generated help support our wider programme, including developing projects to make our offers accessible to those experiencing social, mental, economic or physical barriers. 


We work with local, regional and national partners and funders to develop projects for a range of audiences. Our projects usually build on existing knowledge and experience, and are characterised by an enquiring and reflective approach. We want to stretch our understanding of the ways wellbeing is enhanced at YSP, and gain a deeper understanding of the different factors at play.
We have a unique combination of world class art, outstanding nature and historic landscape, all of which are proven factors in benefitting health and wellbeing – and we are really curious about how these elements interact, and how we can work with this to produce wellbeing experiences, resources and events.
Our funded projects enable us to work with artists, researchers or evaluators to develop and create new projects and events. We have a longstanding partnership with South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Trust and new partnerships in development with Rotherham Open Arts Rennaissance, Sense and Ashiana Anti Trafficking.

Museum Health and Wellbeing Week 

Join us to celebrate Museums Health and Wellbeing Week from 12–18 March 2018, with events for all ages to stretch mind and body. The programme includes walks for all abilities, including slow and gentle Mindful Walking, Other Ways to Walk cards to take you on a journey of your choosing, or a more strenuous full day hike for those with more energy with Room to Breathe. If walking is not your thing and you’d rather take the weight off, you will enjoy Rest is Radical, which simply involves lying in a hammock and watching the clouds go by. If you like exploring in the dark, you’ll enjoy Sculptures After Dark, a torch-lit tour of the park. Families can join in any of our events this week, including two specially designed activities – Pick ‘n’ Mix Portraits is for the budding photographers in the family, or The Tinker Project will appeal to anyone who likes building and making. 


Subject to Change

Subject to Change is a creative project for working aged people from Wakefield with lived experience of mental ill health. Artist Kate Sully is leading this project which incorporates creative activities with sociable lunches. Activities respond to the interests of the group – perhaps upcycling, drawing, making, sculpting, painting with plenty of opportunity for breaks and refreshments. Fortnightly sessions offer regular opportunities to develop friendships, try new things and get to know the art and landscape of YSP.


Walk and Play YSP!

Visiting artists Idit Nathan and Helen Stratford are inviting visitors to join them to explore the Park through walking and playing. This interactive journey around YSP will help participants experience and engage with the Park in fresh, imaginative and even mischievous ways. Walk & Play YSP! follows in the wake of extensive research on how we interact with spaces we inhabit using props, prompts and games. The ‘walkshops’ are specifically designed to evoke memories and stories about play, walking and art. We view ‘walkshop’ participants’ ideas as central to the development of our artwork, which we hope will inspire others to Walk & Play YSP! from October 2017 onwards.

Art & Wellbeing Events


Members Open Forum

10 Feb 2018

Join the YSP Development team to hear about the latest activity at the Park over tea, coffee and biscuits.   The forum will be preceded by an introduction to Rachel Massey, YSP Arts &...


Mindful Walking

13 Mar 2018

As part of Museums Health and Wellbeing Week 2018, join us for a gentle and mindful walk around YSP with experienced practitioner Sally Edward from Kindmind.   Walking is a great way to get a...


Rest is Radical

12 Mar and 18 Mar 2018

12 March–18 March 2018   Escape from the stresses of everyday life and practice some guilt-free time wasting. Embrace being unproductive with a few mindful minutes of relaxation in...


Mindful Moments on Slow Art Day

14 Apr 2018

Slow Art Day is a global event with a simple mission: to help more people discover the joy of looking at and loving art.   Building on our popular Still Looking: Mindfulness and Art...


Nightfall in the Woods

18 May 2018

Immerse yourself in the woods at YSP to soak in the sights, sounds and aromas of late spring.  This is a unique opportunity to take some time for yourself and connect to the rhythms of nature....


Botanicals: Spring Blossom

20 May 2018

Join us for a magical, relaxing day gathering and drawing plants and learning about their medicinal properties. Medical Herbalist Sue Salmon will share her wealth of knowledge and experience during...


Still Looking: Mindfulness and Art

10 Feb and 10 Jun 2018

A new way to take a bit of time out for yourself and enjoy experiencing art mindfully. Learn how to use mindfulness practices to move from being a passive observer to more active engagement with...


Art and Social for over 55s

25 Jan–28 Jun 2018

Monthly social events for people aged over 55. Join us for tea or coffee and cake, followed by a look around the exhibitions, a gentle walk, or perhaps a drawing or making activity – tell...


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