Cumbria’s top artists gather for a weekend of workshops

Some of Cumbria’s leading artists will gather for a weekend of workshops designed to highlight the importance of the arts for a healthy lifestyle this autumn.

Leading tango teacher  Francesca Halfacree  will be joined by a host of talent at Scalesceugh Hall near Carlisle for a celebration titled The Art of Being.

There will also be classes in tai chi, yoga and other dance forms, along with creative classes from some of the county’s top visual artists.

They include Alex Jakob Whitworth who will run workshops on drawing, painting and textiles alongside cartoonist and life drawing teacher Gavin Pollock: Ceri Allan will offer her expertise in painting; Christine Hurford, is a ceramicist and installation artist; and glass artist and printmaker Janis Young joins the team.

Also on site will be Irene Sanderson, the Penrith-based painter, illustrator, printmaker and calligrapher; and poet and writer Nick Pemberton will be among many others running workshops for visitors to the Hall.

The Art of Being is organised by Dr Anita Herdeiro and her husband Bruno, experts in challenging traditional approaches to ageing.  “We will be showcasing arts and activities which can contribute to health and well-being,” said Dr Herdeiro. “We want to show doing things that are fun, and being mindful of whatever we interact with, contributes positively to our health in mind and body. There is research to support how art can contribute to our physical and mental well-being, which will be discussed at the event.

“Using the ‘arts’ in all forms – words, music, painting and movement – offers the opportunity to enhance and deepen the sense of well-being. These workshops are the beginning of an encouraging and respectful re-evaluation of ageing and the real needs of older people.”


Learn to tango: an opportunity for creativity and self-expression

Scalesceugh Hall is the centre of a revolutionary project which tackles traditional attitudes towards ageing, beginning with the building of several luxury retirement villas within its grounds. These new homes are being sold privately, with carers on site to ensure residents can live there for as long as possible, where the services will be provided as a non for profit enterprise. The Herdeiros hope that concepts used at the Hall will be a catalyst for change across the system .

“We need to tear up the rule book and start again, focusing on individuals not demographics,” said Dr Herdeiro. “If people feel happier and more fulfilled, and more motivated to stay well, it makes them less prone to ill health, and reduces the pressure on overstretched health and care services. Just because someone has retired, doesn’t mean they should give up on their aspirations, or lose their meaning and purpose.”

The Art of Being festival aims to show the way that the arts can help a healthier lifestyle. Dance, for example, can support people living with Parkinson’s disease to develop confidence and strength, says Dr Herdeiro. “It can provide opportunity for creativity and self-expression, while also temporarily relieving some participants of symptoms in everyday life.”

Dr Herdeiro, a GP and health-care expert, has spent many years working with older people and researching into the impact of keeping fit and healthy in later life, and her principles are based on philosophies now being adopted in Scandinavia and Australia.

Visitors to the Art of Being will also have a chance to see the new retirement homes, and the Hall itself, which will have rooms available for the use of buyers – including rooms for fitness classes. Light snacks and drinks will be available.

Further information about the event will be posted on the website:

The event is Saturday and Sunday October 7 and 8. Scalesceugh Hall is at Carleton on the A6 five miles south of Carlisle, near to junction 43 of the M6.






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