We’re excitied to be working with a major national arts project coming to the Tetley in September.
Friday 27th September, 11am – 3pm
The Tetley, Hunslet Road, Leeds, LS10
To book your place email Tom at [email protected]
Join us for an exciting creative writing and music workshop experience, and become a part of a major new artwork by artist Mel Brimfield and composer Gwyneth Herbert – to be shown in arts centres around the country in 2020.
At a time of disastrous austerity cuts within the mental health sector, we are building an epic, multi-speaker installation that gives voice to all those affected – from service users and survivors, through to carers, families and researchers – and we need your voices to be a part of it!
We are inviting you to to take part in a free, dynamic and playful singing / songwriting workshop which explores emotions and subjects around the topic of mental health, such as isolation and connection; loneliness and community; anxiety and healing; the loss, finding and sharing of voice. Through an interactive explosion of the song-writing process, participants will be given an insight into finding inspiration and overcoming blocks, developing lyrics, harmonic sequences and melodies, building sound collages and using the voice as an instrument – giving them a kind of song-writing “toolkit” to take with them on their own creative and therapeutic practices.
Individual stories, experiences and creative output will be also collected from each workshop and directly inspire our final epic choral composition. This will be written, recorded for and “sung” by a multi-speaker installation that forms a circle of witnesses around the central voice, and the heart of the piece – an extraordinary recording collected at the National Psychosis Unit of a patient reciting the middle 8 from Elvis Presley’s ‘Are You Lonesome Tonight’. Housed within a collaboratively designed sculptural object built in partnership with UK Men’s Sheds and Men’s Sheds Cymru, each speaker will represent a different voice within a non-hierarchical, invisible choir which – at least speculatively – erodes the often problematic divisions between clinicians and patients.
At the core of both process and artwork is the belief in creativity and community to support wellness, invite transformation and promote understanding, along with a desire to unite and celebrate organisations who provide these ever-more crucial opportunities. We invite you to bring your voice, explore your words, and help us make a STAND.
Our Annual Exhibition is now over – thanks so much to all our artists, helpers, volunteers, supporters, invigilators, curators – and anyone who came in. Particular thanks to Naheed, Mussarat, Sandy, Emma and the Culture Club team who led some brilliant workshops. This year more than ever it’s been a team effort. So many people helped to put the show up – and take it down. So well done everyone!
We’ll post a folder of great images from the exhibition ASAP. And some of the great comments left by visitors to the show.
Linda, Tom and Jane
Arts & Minds
Art & Mental Health
Art allows us a insight into an inner world. It gives us a brief glance into how other people see and interact with the world around them and puts us in touch with their journeys of recovering, healing and transformation. Art is a way for people to express feelings across the emotional spectrum, from joy to pain. What we create is a reflection of our life stories and what it is to be human.
The Arts and Minds annual open exhibition is a showcase of the artwork produced by its members over the year. These members include artists who have different experiences of living with mental health conditions, as well as people who use art as a way of managing their wellbeing, and those exploring the topic of mental health.Some members work or volunteer in mental health services or are carers. The exhibition aims to explore our relationship with art and to celebrate how vital it is to our well-being. It is an opportunity to expose what may not otherwise be seen.
What is your relationship to art?
The exhibition aims to raise questions about the relationship between art and mental health. For example, can art help people to find positives within a negative experience? Does healing from trauma enable people to unlock creativity and inspiration? Or does a different relationship with the sensory impact how people interact with materials? We invite you to consider these questions as you explore the exhibition.
Connect & Create meets on the first Monday afternoon of every month at the Tetley. The aim is to get together with other like-minded, creative people. We want you to share ideas, be artistic, and find out about all the great things going on in Leeds.
Every month we’ll have:
Sharing – a chance for you to bring along a piece of artwork or some writing – or a song or a dance and share it with an enthusiastic group of Arts & Minds members
Discussion – we’ll choose an important topic and gather a group to talk about it. It could be a new idea, or an event that’s coming up we need help with – or something completely different.
