Opportunity: Facilitators for 'I Belong' creative wellbeing sessions

The Cultural Institute and Leeds Arts Health and Wellbeing Network invite applications from artists and creative facilitators to lead creative wellbeing sessions for students. 


Research shows that a significant number of university students report feeling so lonely that they are unable to function. COVID-19 heightened mental health concerns for young people, reduced opportunities to engage in face-to-face activities designed to increase wellbeing and decrease loneliness. We know that loneliness and lack of a sense of belonging are strong predictors of young people’s mental ill-health. 
There is clear evidence in the power of arts and cultural activities to increase social engagement and sense of belonging. We therefore have developed a programme to connect students with each other, coming together around creative activities in order to tackle loneliness and build a sense of belonging with others. Over the last two years the programme has been co-created with students, and it is important that this co-creation remains a part of the programme and that student participants needs are being met.  
The programme will target and prioritise students from under-represented backgrounds or experiences, and all ‘I Belong’ sessions should be safe, enjoyable and inclusive spaces for all. We will foster social relationships through shared fun and learning. 

What we are looking for

We want to engage artists and creative facilitators to run three 90-minute sessions in total, which could be around (but not limited to) one of the following themes: 

  • Arts, crafts and making – eg collage-making, jewellery-making, visual arts, textiles 
  • Digital creativity – eg film, photography, design, games
  • Physical creativity – eg walking, dance, yoga
  • Culture and heritage – eg heritage or personal collections, food, writing, language, identity.

We expect most sessions will be delivered in person, however this is flexible as remote opportunities (delivered online) could be more accessible for some participants. We are open to a range of activity proposals, and most of all welcome sessions which involve hands-on activity such as making (physically and digitally), exploring physical objects, cooking, discovering new parts of the city, etc.
We expect to pay each facilitator a £250-£300 fee per session, depending on experience, alignment with the project costs and consideration of materials and/or additional expenses. 
We aim to engage up to six creative facilitators, one facilitator per theme. 
The sessions will take place on either a Wednesday or a Thursday, 5.30 pm – 7.00 pm:

  • w/c 6 March: Session 1 
  • w/c 13 March: Session 2 
  • w/c 20 March: Session 3 

 (Optional celebration/showcase and sharing session scheduled: Thursday 30 March) 

How we will select facilitators  

 A small project team will select facilitators based on the applicant’s alignment with overall project aims. 
If your application is successful, we will contact you by the close of play on 10 February with further information and to schedule your sessions into the programme. 

How to apply

Submit your application, answering the questions below by emailing the Cultural Institute at culturalinstitute@leeds.ac.uk by 11.59 pm on Wednesday 15 February 2023.

  1. Name 
  2. Briefly describe why you interested in this opportunity, with reference to your practice or experience in creative facilitation 
  3. Briefly describe your idea for the creative session 
  4. What skills or benefits will participants gain from your session? 
  5. How will you build a sense of belonging amongst the participants? 
  6. Please describe any materials that will be needed, or considerations for participants. You might want to consider the participants’ home environment (if session is remote), access and inclusion needs, preparation time or follow-up activities. 
  7. What is your fee for the session? Will there be additional payment needed for materials and expenses? 
  8. Are you registered as a sole-trader, part of a registered company or tax-exempt individual? Please note: this won’t have an impact on whether you’re selected but allows us to set up payment in a timely way 
  9. Indicate if you have a preferred day to deliver on (either Wednesdays or Thursdays), or if you are flexible for either day. 

For more information or questions email the Cultural Institute at culturalinstitute@leeds.ac.uk.