We’re excited to announce the programme for Manifesto – our opening event for the 2023 Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival (SMHAF). This ambitious, day-long happening will explore the questions: What does a mental health revolution look like? And how do we start one?

Taking place on Wednesday 4 October at CCA: Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow, Manifesto will engage audiences in a series of creative provocations from prominent artists and activists. The diverse line-up includes songwriting collective Hen Hoose, socio-political artist Heather Marshall, poet Imogen Stirling and musician Sonia Killmann, writer and performer Skye Loneragan, and arts and science collective Traumascapes.

The theme of this year’s festival – taking place across Scotland from 4 – 22 October 2023 – is ‘revolution’. In the midst of political and economic turbulence, the festival seeks to confront the impact of economic barriers and social inequality on our mental health, and ask ‘how we can do things differently?’. 

Manifesto’s aim is to pose provocative questions and enable audiences, artists and activists to collectively create a statement and manifesto for social change. The theme of revolution will be interrogated in creative ways through performances, live music, discussions, film screenings, participatory workshops and exhibitions. 

Creative provocations specially commissioned for the festival include:

  • Writer and performer Imogen Stirling and electronic musician Sonia Killmann’s immersive storytelling experience The Boulders We Carry (4-5pm) – a contemporary retelling of the myth of Sisyphus set in present-day Glasgow.
  • Traumascapes’ session On Survivors’ Terms (5-6pm) which focuses on filmmaking as a channel through which to disrupt oppressive systemic storylines and reclaim the narrative of trauma and mental health.
  • Socio-political artist and writer Heather Marshall’s interactive installation She’s on the Roof (11.30am-1.30pm & 3-7pm) in which she asks audiences ‘What do you care enough about to start a revolution for?’ and invites them to develop a communal installation.

Other programme highlights include Skye Loneragan’s absurd new work-in-progress comedy May Contain Nuts (*) (2-3pm). This live performance explores the time when a BBC commissioning editor asked her to prove that her own father’s schizophrenia, which she had written about in a play, was real.

The workshop programmes includes events by See Me – an interactive session over breakfast which imagines a future without mental health stigma – and Scottish Recovery Network – premiering a new short film exploring the reality of living with trauma.

In the headline evening slot is Hen Hoose: Power Up (7.30-9.30pm), a celebratory gig inspired by the theme of ‘Revolution’. The diverse and innovative line-up features sets from Scottish musicians Sarah Hayes, Ray Aggs and SHEARS.

How to book

Day Passes for Manifesto are available on a sliding scale of £15 / £10 / £5 and enable you to book for up to five events. Book your Manifesto Day Pass here.

Hen Hoose: Power Up is ticketed separately and is not included in the Manifesto Day Pass. Book your Hen Hoose: Power Up ticket here.

SMHAF will take place across Scotland from 4-22 October 2023. Our full programme will be announced on Monday 4 September – keep an eye on our website and socials for updates. #smhaf23

SMHAF’s Manifesto programme is supported by Creative Scotland. SMHAF 2023 is led by the Mental Health Foundation and is supported by our national partners: Creative Scotland, Thrive Edinburgh, Edinburgh Health & Social Care Partnership, Baring Foundation, See Me, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, and Scottish Recovery Network.

Image: Heather Marshall (credit Chris Scott)