Academic Industry Placement: Umbrella Cymru

Activity: Consultancy


As part of HEIRF Funding, conducted a consultancy with Umbrella Cymru to provide guidance on movement for wellbeing and its application to their service users, plus provide staff development workshops.

During the placement, Dr Acarón delivered 8 workshops, 4 directed at staff members and partners who work with Umbrella Cymru as drop-in respite workshops and 4 open to LGBTQ+ people in Wales who are interested in movement for wellbeing. The public-facing workshops focused on developing body confidence, and looked at key themes in gender, sexual and relationship diversity (GSRD). Two additional workshops were undertaken with additional collaboration from Glitter Cymru, an ethnic minority LGBTQ+ organisation. The partnership was an additional bonus, since Dr Acarón’s involvement with USW’s LGBTQ+ Staff Network had evoked new discussions on the need to increase service provision for underrepresented groups and engaging with intersectionality. The academic placement paved the way for Acarón to deepen pre-existing connections she had with Glitter Cymru, which opened the service provision to a wider gamma of participants. This culminated in Acarón leading an additional workshop in person during the Glitter Cymru monthly meetup, and also an invitation to present another workshop at the Out and Wild Festival, which was additionally sponsored by Glitter Sisters International (division of Glitter Cymru focusing on women and nonbinary people). The organisers from the festival have already asked for the workshop to be offered next year. Overall, 42 participants attended the workshops (online + in person). The participant demographic spanned from 20-60s and included participants who were accessing mental health support and asylum seekers, all from a wide variety of social, economic and cultural backgrounds. The workshops were completely inclusive of all identities within GSRD. A music therapy student intern attended and assisted in the sessions and accrued hours as part of their first-year placement. A music therapy placement was offered to another student in their final year. They led a specialised group for young people.

The staff events were advertised across all partners of Umbrella Cymru. A public facing seminar on working with GSRD clients was conducted with UK-based and international delegates. The presentation generated interest and invitations from both international organisations and USW divisions. As a result of the webinar, I was invited to present at the French Arts Therapies Syndicate Conference (online, but conference based in Paris). I also received an invitation from USW’s Wellbeing Services department, and the workshop content will be offered more widely to staff and students. The plan (currently under discussion) is to design a programme of dance/movement psychotherapy-informed wellbeing workshops with a vision to expand the services to include music and art therapy in future pilots. The workshop series has also been proposed to the Corporate branch of USW to provide training for mental health professionals to USW partners and is currently awaiting confirmation.

The experience of working for the placement has also informed new discussions with the LGBTQ+ Staff Network to create new training workshops in collaboration with the BAME network at USW, which will help with staff induction on equality and diversity.

As part of the outcomes, I applied to the Collaborate Fund for a project a mapping survey of service provision of LGBTQ+ services across Wales with a particular emphasis on the arts. The bid also included providing workshops to the community. I met with two lecturers from the Human Geography department who were willing to collaborate should the bid be successful. Unfortunately, the bid was unsuccessful, but there is scope to apply again in the near future.
PeriodOct 2021May 2022
Work forUmbrella Cymru, United Kingdom
Degree of RecognitionRegional