Creative Space – every month a new volunteer will try out a different creative workshop. No skills necessary, just have a go.
We’ll also have the Arts & Minds team on hand to answer your questions, and plenty of leaflets and brochures with information on lots of different things going on. It’s ideal for people who’ve never been to an Arts & Minds event before – you can find out all about what we do. And we particularly welcome people who’ve had experience of mental health issues.
Join us on the first Monday of every month
Connect & Create
Monday Afternoons, 2 – 4pm
The Learning Studio on Floor 2
This year the Love Arts Festival wants to make sure volunteers are doing something interesting and creative as part of the festival. A few of us met up at Leeds Town Hall to get some ideas. We decided to keep to the festival theme of JOURNEYS to help guide our discussions.
We cam up with loads of ideas, some of which you can see scrawled on the flipcharts below, but we decided to take the following ones forward:
ST JOHN’S INTERACTIVE INSTALLATION
Love Arts Festival is using an empty shop unit in the St John’s Centre in Leeds city centre. Several group exhibition will be put up but we wanted something interactive for the public to do. So our volunteer team will creative an installation based on the theme of MAPS to encourage the public to think about mental health and do something creative. It could be a MIND-MAP or a TREASURE MAP. Or another type of map… But the public will be able to contribute and the installation will grow over the course of the festival.
We’ve produce a map of the city-centre linking up all the exhibitions. Usually there’s about 10 – 15 shows in town and this will be a map that encourages you to go on an ART HUNT. Along the way there’ll be challenges and things to find. The Love Arts vols will take a jaunt around town to create the ART HUNT. And we’ll print out loads of copies so people can do it on their own, or with their friends and families. And we’ll arrange a special ART HUNT event to do it as part of a group.
There are a few events in the Festival that the public and festival friends will come to – and we want to encourage them to DO SOMETHING! The team had loads of ‘map themed’ ideas. A COMPASS on which you can write on your directions for life; a SUITCASE on which you’d write which bits of baggage you need to deal with; a BOARDING PASS on which you can write your destination – ie where you want to be in life. These will be made and printed around postcard size so they’re easy to transport and display if necessary.
These are the 3 ideas we’re going to focus on. And we need people to help make them happen! Do you want to help create an installation? Make up an Art Hunt? Design an interactive boarding Pass? We’re going to get together to start working things out very soon. There’ll be a team on the installation and a map team taking a walk round town. We’ll meet up later in June. Want to be a part of it? Email Tom at [email protected]
We’ll also need volunteers during the festival in October to help run these project. This could involve talking to people and encouraging them to take part – or you could be part of a team installing exhibitions – or you might want to help invigilate shows. Let us know you’re interested by emailing [email protected]
Meanwhile, take a look at all our ideas! No way we can do them all but it gives us inspiration for the future!
by Tom Bailey.
Network is a dreadful word.
“I like to network.” “Come to our network meeting.” “Let’s set up a network.” I can’t be alone in thinking that the word comes loaded with negativity. It’s management speak. It’s jargon. Someone for whom I have great respect once told me I was “a good networker”. “Rubbish,” I said. “I hate networking.” “But you speak to anyone, you know lots of people.” “Oh, I speak to people. But I hate networking.” The word drips with insincerity. I don’t want to be a smug schmoozer.
I even tried to drop the word “network” from “Arts & Minds Network”. But we’d just had a new logo designed and couldn’t afford to commission another. I suppose I must face facts: Arts & Minds is a network. But all that means is that it’s a collection of people united around a common cause: creativity and mental well-being. Maybe we’re a “community”. That’s almost as bad as “network”.
I don’t mind what a network means. It’s brilliant. You can do loads more when you’re working together, when you know people who have similar interests. I’m no good at working alone; the more the merrier. I’ve really enjoyed running the Love Arts Conversation, a conference-type event that brought lots of people under the same roof to discuss issues, ideas and get inspiration. At the risk of offending you with another annoying word, there was a good energy.
