'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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A Breath of Fresh Air

A Breath of Fresh Air is a series of creative painting and writing workshops, taking place in quiet outdoor locations in north-east Edinburgh.

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A Breeze of Good Fortune

Tannahill Makar Brian Whittingham looks at the life of Paisley poet Robert Tannahill and the impact that Tannahill’s lifelong mental health problems had on his work.

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A community event showcasing a range of artistic work spanning multiple disciplines, shared by people and groups aiming to raise awareness of mental ill health and challenge stigma.

Entry to the exhibition at all venues is FREE. 

For more information about A Celebration of Creativity in Angus, please contact Sheila Newcombe or visit the Facebook page:

01241 829 214, [email protected]


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A Dance Class for Body & Mind

Join Lottie from Clifftop Projects for an hour of gentle movement for the body and the mind.

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Hosted by Befrienders Highland and Mikey's Line.

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A Day in the Life - creative workshop

Join STAR Project for a creative workshop that will explore the theme of ‘Normality?’. Get crafty and create a personalised mood board that captures your unique experience of the past year. This workshop will reflect on the different ways of coping with change and will explore how we move forward to find a sense of ‘normal’.



@STARproPaisley https://twitter.com/STARprojPaisley/status/1009362253785772032

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Images of 15 windows combine to create a self-reflective, partly guided, pilgrimage experience. Step back through the years and journey across different themes, tracing a pattern of connections.

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Sunart Film Club presents the recent remake of A Star is Born, starring Lady Gaga.

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Muriel MacKenzie takes stock. Activism, anxiety, avocados? It’s all in the mix for this opinionated empty-nester. 

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Come and share an afternoon of magical stories for all the family in our friendly pub.

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Agnieszka Narloch: We will celebrate each of the scars

An artwork, using collage, paint and poetry, related to the artist’s experience of mental health and the mad movement.

“I have been living with a mental health condition for nearly a decade. My journey of recovery includes artwork and writing poetry, as the creative process helps me to accept my condition and to affirm my self-esteem.

I would like my artwork to challenge stigma around mental health as well as to offer hope to persons going through similar difficulties. I believe that everything happens for a reason.

The most difficult events in our lives can be transformed into a gift. This gift can help us to become fully human, fully ourselves and fully connected with the miracle of life. The artwork I prepared for SMHAF is a collage in which I used fragments of my paintings and verses of my poem.”

Find Agnieszka Narloch on Facebook


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See Me Scotland presents work from a range of visual artists that encourage dialogue to end mental health stigma and discrimination.

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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.

see me

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The latest film by Jack Bond (Dali in New York, The Blue-Black Hussar), An Artist’s Eyes explores what drives Chris Moon to paint, despite his perpetual anxiety and depression.

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Following another sell-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe, Angela Barnes is back with her brand new show Rose-Tinted. With stand up and stories, Angela is trying, really trying, to look on the bright side of life.

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An exhibition showcasing varied artworks produced through a series of workshops to promote wellbeing through walking in nature and developing creative responses. Through photography and painting, community members of the Social Bite Village will experiment with the theme of Connected.

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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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Artful Meander

Follow an open-access walking route around the perimeters of Leverndale Hospital to view art displays created by the hospital community. Access a map of the walk and related activities on Facebook or by email. 

Participants are requested to follow Covid-19 guidance regarding travel and meeting with people outdoors. The route will be filmed and made available on Facebook for those unable to attend. 

#ArtfulMeander #MeanderForMentalHealth

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As part of TH.CARS2, this exhibition of woven textiles has been made by a group of participants from the STAR Project, Phoenix Activity Group, RAMH, InCube, the DRC, and KAIROS with support from Glasgow Clyde College weaving tutor Amy Bond.

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As part of TH.CARS2, join professional weaver Amy Bond for a drop-in weaving workshop.

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Drop in to try a variety of arts and craft activities designed to promote positive mental health and improve wellbeing. These will include a postcard exhibition, silent disco, Food for Mood and the Connected:Moray map. Your chance to connect with the SMHAF in Moray team, meet with local creatives and learn new skills!

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Music and dance performance by various artists.

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Awareness Walks

Mental health organisations get together to walk a mile to raise awareness of mental health.

In Inverness, the annual SMHAF Walk A Mile will be taking place in accordance with Covid 19 guidelines. It will go along the usual route from the Fishermen’s Hut and finish at the High Street to raise awareness of mental health.

It will be led by N4H, Mikeysline and The Clay Studio, we hope to be joined by representatives of Befrienders Highland, HUG and Creativity In Care.

In Tongue, join members of the Tongue Walking Group on this two-mile walk from the Kyle Centre to Castle Varrich to raise awareness of mental health. A relaxing walk in beautiful scenery.

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Performances by several bands, including those who have used music as a way to manage difficulties with mental health and addiction.

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An exhibition about be-longing! Longing to be! We all need to belong to have a close connection with others and to be accepted just as we are.

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Gather your friends and join us for the grand opening with art, food, music and our inaugural Community Awards ceremony, recognising volunteers who make a difference.

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Based on the best-selling pair of memoirs from father and son David and Nic Sheff, Beautiful Boy chronicles the heartbreaking and inspiring experience of survival, relapse and recovery in a family coping with addiction over many years.

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We are members of the LGBTQ community who have come together in Glasgow to communicate about our experiences with mental health. This exhibition, in collaboration with LGBT Health and Wellbeing, explores what belonging looks like for us and why it is important. Come and take part in the conversation.

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Between the Lines

CL Gamble is a disabled, non binary artist living in Dundee. They were diagnosed with ADHD and Autism in their late 30s and explore their experiences through creativity. A confirmed "medium agnostic", C has worked with graphic design, textiles, sculpture and more.

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A showcase of talents and skills from workshops and group activities within the Sunshine Recovery Café.

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Centrestage Gospel Choir opens the door to anyone who would like to experience the joy of singing together, regardless of experience or age.

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Please Note: This event has been cancelled.

40 (ish) sexy (ish), musical (ish), Bipolar (ish) - no she is definitely Bipolar. Australian singing sex-pot comedian Amanda Jane Pritchard tackles and tickles with songs and stories in this new show written specifically for this year's Festival. (Insert review). Oh hang on, there are some rather good reviews.

‘Amanda isn’t afraid of the dark corners. In fact, she tickles it until we all piss ourselves laughing!‘ – Nick @edfringe

‘OMFG !!!! This bitch is NUTS …… I could not stop laughing. Non Stop Brilliance A MUST SEE! – Terri @edfringe

‘This is one funny lady …. Amanda is the female answer to Kevin Bloody Wilson …… very funny, hilarious songs we were singing one on the train home lol . A Must See !‘ – Sally @edfringe

“I saw Amanda in Melbourne and fell in love” – Hamish (in Melbourne) via his friend Mark (in Edinburgh) on instagram

“@_amanda_jane you were FAB!” – Wendy Harmer, legendary Australian comedian, Broadcaster, ABC Sydney

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Explore the wood and pick out a birch tree that you can relate to. Does it match your style, personality or body shape? Why not capture it with pastels? 

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Blackout Poetry

Blackout Poetry gives you the opportunity to create by removing words from any printed text to change its meaning.

In this workshop, CL Gamble will introduce you to the blackout poetry method which was used to create their artwork Between The Lines. Blocking out certain words creates new meanings we are in control of. Poetry emerges through a process of elimination, paring down the text until it is transformed into something new.

