The theme for the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival 2021 is ‘Normality?’ and with these commissions we want to explore one of the big questions raised by the Covid-19 lockdown: what is ‘normality’?

There has been much discussion over the past year of adjusting to a ‘new normal’, or of things ‘returning to normal’ at some point. But what if you feel that society’s perception of ‘normality’ doesn’t include you? What if your experience of ‘normality’ results in, or exacerbates, illness and stress? What if being ignored, marginalised, or discriminated against is so ‘normal’ to you, and to those responsible for it, that it is barely acknowledged? And what is the mental health impact of all this?

SMHAF wishes to commission six artists to respond to the theme of ‘My Normality’ in any way they wish, as long as the work addresses mental health in some way and can, ideally, be shared online. Each selected artist will receive a fee of £500 inclusive of costs and materials.

To enter, please send us a short proposal – one or two paragraphs if in writing; we can also accept proposals by audio or video – plus examples of previous work and an estimate of how long it would take you to make and submit your piece.

We will not prioritise applicants who are able to make work more quickly and will be flexible around access needs. We hope to showcase some of these commissions during this year’s festival dates of 3-23 May 2021 but we are also open to presenting work throughout the summer. 

The successful proposals will be compellingly presented and have something insightful to say about ‘normality’ and mental health.

Please email applications to with the subject line ‘My Normality Proposal – Your Name’. The deadline for applications is midnight on Friday 2 April. 

My Normality is supported by Creative Scotland. 

Image by Amy Rosa from her series Shadow Places, commissioned by SMHAF in 2020 as part of My Experience of Isolation.