Nicky Lambert

Director of Teaching and Learning Mental Health and Social Work. / Assoc. Prof. Department of Mental Health and Social Work & Photographer/Craftworker

Hello! My name is Nicky and whilst I was discouraged from taking creative subjects academically, being creative has been essential in helping me to sustain a long and happy 22 year career in mental health. Art and creativity are vital to my self-expression and sense of belonging – I’ve been part of photography and painting exhibitions as well as community art celebrations. They help me to find my voice and articulate my concerns through activism and craftivism. Art and creativity also play a key part in my teaching and the participatory and coproduced research I undertake as an academic. Currently I am dyeing and hand spinning fibre and then weaving it into everything from iPad covers, wall hangings to scarves. I’m still new to this field but growing and learning in new areas of practice are great ways to refresh all aspects of your creativity. Most of all though spinning and weaving, (much like mental health nursing and teaching) connect my hand and my heart … which makes me feel complete, centred, very happy!

Curious about the human condition

People with creative backgrounds are essential to all the health professions! If you have a ‘trained eye’ – you can see things differently and are well placed to explore innovative solutions. As a creative person you may have different skills in terms of analysis and critical thinking and by using your empathy to understand yourself, to be curious about the human condition you will offer compassionate support to others and you can help drive practice improvement. Working in health and social will change your perspective and help you see the world in a new way and if you work and grow in this field – your creative mindset will sustain and support you and the way your practice reaches out can support others to understand complex situations and encourage them to express themselves.