Number 42 in our countdown of '70 Ways Art Improves Our Health' explores the transformative power of art in turbulent times…

The Institute for Public Policy Research says there are currently around 55,000 EU nationals working in the NHS. And one in 10 of our registered doctors is an EU national.

Last November, the Nursing and Midwifery Council revealed a 67% increase in EU staff leaving its register, in addition to a complete collapse in new EU registrations.

Living with the uncertainty of post-Brexit times, complex ideas of identity and belonging are often polarised. The sometimes harsh rhetoric surrounding immigration can create racial divisions and social exclusion within our communities, significantly worsening people’s wellbeing.

EU nationals working in the NHS. This photo went viral in 2016

Art makes us analyse what is in front of us. It offers a way to reflect on complicated and often difficult to talk about topics. Art bridges gaps between ‘us’ and ‘them’. At a healthcare level, art interventions like ours are proven to ease conversations and the amount of communication between doctors and patients.

Art can give us the freedom to challenge many of our deepest assumptions and opinions. In sparking new questions and ideas, art has the power to change the way we view the world and even inspire new action to take place.

Language Strategies, a new exhibition at ACF London curated by our very own Alice Woodhouse, presents a range of artists whose work engages with the challenges of communicating. Featuring recent graduates of the Academy of Fine Art Vienna alongside London-based artists, the exhibition confronts topics such as migration, fake news, discrimination and bureaucracy.

A cross-platform event taking place at the Tate Exchange this weekend aims to explore the production of identities, neighbourhoods, and belonging. Who Are We? intends to start conversations and draw connections between the difficult topics of migration, housing, dis/placement and citizenship, which all impact on health inequalities.

Through a range of visual art: installations, films and workshops, co-curated and co-produced by artists, activists, academics and audiences, this programme shows us how we can learn and grow together to create stronger communities.

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