Follow CL Gamble on Instagram.

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A music and drama performance developed by the Elevat8 group, with food and plenty of chat.

This event is free and open to all. If you wish, there will be an optional opportunity to make a donation to support the work of the recovery group.


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Join Renfrewshire’s award winning The Buddy Beat for a morning of rhythm and wellbeing.

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Cancelled: Be, Rise, Move, Dance

Please note that this event has been cancelled. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. 

Through breathing, visualisation, and meditative exercises, this interactive dance experience will encourage you to use your feelings and explore how movement feels to create your own improvised dance.

After a year of being away from physical contact, and some may find a lack of confidence in our own bodies. It is important that as lockdown restrictions lift, we take the small steps to go back into the everyday life, but it is crucial that we listen to our bodies and find ways to move with one another again.

During the session, facilitator Marie Williamson will guide the participants through breathing, visualisation, and meditative exercises to encourage participants to use their feelings to create their own movements. Each task will have a physical element and build on the last. These tasks help to find conscious ways to move without thinking about the overall aesthetic of movement. Towards the end of the workshop, she will encourage and guide a full body improvisational dance.

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Unfortunately, this event has been postponed until later this year. Please see Speaking (Aloud) Allowed for more storytelling from CAPS Independent Advocacy. 

This event is led by the Scottish Storytelling Forum, supported and guided by CAPS.

Follow the Scottish Storytelling Forum and Scottish Storytelling Centre on Twitter.


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A screening of Careless, Catriona Taylor's creative documentary, which explores the story of Evie Douglas and looks at mental health services for young people. The screening will be followed by a Q&A, with food provided by Northern Soul Kitchen.

Careless is about the pressures that young people feel today, and how they can cause mental health issues. Evie completed suicide in 2014, and her story, recounted by her mother Freda, provides the throughline of the film's narrative. Around this central narrative the film tells the stories of Rob, Helen, Ashling, Erin, Natasha, Lily, Jamie, Connor and Emma, all of whom have suffered from acute mental health issues. They talk directly about what they have faced, and what has helped them find balance again.

Interspersed with these stories are a number of interviews with health and educational professionals including Alexis Hesketh from Papyrus, Professor Rory O’Connor Head of the Suicide Laboratory at Gartnavel Hospital, Glasgow and radical educationalist Sir Anthony Seldon. The film also features the Tartan Explorer Josh Quigley, who survived a suicide attempt and has gone on to travel the world to tell his story.

With imaginatively diverse imagery, the film also features a compelling soundtrack by Rob Macneacail.

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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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The Changing Minds mental health group invite you to our drop-in session to tell you more about our group over tea and sandwiches. All in a safe space with a friendly group of people affected by mental health.

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Children's Rights and the Creative Arts Sector

How can creative arts practitioners that work with children support the implementation of the UNCRC?  Join us to find out!
About this event

This year  Scotland will incorporate children’s human rights as outlined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into Scots law. 

The aim of this event, in partnership with Children’s Parliament and Youth Theatre Arts Scotland,  is to bring together practitioners in children’s human rights and  Creative Arts to consider, at this opportune moment, how we can draw connections between these two important fields of practice and to consider the significance of children’s human rights for the field of Creative Arts. 

The webinar will comprise a short introduction to the event and the Year of Childhood, an input from each of the three panellists, and a facilitated Q&A session with input from the audience. 

We are delighted to be joined by

Virginia Radcliffe, Artistic Director/Chief Executive at Licketyspit

Rebekah Corbett, Community Arts Coordinator at PEEK Project

Helen Mill, Executive Director at The Village Storytelling Centre

The webinar will be facilitated by Dr Susan Elsley, an independent writer and policy analyst on children’s human rights. Susan is Chairperson of Craigmillar Literacy Trust, and previously Chair of Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights). She has been a trustee of Play Scotland, and many other charities.

This webinar will be hosted live on Zoom.

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Join Lynne O'Neill at Vocal Spark to connect to your voice to enhance mental wellbeing, with songs from around the globe, not forgetting Burns! Zentangle will also give you the chance to use art and mindful meditation to help you relax and focus.  

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CHIME Creative Café

In partnership with Impact Arts and North Ayrshire Recovery College, join in with this series of CHIME themed workshops with artist Katie Lowe, who has a BA in Metalwork and Jewellery.

Booking is essential and materials will either be provided or will be easily available within your own home.

Katie is branching out into painting, drawing, illustrating, and has an interest in creating large scale and public artwork. Katie has developed community arts activities around self-expression and using collective pieces to create bigger installations. Katie is looking forward to hosting the workshops and encouraging creativity.

Follow Katie on Instagram.

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CHIME to Recover: Back to Normality?

North Ayrshire Recovery College are hosting a week of events around the theme of CHIME, things that support mental health recovery and wellbeing.

Students of North Ayrshire Wellbeing & Recovery College have been working over several months to produce photos, poems, paintings, and percussion pieces linked to CHIME.

Short films featuring CHIME images and poems will be released each day, created by videographer John Caldwell.

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CHIME to Recover: Back to Normality? Poster Exhibition

A series of large posters depicting photographs and poems linked to the five CHIME themes, aimed at engaging the public in a conversation about how they can increase their connectedness, hope, identity, meaning and empowerment.

Exhibitions will be displayed on railings across five North Ayrshire towns: Largs, Beith, Ardrossan, Irvine and Kilwinning.

They will also be placed in every Job Centre window across North Ayrshire and in cafes and shop windows in various towns.

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This concert by acclaimed harpist Rachel Hair brings modern and traditional music to elevate the atmosphere of the Royal Alexandra Hospital.

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A series of clay pieces will be created in an open workshop setting, with drop-in taster sessions. Visitors can experience throwing on the potter’s wheel and complete a simple project in hand-building with clay. Booking essential for the workshop.

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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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Collective Creativity at Leverndale

People in the hospital community will create work with the intention of sending hope and friendship to each other, despite being unable to come together.

Due to recent Covid-19 restrictions, the hospital community has been unable to meet and create in the Recreational Therapy Department. This has always been an important part of recovery and has been greatly missed over the past year.

The main part of this exhibition will be the Flags of Friendship project. Inspired by a Buddhist tradition, small flags created by people on the Leverndale site will be displayed in outside spaces, each with their own message of hope and friendship.

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A great opportunity to try Circle Dancing in Paisley. Circle Dancing is a collection of dances and music from around the world. Some of the dances are traditional and some are choreographed. The dances have a wide variety of form and mood, from slow and meditative to the frankly energetic and celebratory but all are inclusive and welcoming for people of all ages. Come along to this introductory session, give it a try and if you enjoy it you can join in the weekly classes in the same venue.

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They say that laughter is the best medicine, so why not come along and connect with our Comedy Cafés?

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Contact Point Art Group hosts a day of creative activities, featuring a music workshop, original spoken word performances, an arts and crafts stall and an exhibition of new work.

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Includes An Open Door, winner of the Community Award at SMHAF 2019. Followed by a Q&A with filmmakers and documentary subjects, including An Open Door director Aoise Tutty. 

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Create a life-sized self-portrait or impression using woodland materials within a cone outline of your body. 

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At Leverndale, we connect meaningfully in creative pursuits with community partners, volunteers and artists to produce hopeful, meaningful and interesting collaborative art. This year’s event celebrates how we connect to art and how art connects us to others and our environment.

