Cartwheel Arts – The Wellbeing Dominoes

| Anna Eaton

We’ve recently come across a vibrant, co-designed communal resource called the Wellbeing Dominoes. The Wellbeing Dominoes is a game that can be played in a group setting with a trained facilitator. We love it because it’s a result of patient and experimental co-design and playing the game encourages collaboration and cooperation.

It is suitable for anyone who might benefit from regular creative, social activity. The game comes in a box with instructions, 28 task cards and materials for each task. The group plays the cards and takes part in a creative activity outlined on each. It can take up to 8 sessions over 8 weeks to complete. Therefore, the game can be adapted to many different groups of people and settings with a bit of imagination. Each task leads participants to create lots of unique artwork.

The game has many benefits including aiding relaxation, reducing stress, increasing ability to focus and helping to develop social interaction.

Art for a reason, Cartwheel Arts

Cartwheel Arts created the Wellbeing Dominoes. Cartwheel Arts is a charity based in Heywood, Lancashire who promote social inclusion, cohesion, diversity and regeneration through community participation in vibrant, innovative, high quality arts projects.

The ethos for Cartwheel Arts is art for a reason; to achieve some sort of change. Since 2009 they have run Art for Wellbeing, a creative and development art based project working with adults with mental health issues to achieve wellbeing outcomes. They are really interested in co-design, so as part of the Art for Wellbeing project, they began designing an arts game. The game took two years to develop as they took their time to completely co-design and test the game. It went through many evolutions, starting as a journaling project and then transformed slowly into the Wellbeing Dominoes card game.

Kerry Bertram who coordinates Art for Wellbeing told us that when they started out on the game project they rigorously planned the first stage. They had a clear idea of timeline, target groups and artists lined up. They had spaces for reflection, learning and testing. But, after that the project had freedom to evolve and transform: “We weren’t really sure what we were going to produce. The result is this wellbeing game”.

Cartwheel Arts provide important and creative arts based services which, as all things do, requires funding. They don’t just think creatively about their projects, but also their revenue streams. In order to diversify their income, they provide training and taster sessions on the game for a fee to individuals and organisations on how to use and facilitate the game.

Who can use the Wellbeing Dominoes?

So far, twenty-two organisations have been trained, to use and play the game so they can deliver it to others. Cartwheel Arts are considering developing new game boxes and cards with new activities to swap with other cards that have already been played. We’ve learnt that they are excited to soon begin training sessions with several teachers to facilitate the game with children.

The game is a fantastic resource for team building sessions as it develops participation, looks at roles within groups and teaches how to give and receive feedback. We’re dying to play it at the Ideas Hub!

Watch this great video about the game. And if you want to know more, get in touch with Kerry Bertram at Cartwheel Arts: kerry@cartwheelarts.org.uk

Photo by russn_fckr 

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