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A stroke knocks life sideways but the creative arts can help re-build confidence

Life after a stroke is a journey home, home to one’s post stroke self and the familiarity of family and actual home. However, as Odysseus found on his return from Troy, the journey does not always go as planned.

Recovery may be slower than hoped for, relationships may be challenged and confidence shattered.


Stroke Odysseys, started by King’s College London and Derry City of Culture, offers workshops to patients who’ve had a stroke, encouraging them to share their story through performance

The person you thought you were seems to have gone missing.

Stroke Odysseys is a creative intervention into the post-stroke community, developed by Arts-in-Health Charity, Rosetta Life. Stroke patients are referred by local stroke units and health practices, to join a cycle of 12 creative workshops.

Led by professional musicians, dancers and singers, stroke participants with a range of disabilities are encouraged to explore their stroke stories through song and movement, and perform them through informal sharing and, in some instances, public performance.


Stroke Odysseys aims is to change the prevailing perception of victims of stroke by showing how they can contribute to cultural life and be heard.

Stroke Odysseys aims is to change the prevailing perception of victims of stroke by showing how they can contribute to cultural life and be heard. Participants find voice and recover self-esteem in lives knocked sideways by illness.  

Involvement enables participants to be witnessed and their stories heard which helps contribute to community strategies for resilience.

Stroke participants who wish to continue with the project are offered training to become Stroke Ambassadors – volunteers who will support new referrals and advocate for a creative life after stroke.

One Community Stroke Nurse described her experience with the programme as: “Incredibly beautiful… I learnt so much about what life is about because you’ve got such integrity in what you’re saying. It was mind-blowing for me to see what you could do.’

Stroke Odysseys was seeded by King’s College London and Derry City of Culture. A roll-out of the project was enabled by funding from Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, Arts Council England and The Wellcome Trust.

For more information visit rosettalife.org and strokeodysseys.org


Sarah Bazin