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Connect: Making Music Despite Covid-19

Join musician Michelle Connolly and fellow musicians, as she launches her album Selah and shares the beautiful reflective music she has created during lockdown. Featured artists include Tim Brown and Karen Henderson.

Michelle is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Ayrshire. She has been involved in music since her early teens and has refined her craft and developed an ear for songwriting and composing.

Michelle is also a community musician and facilitates the North Ayrshire Recovery College drumming group ‘Drum 4 UR Life’. She released her first instrumental album Dileas in 2019. Join her for the launch of Selah and hear from Michelle about the background and development of the pieces.

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A new exhibition of work by artists from across the Highlands, celebrating connections and creativity for mental health.

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Acoustic live music and singing in Whin Park, Inverness, brought to you by Creativity in Care, Befrienders Highland and Mikey’s Line.

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These open mic nights on mental health and the theme of Connected will highlight the work of local poets, writers and musicians.

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The launch of SMHAF 2019 in the Highlands.

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Connecting with Nature & Environment

Artist Jon Stevenson believes everyone has an inner artist and has encouraged students of North Ayrshire Wellbeing & Recovery College to draw on theirs.

Jon has curated this amazing and diverse exhibition, which can be viewed on the Harbour Arts Centre Facebook page and at North Ayrshire Wellbeing & Recovery College website.

Image by Kerry Elliot.

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Exhibition by artists from Contact Point, highlighting the importance of people making connections in their communities and how this helps to improve mental wellbeing.

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Conversations For Change

Is mental health a difficult topic for everyday conversation in 2021?

During this evening with Conversations for Change - a public art project about mental health that took place in 2015, in a world quite different to the one we live in now – take part in a shared discussion based on this key question.

You will have the option to be posted a newly launched pack of printed material which celebrates the 2015 project before the event.

Find out more about the project here.

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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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Create Café is a free safe creative space for 12-21-year olds to express themselves through music or art and connect with friends.

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Creative Café from Your Couch: Nature & Normality

Clydesider’s Creative Café From Your Couch is an online festival, free for anyone to enjoy.

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A series of creative workshops for participants to learn musical skills to promote wellbeing.

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Creative Nature for Wellbeing

A series of workshops exploring the connection between our mental health and our relationship with nature.

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Creative Writing for Wellbeing

Facilitated by writer Helen Boden on Zoom, these creative writing workshops are opportunities to try out a variety of approaches to writing about nature and the theme of ‘Normality?’.

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A family event where everyone helps create community art.

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A no-dialogue physical theatre piece exploring Alzheimer's and the struggles faced by the sufferer and their loved ones as they try to remain connected. 

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Come and join the Centrestage Actors Company for a hilarious and moving romp back in time to World War 2. Featuring a live episode from the iconic hit sitcom Dads Army. Songs, sketches and surprises galore.

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Join the Renfrewshire Carers Centre for a gentle dance fitness session that connects diverse movements, great music and good vibes. Suitable for all levels and abilities.

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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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Dawn Chorus

Tuning in with the waking chorus of birds is quite a special thing to do!

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A day of discussions, presentations and workshops that consider, question and reflect upon failure.

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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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Open youth drop-in space aiming to promote mental health awareness and empower young people to maintain their own positive mental health.

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A rare opportunity to view the photography of Patrick Keast, giving an extraordinary insight into the recovery journey. By focusing on the people and the sights that we often walk by, his work challenges preconceptions about those who are excluded and dispossessed.

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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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Includes Model Childhood, winner of Best Personal Narrative, and Asylum, winner of the Voices of Experience Award, at SMHAF 2019. Followed by a Q&A with fillmmakers, including Tim Mercier and Jefta Varwijk. 

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Doing it Our Way is a day of conversation, performance and art that brings together the voices of North Ayrshire and Arran’s mental health community. Discussions will be centered around a piece of theatre that explores local people’s lived experiences of the fine line between mental health and mental illness. 

The Involved! Group and AIMS Advocacy commissioned, playwrights and theatre makers, Mariem Omari and Mark Jeary, to create this new piece of work. Mariem and Mark have been working with a group of people using mental health services in North Ayrshire and Arran for over six months to develop a piece of theatre based on their stories. 

A testament to the power of creative expression, the group have developed confidence and performance skills, along with exploring self-management techniques that they can use in their everyday lives. Participants have been sharing their stories in a creative way, and questioning what challenges they have overcome to get to this place in their recovery journey.

This project is funded through Self Management Fund for Scotland which is administered by the Health and Social Care Alliance supported by a grant from the Scottish Government.

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Join other gaming enthusiasts in the Festival Hub for two afternoons of board game workshops. A range of fun and strategy games will be on offer, with enthusiasts at hand to introduce you to new, exciting worlds. With Renfrewshire Libraries gaming groups.  

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DOTI North: Mental Health - powered by Snook

Design On The Inside is back in Glasgow. This time, as part of Mental Health Awareness Week, DOTI North is focusing on service design for mental health.

Today, mental health problems cause a bigger impact than tuberculosis, cancer, or heart disease. The world is standing up to take on the challenge of designing products and services that address the growing issue of mental health and wellbeing. We will discuss how service providers and charitable organisations in Scotland are using design within their organisations to address their Mental Health challenges.

We are thrilled to have a fantastic lineup of speakers, so far they include:

Trevor Lakey - Health Improvement and Inequalities Manager at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde | @SyneDrum
Mark MacMillan - Head of Corporate Services at Kibble
Anne Dhir - Project Director at Snook | @brightkaos

We will also hear from a mother who will share her personal experience of supporting a child through mental health services around the UK.

We look forward to seeing you on May 17th for a morning of discussion, networking and learnings.

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Featuring I Love You, Best Short Drama winner at SMHAF 2019. Followed by a Q&A with fillmmakers, including Victoria Thompson.

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Try your hand at this traditional craft, find out what a 'niddy-noddy' is, and learn about Kirky's textile history!

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Connect with the sounds of nature on a short tour of the islands, including hot chocolate and stories around the fire. Suitable for all ages.

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Edinburgh Mad Jam Open Mic

Join our friendly wee community online for an evening of entertainment, friendliness and blether.

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A series of readings from the May issue of Eildon Tree magazine, which publishes new creative writing from the Borders and beyond.

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by Wildcard Theatre

Winner, Mental Health Fringe Award 2018

‘We are a blip. A speck of dust.
To be wiped off the face of time
like you might a bike chain's rust.
But to each of us,
we are everything'

Follow Jessie through gigs, parties, city streets and warehouses, journeying from Leeds to London, on a quest to find her mother.

Electrolyte is a multi-award winning piece of gig theatre that powerfully explores mental health for a contemporary audience. Written in spoken word poetry and underscored by original music ranging from “blasts of sound to lyrical sweetness” (★★★★★ The Scotsman), this exhilarating and powerful show is performed by six multi-instrumentalists who seamlessly integrate live music with expert storytelling.

Electrolyte won the 2018 Mental Health Fringe Award, a prize founded by the Mental Health Foundation in recognition of the most outstanding show exploring mental health at the Edinburgh Fringe. It also won The Stepladder Award, The LET Award, The Voice Mag Pick of The Fringe Award and the Pleasance Best Newcomer Award 2018. 

We are delighted to welcome Electrolyte back to Scotland for a week of dates as part of a two-month tour of the UK and Ireland, also supported by the Mental Health Foundation.

Electrolyte’s dates at the Tron Theatre are presented in association with Mayfesto.

