News & Events

New report calls for mental health and wellbeing framework for community-based arts workers

Creative Recovery Network (CRN) and Community Arts Network (CAN) today released a report calling for new standards of practice and a framework to better support practitioners in high performance work environments within the Community Arts and Cultural Development (CACD) sector. 

Creating Well: Working Sustainably in Communities, shares the findings of a four-year collaborative research project between CRN and CAN designed to grow a deeper understanding of the support needs for community-based arts workers and identify the gaps in support that exist within the sector.

The six key recommendations presented in the report propose a combination of professional supervision, peer support and wellbeing programs, underpinned by a sector-wide practice framework, to support sustained excellence and practitioner wellbeing. 

Creative Recovery Network Executive Officer, Scotia Monkivitch said: “Community Arts and Cultural Development practitioners work in highly complex settings, often in remote locations and trauma-impacted communities with limited support structures, putting them at high risk of stress, burnout and post-traumatic stress disorder.”

“It is clear from our research that the burden of practitioner self-care is not solely an individual responsibility and must be shared between individuals, and the funding bodies and organisations contracting arts workers for socially engaged projects. Our hope is that the findings presented in Creating Well, will map a clear pathway for the sector to shift to more sustainable and responsive work environments for the benefit of CACD arts workers, and the communities they work with.” 

The research included consultation with arts workers from a range of settings and an extensive professional supervision program with a group of Western Australia-based CACD workers, modelled after best practice models in the health and social services sectors.

Co-CEO of Community Arts Network, June Moorhouse said: “Creating Well is our contribution to the advancement of the national conversation regarding effective self-care and is a direct response to many years of feedback we have received about the physical and emotional challenges people face in community-based practice.” 

“It is time for action and advocacy to move towards a framework that both instigates and funds programs to support arts workers within the CACD sector.” 

The research process was undertaken in partnership with psychologist Dr Shona Erskine and researcher Dr Peta Blevins, and included the participation of 19 sector research participants and 13 professional supervision pilot program participants.

Read the full report online at:

Share this article on


Are you a project facilitator, artist or organisation with a creative recovery project you would like to share in our case study library? Please submit your project details and images for our review at this link.
Submit case study