Josie Aston – Biography
I recently completed an evaluation of a Falls Prevention Dance Group, in Burton-upon-Trent, as well as an update of the Advice section on the Creative Remedies website for the West Midlands. In 2010 I was commissioned to carry out a music and health mapping for the UK, on behalf of Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy.
During 2010-11 I assisted the Medical Humanities course at Imperial College as an external examiner, took part in an ‘expert Q&A panel’ for the Arts & Health module at Staffordshire University and advised the Fine Art department at Chichester University on their arts and health work.
I was part-time Arts Co-ordinator for Bromley NHS Trust in Kent from January 2005 to September 2008. The post involved commissioning and advising on artwork for the hospital environment, managing a music and performance programme for patients of all ages and developing projects in partnership with other organisations including schools and colleges.
Projects in 2008 included working in partnership with an artist and local schools to produce screen-printed banners for the hospital with images of bacteria and viruses to promote good infection control; devising a play about infection with local secondary school drama students; the installation of Shirley Chubb’s major work ‘Darwin’s Thinking Path’ at the hospital and Food for Thought, a project to raise the profile of food and nutrition in the hospitals.
From 2006-8 I was the editor of Public Art Online, a website which provides detailed information on practical aspects of public art commissioning. A key feature are the specially researched and written case studies of recent projects in the UK and abroad, illustrating different aspects of public art commissioning. The website was recently taken over by ixia.
I also work as a freelance arts and health consultant, advising NHS trusts on how to set up, fund and develop arts and health programmes. Two large-scale projects were for a mental health trust and an acute hospital trust in Staffordshire and Shropshire, advising both organisations on an arts and health strategy to involve service users and staff. [info sheet]
I am interested in the history of healthcare and the NHS and in 2007 I commissioned a series of photographic history murals from Woodgate Design, telling the story of Beckenham Hospital in Kent from its early days as a cottage hospital, up to its renewal as the Beckenham Beacon. In 2009 Woodgate and I completed another history project together for Orpington Hospital in Kent. [See Recent Projects].
Aside from my focus on arts and health, I have worked for a number of performing arts organisations including Opera North, Southbank and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, specialising in marketing, fundraising and education.
I have a First Class BA Hons degree in Economics and History with North American Studies from Leeds University (1995) and a MA with Distinction in European Cultural Policy and Administration from Warwick University (1999). I was the Wellcome Trust Fellow on the Clore Leadership Programme, 2008/9 and was seconded to the Science Museum in London through the Clore Programme from February-August 2009, where I helped develop content for the Lates programme.
I am based in London and work freelance in various parts of the UK in addition to London and the South East, most recently, the East of England, the South West and the West Midlands. For more details including fees and comments by previous clients, please click here: Working with Josie Aston.