There will be post-show discussions on Tuesday 14 May and Wednesday 15 May.

Hear the cast and crew talk about mental health and the making of the production in this video.

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Embodying Nature

Enjoy a creative and relaxing afternoon in the woodland of Balerno! Creativeflow Arts and the Planetary Healing Centre invite you to connect with nature through the creative process.

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Empowerment Through Story & Song

A Zoom event with discussions and performances by special guests.

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An informal work in progress sharing of Epic Fail, the latest performance from SMHAF Associate Artist Emma Jayne Park. You are invited to laugh, applaud, support and commiserate with a group of highly skilled performers who are destined to fail!

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Followed by a discussion by Claire Coia and Tony Lewis from the Open Museum and Dr Cheryl McGeachan from the University of Glasgow about the Art Extraordinary collection and Scottish outsider art. 

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Winner of the Anti-Stigma Award at SMHAF 2019. Followed by a Skype Q&A with Orlando von Einsiedel.

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Everyone’s Normal, Until You Get to Know Them

This primary school poetry competition will focus on P1-7 pupils’ understanding of ‘normality’. Poems will be produced as a booklet and showcased at an online reading and awards event.

MADE4UINML2 will work in partnership with local primary schools to allow children across the ML2 area to think about their experiences of normality and submit a poem around the topic. Submissions should be sent by email by Tue 11 May.

Poems will be showcased in a booklet and on social media, including the MADE4UINML2 Facebook page.

Awards will be presented in various categories, including most thoughtful poem and most creative poem, during an online premiere on Facebook Live, which will also feature readings of the poems.

Please email to enquire about the submission process or to submit work.

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Join us to work together to create a visual mindmap, exploring what being Connected means to people.

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Artist Jamie King has produced portraits of homeless people in Edinburgh, painted from photographs taken with agreement from each individual. Jamie's experiences with mental ill health and schizophrenia give him the drive to paint.

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Join us in exploring the role that faith and spirituality have in promoting or maintaining mental health and how connections within faith communities can provide hope for the future.

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What are children communicating about their inner worlds through mess, slime and potions? We explore mess making, presenting case studies and exploring attachment theory through our current work with children and young people in our Kinnections programme. Led by Drama Therapist Sarah Bradley and Art Therapist Liz Young.

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Aimed at engaging young minds in mental health matters, these short films explore wellbeing, worries and emotions in creative and colourful ways.

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Fantastic Animal “Alebrije” Making

An online workshop to make Alebrijes, fantastical and colorful animals from a Mexican tradition.

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In March 2019, FEELS Exhibition has made emotions come alive, over two days in Teviot Dining Room, the University of Edinburgh. Over 250 audiences experienced the magic. (See Video)

This May! FEELS Exhibition is BACK as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival 2019! The exhibition will be upgraded in the bright and airy gallery space at Edinburgh Palette.

Hosted in a creative space to celebrate emotions, this exhibition features abstract feelings coming to life as you see, hear, touch and engage with them. There will also be talks, workshops to foster conversation and dialogue about emotional wellbeing. Topics range from Film and Consciousness, Art-based Experiential Workshop, Experiential Creative Painting, Mono-printing to Creative Mindfulness!

Detailed Programme  




Venue (In Edinburgh Palette)

25th May (Sat)


Exhibition Opening Ceremony

Gallery 2 (Third Floor)

26th May (Sun)


Paint, Skin, Connection Workshop: Relating Without Words

The Drawing Room (Third Floor)


Creative Printing

Gallery 2 (Third Floor)


Interaction Beyond Data: Creative Mindfulness

G5 Education Space (Ground Floor)

29th May (Wed)


Art-Based Experiential Workshop: Different Colours Connect Together

Gallery 2 (Third Floor)


Mind the Screen: Film and Consciousness

G5 Education Space (Ground Floor)

30th May (Thur)


Closing Ceremony

Gallery 2 (Third Floor)

Let's allow creativity, imagination, thoughts and emotions flow, interact and explode! Come and feel the creative power of emotions at Edinburgh Palette!

20190515 SMHAF Exhibition Programme Poster

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Comedian and chef Hardeep Singh Kohli hosts our Festival Fundraising Dinner, with proceeds going to local mental health organisations.

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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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SMHAF is delighted to be supporting the Scotland-wide release of Final Ascent: The Legend of Hamish MacInnes, with Q&As at CCA, Filmhouse, An Lanntair and Eden Court, and screenings across the country. 

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SMHAF is delighted to be supporting the Scotland-wide release of Final Ascent: The Legend of Hamish MacInnes, including hosting discussions with director Robbie Fraser at CCA, Filmhouse, An Lanntair and Eden Court.

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Find your Centre with Mandala Bean Art and Meditation

Make your mandala with colourful beans and quiet the mind with meditation and creative visualisation. Find your focus and concentration with creativity to flow throughout your new life.

A mandala is a circle that becomes a container to hold your ideas and emotions. In this workshop, you will create your own personal mandala with different beans according to your imagination.

This workshop will take place on Zoom. It will begin with a relaxing meditation with a crystal and incense to quiet the mind and find the right focus and concentration to realise a mandala. As you work, Giada will introduce and explain the history, process and meaning of mandalas in a very easy way, from nature to religion, to art and more, showing incredible pictures of mandalas in the world.

When you are driving your attention to a specific task, you become completely absorbed. This is exactly like meditation: you are concentrated in the actual moment. This opens your doors to relaxation and deeper access to your creative soul.

The gesture of “making” makes you happy and proud, as self-expression can help to let go of negative thoughts and experiences. If you are balanced within yourself, you can bring the right energy to your everyday life, and the concept of “normality” simply becomes the beautiful flow of the different happenings that do not have the power to influence you, when you are centred.

When your work is completed, you will be guided through a creative visualisation to reconnect with your inner centre, and you will be asked to choose three beans and plant them with some cotton and water in front of your window at home and watch them germinate and grow. They will be your new seeds for the next months.

Materials, including beans, a crystal and incense, will be posted by mail to attendees living in Edinburgh. Bookings are accepted until one week prior to the event date to allow for shipment.

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As part of TH.CARS2, a daylong exploratory workshop for beginners and refreshers in hand knitting led by professional knitter Rosie Little.

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Artist in Residence, Jim Buchanan, will be demonstrating the mental health benefits of labyrinth creation. These are creative workshops, aimed to increase confidence and wellbeing. No previous knowledge of labyrinths required. #FindingYourself

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Artist Jim Buchanan will be creating a labyrinth of light for people to walk and practice mindfulness.

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It’s World Labyrinth Day, when people from across the world join together to walk labyrinths. STAR Project are inviting you to walk their outdoor, temporary labyrinth in Fountain Gardens and Walk as One at 1pm as part of their #FindingYourself project.

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Fitting In?

An installation in Porty Lightbox, a telephone box converted to an art space, in which members of the Gypsy/Traveller community explore the impact of not fitting into mainstream categories of normality or shared experience.

Often vilified and aggressively marginalised, people from the Gypsy/Traveller community in Scotland and across Europe face a constant questioning of their right to their identity and even existence.

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An interactive art installation based on the work of Nancy Belmont.

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Flowers Grow and Go

“Normality is a paved road, it’s comfortable to walk on but no flowers grow on it.”

- Vincent Van Gogh

Inspired by this quote, pots planted by volunteers with flowers and messages will be displayed on the pavement and given away to passers-by.

