Passion is central to our Festival’s ethos and spirit. Not only is it vital for driving people to explore mental health and challenge discrimination, it is at the heart of every great arts event and creative experience. It is therefore fitting that our theme for 2015 is passion.

Passion reflects the vital commitment of nearly 300 organisations, communities and individuals who work year round to programme the Festival. It is evident in the support we receive each year from our network of core partners, artists, activists and audiences. With this support we have grown to become one of the largest international social justice festivals with over 300 events encompassing multiple art forms, across 17 regions in Scotland with annual attendances of over 20,000.

For SMHAFF 2015, we explore the emotional dimensions of mental health, looking at how we learn to live with our passions and make them work positively for us. In over 300 events across the country, we consider passion in all its forms – intensity, love, rebellion, excitement, hope and fear – and in particular, we celebrate our passion for the arts and the passion that artists have for the creative process.

Through co-producing events, we ensure that we give a voice to our entire community in Scotland, including ethnic minority groups, LGBT activists and youth organisations, as well as people with mental health diagnoses and experiences. By sharing what excites us artistically – films, art, music, theatre, literature and more – we can help to open up conversations about mental health and go some way towards reducing stigma.

We hope that there is something for everyone to feel passionate about in this year’s programme.

The Festival Team