Lorna Collins is a Lecturer on the MASc Creative Health at University College London. This course is the world’s first Masters of both Arts and Sciences. Lorna is also co-leading ‘Creative Nepal’, a new project to set up an arts health network in Nepal. Previously, Lorna examined the efficacy of online art workshops in the context of gender-based violence. She also evaluated the impact of arts and health interventions for frontline healthcare workers at University College London Hospitals. Her active research in arts and health began from her PhD, where she was a triple scholar at Jesus College, Cambridge University. During her PhD, Lorna explored how and why art helps us to make sense of ourselves, and the world. She spoke about her story and research in a TEDx Talk (‘How Creativity Revived Me’). Lorna is a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health. An author, she writes articles in a number of newspapers and journals about mental health, arts in health and the NHS.

My story: 

When I was 18 I had a severe traumatic brain injury and fell into a coma. When I awoke, I had total amnesia and did not know who I was, who anyone was. I developed a number of psychiatric illnesses, and was locked away for nearly 2 decades. During this time, art was my saviour. I would paint to express the inexpressible, my sheer misery. I would paint, write, express what I could not say. Eventually the doctors would look at my paintings (etc.), diagnose, medicate and treat my illnesses. Art became my medicine (on the list of the drugs I had to take). My creativity nourished me, drove my eventual recovery, feeds my life. In March 2020 I did a TED talk, ‘How Creativity Revived Me’, about this theme.