Volunteers from the Forgewood and Gowkthrapple communities will write the messages and plant bedding plants in pots to create a visual display of colour before giving them away.

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Folding Into Nature

In this interactive origami workshop, you will learn how to create several different paper sculptures. We will also look at how the Japanese culture approaches health and wellbeing through interaction with nature.

Participants must supply their own paper, scissors, pen or pencil, and a ruler. Standard plain or coloured paper is suitable for this activity. Newspaper and magazines can also be used.

For ages 12+, although younger children may attend with an adult. Booking is essential.

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Fool On: Stories of Recovery

Fool On share their members’ stories about using the performing arts to support their recovery, showcasing a diverse range of talents.

Watch the video online on the SMHAF 2021 exhibtion page.

Find out more about Fool On at their website or by emailing [email protected].


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A creative workshop where you can learn how to weave a mushroom or toadstool from willow.

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Event showcasing arts project Fundamental Conduit who mix spoken word and music to create an exciting show which promotes positive mental health for all participants.

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Join us for four storytelling sessions with springtime themes. Each event will be led by a different storyteller, using stories and songs to celebrate the folklore traditions that inspire them. Refreshments included in price.

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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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You are invited to the Renfrewshire Mental Health Arts Festival launch event, which kicks off the festival in style and gives a taste of events to come.

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Columnist and author Shari Lowe will discuss her book Because Mummy Said So! a funny collection of features about family life. Complimentary Prosecco, cupcakes and chocolate will be served along with therapy sessions courtesy of Eve Spa. Refreshments and therapies included with entry.

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Happilele Lessons

Six weeks of free ukulele and happiness lessons. Come and learn the happiest little instrument in the world along with tips and techniques to improve mood, boost energy and fill your life with joy.

For ages 12+, although younger children may attend with an adult. You will need your own ukulele. Please contact [email protected] if you need help with this.

Find out more about The Well Happy Band on their Facebook page.

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Healing The Loss

Screening of a new film by the Scottish Borders After A Suicide Working Group, followed by discussion around experiences of bereavement by suicide and suicide prevention.

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Healing: Belonging in the In-Between

Short film screening exploring healing in the context of cultural identity and migration, followed by a conversation over food provided by Milk Cafe, curated by Theo Panagopoulos. 

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Healing: Reflections of the Self

Presented in partnership with the Scottish Documentary Institute, this online screening and discussion explores healing in documentary filmmaking. 

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Healing: Reimagining the Future

A short film screening at the CCA, exploring how we can reimagine the future to make room for healing.

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Get involved in an innovative hip hop project exploring expression through songwriting, live DJing and production sessions. It aims to help people who have experience of the care system and living with mental health stay connected through music.

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Hello Day

Say Hello! and help someone feel less lonely today.

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Come and join us at the Recovery Café, formerly the Dunbar Centre, to celebrate the launch of the Hello Project.

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A multidisciplinary performance exploring grief by Jassy Earl and Chloë Smith.

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Home: A Performative Space

This participatory performance reimagines the digital space, repurposing household objects, and departing on a virtual, guided journey together.

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Hope in the Community

Students of North Ayrshire Wellbeing & Recovery College will be engaging communities in Hope themed activities in various towns across North Ayrshire.

There will be pop up CHIME to Recover information stands in towns across North Ayrshire, engaging people in conversations: What do you feel when you are connected to others? What are your hopes for the new normality? What makes you unique? What gives your life meaning? When are you empowered?

This event will take place in accordance with Covid-19 guidance. 

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Hope Through Film

Film producer and peer volunteer for creative arts Richard Warden will present films of Hope.

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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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Created by Luke Pell and performed by an eclectic group of dance and performance artists with original music, In the Ink Dark collects and explores different people’s experiences of loss through dance, design and poetry.

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Inclusive Images: Changing Focus & Stepping Stones

Two online participatory photography exhibitions from Inclusive Images. 

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A creative day packed with activities, workshops, music and stories, all to help you become a happier and healthier you.

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Inspiring Positivity Adventure Day

Join us for a fun art and drama adventure day when we will be taking our experiences of lockdown and using them as our inspiration to create unique artwork and drama.

Getting involved with the arts can have powerful and lasting positive effects on mental health. With Covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns taking a heavy toll on our young people this will be a fun and creative day where children and young people can get a taste of art and drama workshops, using their lockdown experiences to create unique art and drama.

The workshops will be led by young professionals from the art and theatre industry who are also tutors at Make and Create Arts. The focus of the day will be to use a different and fun way to express and talk about our emotions.

In the morning, the art workshop will give everyone the opportunity to create a unique piece of artwork to take home. And in the afternoon, the drama workshop will allow everyone to learn how to use their own experiences and work together to create a unique piece of theatre.

All materials will be provided, so just bring a packed lunch!

This event may change due to Covid-19 restrictions: If we are unable to meet face to face, the adventure day will take place online. Please check here for information closer to the date.

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Join us for our annual awards ceremony at the CCA, as we honour the very best submissions to our international film competition.

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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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Winner of the Best Feature Documentary award at SMHAF 2019. The screening is followed by a Q&A with director Iain Cunningham, Catharine Carver from Action on Postpartum Psychosis and Clare Thompson from the Maternal Mental Health Alliance.

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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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Actors Touring Company

By Mark Lockyer

One day, Mark gets a letter. This letter takes him to a sleepy Spanish town. He can’t speak the language and he knows nobody, but he’s not here for fun. He’s here to grapple with the past.

Along the way, Mark encounters weird and wonderful people: Pepe the café owner, Dr Bueno the good doctor with a shady secret, Miss World fanatic Daamon and Ramona – ah, Ramona. Flamenco will never be the same after Ramona. Oh, and Federico, the Spanish poet. These people will change his life forever, and perhaps help him to find a way forward.

Mark Lockyer is an extraordinary writer/performer whose hit show Living with the Lights On has toured from Bristol to Barcelona, including two sell-out runs at the Young Vic. His new show is full of the same compelling mix of virtuosity, heart and humour.

Contains some strong language and adult content. 14+

Supported by Arts Council England

Image: Izzy Romilly / Jonathan Noakes


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Pupils and staff will present an evening of entertainment featuring the Kibble Band, short films, dance and musical theatre. 

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Laughter Yoga

Join us for fun and games to celebrate World laughter Day 2021. Learn how to use laughter for better health, happiness, and connection.

For ages 12+, although younger children may attend with an adult. Booking is essential.

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Relax and have fun by taking part in some gentle laughter yoga with Birchwood Highland.

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Laughter Yoga

Laugh off any stress and tension you may be experiencing with an online laughter class.

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Come along for Laughter Yoga with Well Happy to celebrate World Laughter Day. A stress-busting afternoon of mirth and mischief with a little relaxation to help you unwind. All ages welcome.

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Interactive talk and laughter yoga from Well Happy, followed by a creative mask making session.

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Lauren Stonebanks is a former medical student who fell down the rabbit hole of mental illness. She will be displaying some of her art in her favourite bookshop, Main Point Books. Come along for dubious art and great books.

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For three evenings, young people will host elements of Centrestage Projects and show how they support and help people to be the best they can.

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Keep in touch with friends and family through technology. This relaxed small group environment is a great way to keep up with the times and meet like-minded people.

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Let’s Create

Short, easy to follow, video art tutorials by Erin Colquhoun, for all ages to enjoy.

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An art workshop hosted by LGBT Equality and artist Chris Kent, involving making small wooden sculptures from driftwood.