However, it’s not enough to feel all warm and fuzzy for a day once every couple of years. Arts & Minds should be getting people together more often. Giving people the chance to meet each other and perhaps plot the next fantastic art project. Or find out what others are doing and become inspired in their own work. So let’s do something similar to the Love Arts Conversation. Smaller but more frequently. To bring together anyone with an interest in creativity and mental health. To encourage arts organisations and health people to work together. We could call it a “network meeting”.
Ok, so we’re not going to call it that. But what should it be? Who should be there? What should we do? What’s the point? Why bother when Trump’s going to blow us all up anyway? Sorry, ignore that last bit. What I’m trying to say is that we need a bit of help to make this happen. To make it not rubbish. To make it something people want to come to. To be honest, I don’t even know what ‘it’ is.
NB The picture accompanying this article is of two amazing people: Alison McIntyre and Leanne Buchan, at the Love Arts Conversation 2016. They’re having an interesting chat. But are they networking…? Photograph by Mat Dale.
January is almost over but here at Arts & Minds we’ve been trying to fight the Winter Blues…
We linked up with the redoubtable Helen Hunter Thompson of CGL to support her #30daysofpositivity idea. A brilliant way to brighten the dark days. Find out more here.
One of the many dark days in January was known as “Blue Monday”. So we got a musician to cheer up passengers on the bus. Here’s what we put on our leaflet:
“Today, 16 January 2017, is commonly known as Blue Monday and is often described as “the most depressing day of the year.” For many people, this is when “reality” kicks in after Christmas, the days feel shorter, darker and it can seem like a long time until the lighter summer days. To spread some cheer on this dark day, First Bus Leeds have teamed up with Leeds & York Partnerships Foundation NHS Trust to provide a musical accompaniment to your journey.
However, If you’re living with depression the date is irrelevant. Depression affects people every day, not just on “Blue Monday”. People with depression aren’t just “a bit down” because of the weather or because they’re skint after Christmas. It’s likely that you know someone with a mental health issue. Or you may be affected yourself. Use ‘Blue Monday’ as an excuse to start a conversation about mental health!”
Our musician (“the Captain”) was amazing. Have a look on the BBC Leeds Facebook page.
However, neither of these articles really encapsulate how joyful the experience was. I was accompanying the Captain and saw the reaction up close. We hopped on and off buses, entertained people at bus stops and wandered the streets in search of miserable commuters. The 56 from Headingley was packed
with students trying to record the experience on their phones. Whilst waiting for the 49, the Captain sang ‘Lean On Me’, accompanied by members of the bus queue. Just outside the LGI he serenaded an unborn child whose Mother had just been for a scan. And the Captain was unfazed by any request, even attempting an improvised Elvis/ Grime improvised mash-up. With mixed results. But everywhere we went, there were smiles. Some grumpy faces initially, but the Captain usually won them over. One commuter confided, “you don’t see that sort of thing in Leeds do you? In London, maybe, but not in Leeds.”
So that was Blue Monday.
On Brown Thursday (which is even less of a thing than Blue Monday because I just made it up) we joined Helen and others at the Feel Good Fest. The Corn Exchange was packed with brilliant people, offering ways to help feel better. Loads of treatments (massages, hypnotherapy, reflexology), workshops (from us and Dean), music, yoga, drama, the Human Library…. And it was great. A good turnout of lovely people. Thank Helen for organising it and giving everybody a chance to try something to make them feel a little better on a dark night.
So, some light has been shone in the darkness. Let’s hope we do something similar next January.
Creative Afternoons is run by Arts & Minds members, for Arts & Minds members. The idea is to get together to do something creative on a Sunday afternoon. A different member runs each session and it could be craft, drawing, painting, photography, weaving… We meet at 1pm in the bar, and at 2pm up on Floor 2 Workshop Room.
2nd Sunday of every month
The Tetley, Hunslet Road, Leeds, LS10 1JQ
Telephone: 0113 2623128
Email: [email protected]