The Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival (SMHAF) will return from 10 – 27 October 2024, exploring the theme of ‘In/Visible’.

Now in its 18th year, the annual festival is led by the Mental Health Foundation. It takes place across Scotland and covers all artforms. SMHAF aims to provide a platform for everyone to create and share art inspired by mental health and explore how the arts and creativity can support people to live mentally healthier lives.

We are delighted to announce that SMHAF will receive support from Creative Scotland for 2024 and 2025, giving us welcome stability and creating new opportunities to develop our work with artists and communities across Scotland.

We want to hear from organisations, communities, artists and activists who would like to get involved in the festival this year. Whether you’re working on a creative project, have an idea for an event, are interested in helping to develop your local programme, or want to talk about anything else, please get in touch at smhaf@mentalhealth.org.uk.

‘In/Visible’

Our theme will consider what it means to be ‘visible’ or ‘invisible’ when we think about our mental health. Which aspects of our mental health do we keep hidden and which do we feel able to share? How can we use the arts and creativity to make mental health more ‘visible’, in a way that engages people and challenges stigma?

We also want the festival to explore who is made to feel unseen and unheard. How does this happen and what impact do experiences of exclusion and discrimination have on our mental health? Most importantly, how can we challenge the inequalities and systems of power that render people ‘invisible’?

As always, our theme is full of creative possibilities and we are excited to experience all the diverse, inspiring and illuminating ways that artists and communities interpret it this October. We will offer a space where everyone can explore the theme through a wide variety of artforms and be as ‘visible’ (or ‘invisible) as they choose.

Our Programme

Building on the momentum from last year’s opening event, Manifesto, this year’s programme will feature another special event in Glasgow to showcase new work that explores mental health and bring our festival community together. Expect performances, screenings, creative workshops, discussions and a few surprises, all inspired by our festival theme.

SMHAF 2024 will also see our International Film Awards return after a year out. Showcasing the very best mental health themed films from around the world, the awards ceremony and screening programme will be back at CCA: Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow. Submissions are now open – we’re inviting films that address mental health in all the diverse ways this can be understood or reflected.

We will also present our annual Writing Awards, another round of accessible artist commissions, touring theatre, and a new targeted small grants programme to support activity in underserved communities across Scotland.

Look out for opportunities to get involved and regular announcements about all this and more over the coming weeks and months.