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This interactive workshop has been designed by KIN, an arts collective of young people aged 14-25 years old who have experience of having a family member in prison. It explores issues of family imprisonment through a variety of creative exercises and role play. Booking essential.

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Listen and learn event for people to engage in a discussion exploring the importance of wellbeing, good mental health, and feeling connected and belonging in recovery paths.

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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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A compelling tale of love, dedication and dependence, this intimate documentary focuses on the dysfunctional relationship between a filmmaker and his mentally ill mother.

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Reaching communities that other open mics do not, this event takes place in a friendly, inclusive and safe space, aiming to combat the stigma and loneliness associated with mental illness. Try out your performance skills or be part of our friendly audience.

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Make Your Wheel of Life with Colours

A Toltec creative ritual to find your inner artist using colours and evaluate your life balance through meditation and a beautiful shamanic healing ceremony.

In this Toltec creative ritual, you will connect with your inner source of creativity by making your Wheel of Life using colours or natural elements according to ancient traditions.

This is the circle of no beginning and no end and it is an artwork. Together, we will take part in a ceremony for harmony and balance, helping you to recommit yourself to living in a peaceful way, connecting your heart with the world inside and outside yourself. The workshop will also include a beautiful creative meditation to ground yourself.

The wheel can be used in difficult situations to give you the direction you need when you feel everything around is constantly changing in an unexpected way, giving you access to your inner wisdom and the world’s key for normality. Realising your wheel can provide healing for your mind and heart.

You will also learn what shamanism is and you will experience the beautiful healing power of rituals to serve your personal transformation. Rituals and ceremonies are tools to invoke blessings through practical actions, but also to feel that your intent is powerful.

You will need:

  • A medium/large sheet of paper
  • Pencils, pens or any other artistic medium you enjoy. As an alternative, you could use five medium pebbles and 30-40 small pebbles, leaves, flowers or pine cones – be creative with whatever inspires you.
  • A notebook and pen
  • Incense (optional)
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An exhibition by students working in various media, including oil, acrylic, mixed media, lino printing and mono printing, charcoal, pencil, pen, ink and experiments with sculpture. Workshops will also take place on Monday afternoons.

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An exhibition of work by women who are new to the city, including refugees and women from Dreghorn Barracks. The project will explore finding a sense of belonging in Scotland and develop dialogue with the community.

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Making Nature the New Normal

Rag Tag and Textile will be opening its new garden to the public and sharing students’ artwork in a small exhibition in in its adjoining workspace, Little Tag.

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Martin Stepek will deliver a talk on the theme of mindfulness and technology, exploring how we can make use of technology wisely, remaining in control of it rather than it being in control of us. 

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Meaning Through Music

Dr Jane Bentley leads a music making and percussion workshop. Yes, she is a doctor of drumming!

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This special crafting class is for families living with dementia and carers.

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Catriona is a painter who's work will be featured in the exhibition Shades of Blue. She also works as the Art Group Facilitator at Castle Craig Hospital for Addictions, Blyth Bridge, Peeblesshire. In this seated event, Catriona will explain how the art program works in the residential hospital program, will share how art work feeds into the other therapeutic work and what is rewarding about running the art groups. The image of this event is a painting by one of the participants at the Castle Craig Hospital's art group.

If you book the seat, and later decide that you can't attend, we kindly ask to cancel it, since there is a very limited number of seats and these events get fully booked.

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Participants will have the opportunity to engage in activities directly linked to Cyrenians SCCR’s psychoeducational and digital resources. They will sculpt their own emotional homunculus and create their own non-alcoholic #CranialCocktail to explore the brain’s amazing drugs cabinet.

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Short films exploring the impact of diabetes on people’s lives.

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Mental Health and Creativity with Renfrewshire Libraries

Throughout SMHAF, Renfrewshire Libraries will highlight resources available in support of mental health through our website.

Find inspiration and support through reading, poetry, arts and crafts sessions for families as well as links to other resources.

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A chance to find out about mental health services available in the Borders, to speak to representatives from different organisations and pick up some information. Refreshments available throughout the day.

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Artist Emily Furneaux speaks to Davey Shields of MenTalkHealth about her festival project She stepped backwards in front of the words behind her, in relation to the wider components of understanding and navigating personal experiences of mental health.

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If you go down to the woods today, you're in for a big surprise.

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Millie and Max Music is a collection of children's music, written in a
number of modern genres, that parents and children can enjoy together with safe, age-appropriate lyrics.

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Mind To Move

Julia James-Griffiths will deliver three free online Mind To Move classes, aimed at all levels, and an excerpt sharing of The Box.

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Fun, inclusive drumming sessions focused on mental health and wellbeing. Come along for the chance to meet new people and create music together. Sessions are led by Ghanaian musician Gameli Tordzro and a team of professionally trained music practitioners.

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Mindful Making with Clay

Leith Community Pottery host this workshop to give you the opportunity to build a clay vessel to take home and keep.

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Our annual visual art exhibition, Mindspace will take place in window displays across Paisley this May.

Look out for the amazing album covers that were painted throughout lockdown, reminding us of the power of music to provide a sense of wellbeing and normality.

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An Open Art Exhibition which celebrates wellbeing and creativity. Artworks on display represent the work of local art groups and artists who recognise the value of creativity to their wellbeing or who have used art as part of their recovery to health.

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Structural violence leads to personal trauma in this intimate documentary, which tells the story of a single family living in one of Rio’s largest favelas.

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Come along to Kelvingrove Museum to experience a family-friendly day of celebration, with events exploring diversity, mental wellbeing and this year’s festival theme of Connected.

Moving Minds XI

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Gypsy/Travellers in Scotland suffer a great deal of prejudice and discrimination which affects their wellbeing and material existence. This exhibition is part of an ongoing project, aiming to break down existing prejudices and end the discrimination many have experienced.

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In this engaging workshop, trainers from Gypsy/Traveller communities in Scotland will introduce you to their culture, their experiences, the challenges they face and the impact discrimination has on their wellbeing.

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An exhibition of digital imagery and film by Peer Focus Recovery Photography Group which explores Paisley's mechanised industrial past. The work was made in collaboration with artists from the Threadlines Project, part of Renfrewshire Council’s Paisley TH.CARS2 regeneration programme.

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Experience poetry and readings along the colourful mural alley way made by peer support groups Mikey's Line, The Hive project and HUG (Action for Mental Health)

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Co-founder of Playlist for Life Andy Lowndes is joined by acclaimed soloist Wilma McDougall and local dementia adviser Angi Inch for an entertaining and thought-provoking evening exploring the power of music to improve mental health. Will particularly appeal to carers. 

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My Frame of Mind

An innovative photographic exploration examining the types of things that have helped people stay positive throughout lockdown.

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As part of TH.CARS2, a daylong beginners' workshop exploring natural dyeing techniques led by textile artist Gillian Steel.

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Nature Stories for Wellbeing

Traditional Scottish stories and wonder tales to connect with nature, nourish wellbeing and fire imagination with Jane Mather.

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Nature to Nurture

Come and view the amazing art installation in our window display. Participants from Costorphine Community Centre have been working collaboratively to make our mark for Mental Health Awareness Week.

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Enjoy a gently paced nature walk from New Craigs to Dunain Community Woodland, celebrating the role of connecting to nature in mental health recovery.

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Join us for a leisurely wellbeing walk around the old curling rink and mill pond at Backies near Golspie. 

