'Normal?' Conversations: What is a ‘normal’ way to be an artist?

What is a ‘normal’ way to be a working artist?

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'Normal?' Conversations: What is the climate crisis doing to our mental health?

SMHAF’s Andrew Eaton-Lewis brings together three fascinating people with different insights into the mental health impact of climate change.

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All, Entire, Whole

All, Entire, Whole exhibition returns for its third year, curated by See Me community champion Sean McGugan as part of SMHAF 2021.

All, Entire, Whole presents work from a range of visual artists that encourage dialogue to end mental health stigma and discrimination. This year’s online exhibition includes work from: Nichelle Santagata, Sarah-Louise Wilson, Jo Chukualim, Aimee Morris, Susannah Laing, and Alexandra Murray.

Visit the SMHAF 2021 exhibition to see their works. 

Follow @seemescotland on Twitter and Instagram for updates.

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Art For The Heart: Coatbridge Cares

This short film showcases The Coatbridge Consortium.  They discuss the frequently used term "Normality" and how unhelpful it may be to people experiencing poor mental health, then go on to talk about the partnership working that they are exploring to help improve the mental wellbeing of the local community through various Arts projects.

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Certified Mail

After her husband is sent to prison following a mistake at work, Hala is left alone to deal with depression and suicidal thoughts while caring for her young baby.

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Clydesider Creative Online Open Mic Night

A collaboration between several local organisations and individuals to provide a positive virtual space to share creativity in

poetry and prose.

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Coping In Covid

We will be producing a series of videos for public consumption based around mental health and covids impact on the creative industry, education and discussing the ‘new norm’.

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Dance the Blues Away!

Join us for an end of Festival Zumba dance party to celebrate the month, with Bishopton’s very own George @zumbabishopton.

Dance the Blues Away image

Open to all fitness levels and so much fun for all ages, bring a daft hat to join the party and dance the lockdown blues away!

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Dead Souls' Vacation

An absurd, intimate slice of post-Soviet life, this documentary chronicles the relationship between a once popular Georgian musician and his elderly mother.

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DOCMA: Filmmaking Workshop

A 'DOCMA' is a 5-minute documentary film made by 5 filmmakers in 5 different documentary styles. It’s also a game - designed to get your creative juices flowing! Roles and tasks are determined by lottery, and filmmakers must adhere to a set of rules: The DOCMA Commandments.

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A selection of short films produced through a new enterprise, FilmMedicine, which supports postgrad students from any and every background throughout the University of Edinburgh to make documentaries that explore illness and health.

The films have one thing in common – they bring a fresh eye to our understanding of illnesses of the body and mind, and a visual energy to recovery or acceptance.

The films are now available to watch online below, prior to a panel discussion chaired by director Amy Hardie from FilmMedicine on Wed 19 May at 5pm. The panel includes student filmmakers Marta Massa, Eilidh Munro, Shalhavit Simcha Cohen, Eleni Evangeliou, Emily Beaney, Mai Tran and Saul Pankhurst

They will discuss how they chose their subject, the process of filmmaking, and their aims of increasing wellbeing and resilience through documentary filmmaking. Book your place for the Q&A here.

Watch the Films

Click on the images below to view each film.

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Gathering for Gatherers

What does it mean to be together, why do we gather and how do we do so in a way that truly serves everybody who is present?

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Identity Through Poetry

New and established poets will share their poems themed around CHIME & Normality? and members of the Ayrshire poetry group Write Lines will read their poems.

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Imagined Bodies Circus Film - Premiere Event

Dance, juggling, acrobatics, theatre and filmography come together to make Imagined Bodies a vibrant and explorative series of contemporary circus performances.

Responding to months of social isolation during the lockdowns, and increased focus on body image, the work is based around the insidious, everyday negative thoughts people experience in relation to their physical bodies. Imagined Bodies explores the opposing forces of body appearance verses body capability. It exposes tensions between expectation and self-esteem, self discipline and compassion.

The creative idea for this film is embedded in the core values of Think Circus. Founder Kat Borrowdale discovered, through lived experience, that circus can be a powerful catalyst for changing negative attitudes about body image and self-worth. “Our vision is a supportive, connected society where all humans are incredible and equally celebrated”. Curious, non-judgemental and good-humoured, Circus is an ideal medium to express our internal thoughts.

Imagined Bodies

Join us for the official premiere of the Imagined Bodies circus film!

This will be the first ever public viewing of the film, and will be followed by a panel discussion with director Roanna Davidson, lead artist Kat Borrowdale and filmmaker Paul Maguire.

We hope to share some insight into the creative process when working remotely, devising circus for screen and the exploration of our relationships with our bodies. The research for undertaken prior to this project highly influenced the process, if you would like to find out more you can visit the Think Circus blog or subscribe to our YouTube channel to see the interviews as they are released.

Think Circus

We use social circus to improve lives through play and connection.

Our small team of performers, facilitators and creators is based in Leith, Scotland. We are brought together by a belief that playfulness, connection and quality are really important and have been collectively creating circus for over a decade.

Our vision is a supportive, connected society where all humans are seen as incredible and equally celebrated.

