Afro Art Lab’s Fadzai Mwakutuya, invites you to an online conversation with Professor Dixon Chibanda of the Friendship Bench.

The discussion will be centered on the idea that alternative practices and ways of thinking can contribute to our wellness and tackle mental health stigma, in Scotland’s communities both rural and urban, which are home to people of many different backgrounds and nationalities. 

Fadzai is an artist living in the Scottish Highlands, who previously lived in the city of Edinburgh, and Dixon Chibanda is a psychiatrist and the founder and CEO of the Friendship Bench, living in Zimbabwe.

As a migrant artist living in the UK, creativity has been my method of coping with exclusion, and intersectional strongholds of migration.  This event was an opportunity to connect a diverse voice, Professor Dixon Chibanda, in mental health advocacy.

I look forward to exploring inclusive ways to encourage interaction in the arts for wellbeing and promoting a culture centered ethos in mental health advocacy. Revolutionary, tackling mental health stigma, encouraging a creative reflective and informed process as we integrate community differences and embrace commonalities.

Fadzai Mwakutuya
Professor Dixon Chibanda standing with arms crossed in a black T-shirt

Professor Dixon Chibanda

Dixon is the founder and CEO of the Friendship Bench programme, a form of talk therapy based on principles of CBT, delivered by trained community grandmothers on wooden park benches across Zimbabwe and beyond. To date, over 350,000 people have received therapy from community grandmothers sitting on wooden park benches across Zimbabwe.

Find out more about the Friendship Bench on its website or follow the project on X, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. You can donate to the project at JustGiving.

Follow Dixon Chibanda on X or LinkedIn.

Fadzai Mwakutuya,‘ Fudge’,

Fadzai is a professional visual artist, and creative educator, working with imagery and messages that demonstrate inclusivity to re-imagine stories that inform our vibrant multicultural communities. Her art practice advocates for and is passionate about, promoting arts and culture in rural spaces especially for older artists, with ‘hospitality’ a key feature. Her educational creative practice, Afroartlab, embodies many themes and methodology that tackle intersectional barriers to inclusion.

Her artifact, Gogos Bench, submitted for the, Out of Sight, Out of Mind Exhibition, 2023, is a heartfelt iteration, after many years of following and admiring the work of the Friendship Bench project based in her country or origin, Zimbabwe.

Find out more about her work on her website, Climate Change Creative website, and on LinkedIn.

Image: Ewan Bush

This event is supported by Afroartlab, the Friendship Bench, CAPS Independent Advocacy and Thrive Edinburgh, as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival programme.

AfroArtLab Logo
Friendship Bench Logo
CAPS Independent Advocacy Logo
Thrive Edinburgh Logo


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