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Nature Walks

Enjoy the beautiful Merkinch Nature Reserve with experienced guides for an hour-long walk to join in with the Mental Health Awareness Week theme of Nature.

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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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New Light

This online exhibition by The Alma Project looks at the process and artworks produced through our storytelling and illustration project.

It gives a fascinating insight into the methods and processes used to help people shape their own stories and illustrate them and will also include the engaging stories and their illustrations. Some of these are collective stories, others are of people’s own life journeys or purely fictional stories.

The workshop gives you an opportunity to join in with a relaxed storytelling and illustration session on Zoom. Together we will create a story and you will then have the space to write it out and illustrate it, or create your own story and illustration. There will be an opportunity to share your work with other participants. Please bring your own paper, pen, and art materials. For people aged 18+.

Many thanks to the Baring Foundation for funding this project.

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Written by Karen Grant and Sam Young, and based on a true story, this play follows characters Grace and Sophie on their journey of sobriety. After a series of drunken arguments, they decide to try and save their relationship by stopping drinking alcohol for one year. A poignant and comical production featuring local talent.

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A collection of artworks that show what the new normality is to artist Rachel Burney and others during the COVID 19 pandemic.

Before March 2020, what was ‘normality’ to me? I was working in my studio, painting and making art, travelling the world, and enjoying life to the fullest. ‘Normality’ tells the story of my new understanding of normal.

This series of canvases explores the uncertainty of social distancing restrictions in times of Covid-19, while also visually capturing the physical restrictions imposed on my body through injuries. They encapsulate the meaning of ‘lockdown’ in both societal and extremely personal terms.

Follow Operation LoveBomb on Facebook.

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Normality Through the Ages

Please note, the date for this event has changed to Wed 19 May,

An intergenerational project, gathering and showcasing memories through the decades, highlighting the changing shape of normality as people see and understand it.

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North Coast Connections: Poetry Evening

Enjoy a relaxing evening of online poetry from George Gunn, poet, playwright and novelist.

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North Coast Exhibition

Art exhibition exploring mental health, with local artists and service users showcasing their artwork.

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Not Normal: An Expression of the Self

An examination of the self in a series of self-portrait paintings in relation to the concept of Normality? by artist Jamie King. The works have been produced from the perspective of having schizophrenia and experiencing lockdown, between March 2020 and May 2021.

Later in the year these works will be shown in a solo exhibition at Edinburgh Palette, St Margarets House.

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Notes from the Sketchbook

Join this virtual space to find out how a collective of ten makers and artists with links to North Ayrshire, have explored creativity, wellbeing and connection during lockdown.

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A concert by students and volunteers from OM Music Sanctuary, a charity which provides free music tuition, rehearsal space and recording facilities for the mental health community in Edinburgh.

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Mindful crafting demos and tuition from Rag Tag and Textile taking place aboard the Kyle to Inverness train.

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Online Book Group

Renfrewshire Libraries launch their new online book group with The Midnight Library by Matt Haig, author of How to Stop Time and The Humans.

This is a poignant, unique novel about regret, hope and forgiveness - and a library that houses second chances. It has been described as It's a Wonderful Life for the modern age.

Copies of the book can be borrowed online in advance from Renfrewshire Libraries.

Follow Renfrewshire libraries on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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A youth-curated strand of SMHAF based in Paisley. The festival explores youth mental health through everything from music, film and art, to theatre, poetry, and journalism.

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In this friendly class for senior citizens, you can try out a craft and take your work home.

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A sharing of scripts, devised pieces and short films written and performed by young members of the North Edinburgh Theatre project, exploring future hopes and current situations. An HLF Year of Young People project, Our Tomorrow questions what it takes to build a thriving community, whilst reflecting on the slum clearances and new town approaches of the past.

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Out of Sight Out of Mind

Out of Sight Out of Mind, a diverse and ambitious multimedia exhibition created by hundreds of artists with experience of mental health issues, returns to Summerhall in Edinburgh in October.

Now in its seventh year, Out of Sight Out of Mind has quadrupled in size since its 2013 launch as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival (SMHAF). A feast of film, sculpture, installation, photography, painting and drawing, it continues to be supported by SMHAF and the Mental Health Foundation as part of their year-round arts programme. This year the exhibition will consist of almost 400 artworks and will fill more than an entire floor of the extensive gallery spaces at Summerhall in Edinburgh.

This body of artworks is ‘amazing’ in its diversity of voices and ability to communicate the many different experiences of living with mental health. Out of Sight Out of Mind has different meanings for people who exhibit in, organise and visit the exhibition. It is an opportunity for people to express themselves, to be heard, join a community, discuss issues related to mental health.

"I'm very excited about being part of the Out of Sight Out of Mind community this year. A more varied and vibrant collection of imagery is probably very rare. Art is humanity seeking understanding and order by manipulating imagery or performance, and mental health issues at the same time demand such analysis and defy it. Humanity and it's great questions distilled."

Exhibitor 2018

Out of Sight Out of Mind is hosted by CAPS Independent Advocacy; it is an inclusive and accessible platform for people who want to use the arts to have their often-unheard voices heard. It is organised by a group of artists and several participating organisations. It is supported through funding from NHS Lothian Sense of Belonging Arts Programme and Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation.

The motivations of individuals and groups involved are varied - personal expression; development of an artistic practice; experiencing the therapeutic benefits of making; formal art therapy; political activism; having a voice, and many others.

Out of Sight Out of Mind will be launched with an evening event on World Mental Health Day, Thursday 10 October 2019. The exhibition runs from Friday 11 October until Sunday 3 November, open Wednesdays to Sundays, from 10am to 6pm. There will be a number of exhibition related events throughout October which will be announced nearer the time. The exhibition and all events are free to attend and everyone is welcome. Summerhall is wheelchair accessible and dog friendly. 


Further Information

OOSOOM Uncovered

Wednesday 23 October, 2-4pm

Please join for this informal event where many 2019 exhibitors will be available to chat about their work. Everyone is welcome and booking is not required.

ELEVEN: Film Screening and Q&A with Philippa Clark   

Saturday 26 October, 12.30-1.30pm

For the past year Isaac and Philippa have been filming 11 seconds of footage every day to document their day to day experiences together. Please join for a screening of the full 24-minute film and to meet Philippa Clark who will speak with the audience about the making of the film and aspects of the experiences of a family with complex needs. Booking required.

TRACE: Puppet Show and Q&A with Abi Pirani

Wednesday 30 October, 2.30pm-3.30pm

TRACE is a puppet show about the long-term impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), particularly on mental health. Creator Abi Pirani will perform the 15-minute show, then answer questions from and speak with the audience. For ages 16+ only. Booking required.

The Stories Within Us: Body Painting with Lynn Fraser

Saturday 2 November, 10.30am-12pm

Connect without words and explore your feelings using body-paint in this simple but beautiful workshop. Led by Lynn Fraser, an artist and body painter with over a decade of experience in painting on people and skin. For ages 18+ only. Maximum 10 participants. Booking essential.

Image: Out of Sight Out of Mind 2018, at Summerhall, Edinburgh. Photo by Chris Scott. Artwork by Stephanie Wilson.


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Out of Sight Out of Mind: Afternoon Tea

You are cordially invited to an online afternoon tea with exhibitors and organisers of Out of Sight Out of Mind, an annual exhibition of artwork by people with experience of mental health issues.

