International Health Humanities Network Impact Reports and Narrative

Converge: university-based courses in the arts for people who use mental health services

Short Description

Converge offers courses in the arts to people who use mental health services. These courses are taught by university students and staff.

Full Impact Narrative

Converge is a partnership between York St John University and Leeds Foundation NHS Trust delivering educational opportunities in the arts for people who use mental health services. The project is based on a convergence of the requirements of a university and of mental health service providers.  Mental health service users need good quality educational opportunities that raise their aspirations and enable them to move on into education or employment. The university needs high quality work-based experiences for arts students to increase their employability.

What distinguishes Converge is that it offers a model of collaboration between a university and a mental health service provider that can make a real difference in the lives of users of mental health services, full-time students and the university community. Each can learn from and alongside the other. The strength of the approach is that it matches the ‘core business’ of its key providers: the university educates its students; the health service has a valuable provision for its clients; and full-time students complete their modules. Its value lies in how much more is created from and through the collaboration of the university and participants than if they worked separately.

This year 72 people who use mental health services completed our courses and 25 university students were involved in delivery. We have supported Out of Character Theatre Company and the Communitas Choir.

Contact Information

Dr Nick Rowe, Director of Converge, York St John University, York YO317EX, England

Gemma Alldred, Converge Project Lead, York St John University, York YO317EX, England



Out of Character:




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