Wanjiku Nyachae

A NESTA Innovation Fellow (Clore Leadership Programme 2009/10), published author and researcher, Wanjiku has a particular interest the potential for technology mediated arts and cultural outputs to provide personalised mental health and wellbeing therapies and social prescription for individuals in community.

Wanjiku’s formal qualifications include training and working as an Economist (Ba Hons. SOAS, 1982); Msc. Economics (UCL, London, 1988), MA in Creative Writing (Warwick, 2003), MA Gestalt Psychotherapy (2012), and an MSc. Addiction studies (Kings College London, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, 2018)

How the Fellowship impacted me

Clore enabled me to be strategic in thought leadership and in ‘leadership from the wings’, both of which weave my training & life and work experiences into practical, arts-led social prescription projects in the mental health, wellbeing and personalised medicine space. In addition to my psychotherapy and coaching practice, I have launched Cascade SciArts a community interest organisation which creates evidence-based interventions that affirm ‘the arts change lives’. The working model emerged in a 2018 proof-of-concept scientific study (MSc.) involving live music, projections and VR visuals in which I used the scientific method to evidence that art changed sense of wellbeing and elevated mood.

How I am using my skills for change

Via Cascade SciArts, a community interest initiative, I’m focusing on social prescription of tech-enabled arts and cultural interventions for mental health and wellbeing. The aim is to facilitate change from the inside out through enjoyable, accessible, evidence-based and effective interventions. The first project In PORTAL uses music and visuals designed to simulate hallucinogens to improve mood and sense of wellbeing. I’m working with a multidisciplinary team of artists and technicians on the paper-to-people VR experience. The research involves University based psychologists, digital communications and medical sciences experts.