For SMHAF 2020, we will be developing an online programme aimed at supporting our creative communities, regional networks and dedicated audiences, and creating opportunities for engagement and conversation. 

In the meantime, we are compiling these resources created by the artistic community in Scotland for people to engage with during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The arts are a powerful way to stay connected and maintain positive mental health and wellbeing.

This page will be updated regularly so please draw our attention to anything that is happening by tagging or messaging us on Twitter (@MH_Arts), Facebook (@mentalhealtharts) or Instagram (@mhfestival) and we will share as much as we can here. 

For advice and information on how to look after your mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak, please explore our resources on the Mental Health Foundation website. 

Kairos Women’s Support

Kairos is our new women’s initiative created and led by local women. A vibrant, safe and relaxing women-only space in Johnstone to come together for social activities, courses and classes.

Daily Dancing

Kairos is a women’s initiative created and led by local women in Johnstone, Renfrewshire. During lockdown they have weekly online events, including Kairos Kitchen, Kairos Pub Quiz, and creative cafe. Find out more here

Quarantine Cabaret

Join Cameron Foster and a host of other performers from the comfort of your home. With gigs, shows and events across the country cancelling en masse as the COVID-19 outbreak continues, a new platform is taking place to help struggling performers find an audience. Fundraising through JustGiving and streaming live on Instagram, Quarantine Cabaret will present music and poetry direct from artists’ homes.

Scotsman Sessions

The Scotsman Sessions is a series of short video performances from artists all around the country commissioned by The Scostman and released on their website, with introductions from their critics. Artists featured so far include Pictish Trail, Esther Swift and Karine Polwart

Glasgow Short Film Festival

Following an online mini-fest taking place during their original dates, GSFF are planning to build an online resource of free-to-view animations from around the world, suitable for all ages. Visit their website or sign up to their newsletter for updates.

Feminists in Quarantine: Femspectives at Home

The Femspectives team have launched a feminist film club you can join from your living room! Each week, they will decide on a film that you can watch collectively or in your own time online and host a post-screening discussion via Zoom. 


SMHAF friend Duglas T. Stewart is hosting a weekly online quiz on Tuesday evenings from his living room to raise money for charity Help Musicians. You can listen and take part on Facebook, either by yourself or with friends. 

Bella Caledonia: The Howff

Bella Caledonia have created this online space to promote artists and musicians who are no longer able to perform live due to coronavirus. Each night features different artists, including opportunities to support them through buying their work online. 

Siobhan Wilson

Singer-songwriter Siobhan Wilson has created an online space where she is livestreaming gigs, Q&As and a podcast, which you can subscribe to for a small monthly fee. 


Digital Workshops

Scottish Ballet Health Classes

From Monday to Friday, Scottish Ballet are inviting people to join them on Facebook Live to dance together. There is a different class running each day, tailored to the specific needs of different communities but open to all. The classes will be streaming live at 11.30am each day, then made available on Facebook to catch up. Includes classes for people with specific health conditions, people aged 60+ and parents and children.


Luminate, Scotland’s creative ageing organisation, have developed a new programme of online creative activities that you can do wherever you are. Created during the coronavirus outbreak, the activities are designed for older people who are isolated at home or in a care home. A new film will be posted at 2pm on Tuesdays and Fridays.

40 Days to Learn Film

Filmmaker Mark Cousins has put together a 200-minute visual talk on film divided into 40 short sections that can be watched on Vimeo


Creative Opportunities

Scenes for Survival

Scenes for Survival is a crisis responsive artistic online project launched by the National Theatre of Scotland in association with BBC Scotland and BBC Arts’ Culture in Quarantine project. It will include a series of short digital theatre works and create opportunities for creative talent working in Scotland. 

Visible Fictions

Visible Fictions are commissioning 1 minute stories from artists based in Scotland – whether that’s a monologue, a stop motion animation, a puppet piece, a song… anything original! And something that you can film on a mobile phone from the comfort of your own home – perfect if you are having to batten down the hatches and ride this virus wave. The deadline for pitches is 5pm on Friday 27 March. Follow on Facebook for updates


Music and Podcasts

Old School

Ida Schuster is the world’s oldest podcaster! In Old School, Ida shares her unique perspective on life, love and theatre in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. This inspirational story, of growing up in a Jewish immigrant family, in the Gorbals area of Glasgow, takes us on an incredible journey through her childhood, the war years, and her long career on stage and screen.

The Fruit Tree Foundation

The Fruit Tree Foundation is a project developed by musicians Rod Jones and Emma Pollock in partnership with the Mental Health Foundation to challenge perceptions of mental health. It resulted in a series of gigs at SMHAF and a collaborative album First Edition, featuring Scott Hutchison, Karine Polwart, James Yorkston and other Scottish musicians. You can listen to the full album on Spotify


Resources and Databases


Mindreel is an online film database, primarily compiled from submissions from the early years of the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival, in an initiative to create a valuable learning resource using educational films about mental health. Mindreel was led by Iriss in partnership with the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival and University of Strathclyde, with funding from the Scottish Government (Reshaping Care and Mental Health Division).