Since Think Circus CIC began in 2017, we have delivered workshops and shows across Scotland with over 4,000 participants. We love collaborating with local and national organisations such as YMCA, LGBT Youth, the National Trust, the Greenspace Trust and Sustrans. Our proudest achievement has been delivering our regular programmes to women, young people and families in Leith, where neighbouring areas to our teaching venue are found in the bottom decile of the SIMD.

Funded by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland

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International Film Awards

Join us for a special online event to celebrate the very best submissions to our International Film Competition, hosted by Gail Porter.

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I’ll Be Your Mirror

Filmmaker and artist Johanna Faust goes on a journey to understand her identity as a mother and an artist against a family history of bipolar disorder.

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Judy Versus Capitalism

Lyrical documentary by Mike Hoolboom, recounting radical feminist Judy Rebick’s experiences as an activist and living with a divided self.

Content notes: Discussion of violence against women, discussion of childhood sexual abuse, discussion of weight loss

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Love Bound: Families, Young People & Mental Illness

Two raw and compelling documentaries highlighting the challenges parents and families face in supporting young people with severe mental illness, both award-winners at SMHAF 2021.

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After decades spent isolated in a psychiatric institution, this heartfelt documentary follows a group of people as they readjust to normality.

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Screen Test

A workshop focusing on interactive exercises for curious creative practitioners, with a view to exploring the future of made-for-screen pieces.

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Short Films: Grief

Grief takes many forms, and we all experience it, process it, and live with it in different ways. These short films explore the impact that grief has on our mental health.

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Short Films: Lived Experience

Personal experiences with mental health problems inspired each of these shorts, ranging from animation and experimental film to documentary and drama.

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Short Films: Nature

The theme for Mental Health Awareness Week is Nature and we are marking the occasion with a selection of short films which explore the relationship between nature, mental health and wellbeing.

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Short Films: Normality? I

What is normality? These short films explore how our daily lives and mental health are influenced by sexuality, neurodiversity, body image and long-term health conditions.

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Short Films: Normality? II

What is normality? By turns experimental, surreal, and uncanny, these diverse international short films how mental ill health and the factors that contribute to it can become normalised in society.

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Six Word Stories

An opportunity to learn how to get creative in six words and use this idea to explore ideas of normality and mental health.

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SMHAF Writing Awards

Join us for a live online ceremony to celebrate the winners and shortlisted entries from the SMHAF Writing Competition.

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Songs from the Other Side

Join Fuora Dance Project Artistic Director, Giulia Montalbano, for a free online creative wellness session, designed to explore how to manage feelings of stress, anxiety and being overwhelmed, using different art forms and therapeutic practises.

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Supporting Mental Health Through Cultural Connections

What’s the role of cultural activities to connect and support mental health? How has it adapted over the last year, and how can small community activities support a return to “normality” and support “re-entry anxiety”? And linking to the ongoing Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival theme, what (and whose) normality do we mean anyway?

Join us for our next lunchtime Culture and Wellbeing Live discussion. We’ll be joined by three speakers sharing their perspectives including:

  • Juliet Ridgway (Midlothian Libraries) sharing the role of libraries over the last year as key community anchors and how interventions such as Reading Aloud and bibliotherapy can support mental health
  • Sophie Bridger (Eden Project Communities Scotland) on learning from the changing boundaries around the Big Lunch - sharing food and eating with neighbours - and the role it can play moving forward with the month of community including the Big Lunch itself
  • Ailsa Villegas (NHS Highland, Think Health Think Nature) on the role of green spaces, links to NHS and including their current Green Health Week and how culture can continue to grow outdoors.
  • And it will be chaired by Lewis Hou (Science Ceilidh, Fun Palaces) who will feed in his experiences with Fun Palaces Scotland TV, Tiny Revolutions and programmes like the Ideas Fund.

We will then open up to questions and discussion on the live video directly and all are welcome to share their experiences, thoughts and projects and make connections.

How to Attend

  • To watch and comment, you must join the Culture and Wellbeing Facebook group from 1pm. This is also being livestreamed from the @FunPalacesScot Twitter account.
  • Facebook will being autocaptioning the live-stream.
  • This event is public, and we champion a kind and inclusive space and will moderate accordingly.

Finally, click here if you would like to join our mailing list, and feedback on these sessions & ideas for future, your comments on our reflection would be most appreciated!
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Towards a Mental Health Arts Network

The Mental Health Foundation, in partnership with See Me, is developing a new Mental Health Arts Network. A nationwide, peer-to-peer support network, it will bring together people who work in the arts and mental health to share knowledge, experience and resources.

With support from the Baring Foundation we are planning a year of activity to begin building our network.

Join us for a series of provocations and discussions and add your voice to the conversation.

Earlier in the day we are also hosting Gathering for Gatherers, an online workshop celebrating the culmination of a month-long remote residency in which SMHAF Associate Artist Emma Jayne Park will bring together people whose work is focussed on the importance of gathering to discuss different ways of belonging, sharing and being in a community.

Gathering for Gatherers is our first public event under the Mental Health Arts Network banner and is funded by Creative Scotland.

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