Planning for the 2021 exhibition is underway. You will hear from people who have exhibited previously and who plan the exhibition. You can find out about taking part, share an idea for an artwork you have, show your artwork, or just enjoy the chat.

Everyone is welcome - including previous and potential exhibitors, people who work with others who might like to take part, as well anyone who has an interest art, mental health, tea and/or cake.

BYOTC (Bring Your Own Tea and Cake).

To find out more, visit the Out of Sight Out of Mind website or follow the exhibition on Facebook.

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Enjoy an afternoon tea with artists and organisers from Out of Sight, Out of Mind, a collaborative exhibition by people who have experienced mental health issues which takes place at Summerhall each October. Find out more about participating in 2019. All welcome.

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Outdoor Art at Porty

Get creative at Portobello beach, joining The Alma Project in drawing using natural materials.

Help to create a large, collective sand pattern, your own sand patterns, sand sculptures, and temporary sculptures using beach finds such as shells, stones, and driftwood.

Sticks for drawing will be provided but you are welcome to your own. You may also like to bring a bucket and spade. Please bring hand sanitiser to use before and after using shared equipment.

Please note, this event will take place according to Covid-19 restrictions. Up-to-date information will be published on this page.

Find out more about The Alma Project on their website or follow them on Facebook.

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Paint Loch Lomond

Art for the feart! Easy to learn pastel making of a landscape.

Learn how to build a painting using pastels, using easy to follow instructions. It helps to build confidence just to have a go at something new. The results will delight.  

This session will take place on Zoom and a link will be sent by email. You will need a small packet of pastels and paper you can draw onto – either standard paper or pastel paper.

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Paint Your Own Plant Pot

The Clay Studio in Inverness is a unique space for craft work.

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Passing Time

Annual poetry exhibition across the station platforms of Renfrewshire.

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An exhibition of poetry which celebrates positive mental health and wellbeing on the festival theme of Connected. Poetry will be on public display across nine station platforms in Renfrewshire and Inverclyde.

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Passing Time: The New Normal

Join us for an evening of spoken word in which local poets share their own reflections on the last year of lockdown and each pick their favourite poem from the public’s submissions to our annual poetry exhibition, Passing Time.

A chance to reflect meaningfully on the theme of Normality? and what that means for each one of us.

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Pathways Sessions: Mental Health and Arts

An important conversation on the connection between mental health and arts, and its impact on wellbeing, recovery, and fighting stigma.
About this event

Join us for the first Scene Stirling Pathways Session of the year, for an important conversation on the connection between mental health and arts, and how a creative approach can have a significant impact on wellbeing, recovery, and fighting stigma.

The session will also be an opportunity to launch the 'Flyway' programme, led by Artlink Central and A Perch for the Thornbirds, and funded by the British Council.

We will hear perspectives of working with arts and mental health from the Chinese charity A Perch for the Thorn Birds, Forth Valley-based charity Reachout With Arts in Mind, and artist Sharon Quigley.

About the Speakers

A Perch for the Thorn Birds is a nonprofit mental health organisation based in China. Their mission is to empower, engage and promote expression and inclusion using transdisciplinary approaches to address mental health related issues. They actively produce original applied knowledge and tools based on their public actions to expand the possibility of diverse prevention and intervention for mental distress. They pride themselves on social artistry and their annual mental health and art festival "Pity Party".

Reachout With Arts in Mind is an innovative and inclusive award winning charity based in Alloa, which has been delivering creative opportunities, education and wellbeing to local communities aged 16 – 80 years experiencing life's challenges, mental ill health and disability since 1993. Using expressive arts as the vehicle; the service delivery model promotes informed wellbeing choices and mental health awareness to maintain wellbeing and prevent relapse. https://www.reachoutwithartsinmind.org.uk/

​Sharon Quigley's practice balances collaboration and engagement with self directed studio practice. Sharon has undertaken several artistic residencies and public art commissions as a professional artist, which has allowed her to develop and employ a wide range of skills in creativity, design, community engagement and collaboration. Among other projects, Sharon Quigley led the 'Staring at the Ceiling. Looking at the Stars' project in collaboration with patients and staff at Bellsdyke Hospital, bringing insights on the mental health patients' world through an artistic perspective. https://www.sharonquigley.com/

About 'Flyway'

'Flyway' is an art exhibition and programme using arts to promote mental health and wellbeing, featuring work by Scottish and Chinese artists. The programme is organised jointly by A Perch for Thorn Birds(刺鸟栖息地)and Artlink Central(艺术共链·中央区), non-profit organisations in China and Scotland, and funded by the British Council. Submissions are now open to professional and amateur artists and we encourage work from people with lived experience of mental health.

The programme includes online and physical exhibition of selected works from August 2021 in both China and Scotland, and a series of talks and activities, to promote creativity and mental health awareness, and to facilitate an open discussion on the topic between the two nations.

We aim to create a safe and open space to discuss mental health in a way that welcomes everyone who wishes to express and listen.

Chinese version:

“飞路Flyway中英精神健康艺术展”是以精神健康公共教育为目的公益艺术展览。该项目获得中英文化连线基金资助,由中国的非营利组织刺鸟栖息地(A Perch for Thorn Birds)和英国的社会企业Artlink Central(艺术共链·中央区)联合举办,集中展示来自中国和英国苏格兰地区的精神健康主题艺术创作。活动向职业艺术家和素人创作者开放,同时积极鼓励有精神困扰人士参与投稿并为有需要人士提供小额资助。项目计划于2021年8月在中国上海和苏格兰福特谷皇家医院就精选作品进行线上线下展览,同期举办一系列活动,促进行业交流,激发公众创造力,提高社会精神健康意识。“飞路Flyway”旨在创造一个安全开放的精神健康话题讨论场所,期待每一个愿意讲述和聆听的人。

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An exhibition of work created by families about making peace.

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This specially themed PechaKucha night will have presentations on the theme of Connected in the context of arts and mental health.

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The top 30 photographs from our photography competition will be displayed at an exhibition open to the public to start conversations on what connection means for mental health.

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Picture Normality

This exhibition and documentary showcases photography, artwork and music by the Work Connect community taken in and around Levengrove Park following the easing of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

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Join us for an evening filled with music, comedy, poetry and connectedness. Performers, turn up on the night with your instruments and a song in your heart. All welcome.

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We write to express our ideas and share experiences. The OxPen writing group will be presenting their postcard poems in celebration of the written word. Followed by a storytelling session to support us and encourage us all to find our voices.

postcard poems Storytelling

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Postcards for Normality

This is a collaboration of families and residents on what normality looks like for them.

These postcards will be featured on a weekly newsletter and in person within HMP Addiewell. The exhibition will not be open to the public, but a selection will be made available online during the festival. 

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Postcards from the Edge of the Rabbit Hole of Normal

Create your own textured postcard telling someone or everyone what you want them to know about mental health.

Catherine McAtier, a Paisley embroidery and textile artist, had the idea a couple of years ago to create an art quilt and book of things about mental health that are worth knowing – from the inside out.

This event brings you the opportunity to create your own textured postcard with your message. Your piece can be added to the final quilt or book, or you can just save it for yourself or give it to the person you feel needs to know what you’ve shared.

You will be asked to book a one-hour slot during the day.

This event will take place in accordance with Scottish Government guidelines on Covid-19. This may lead to it taking place online via Zoom. Please visit this page or contact the organisers for up-to-date information.

Follow Catherine on Facebook and Instagram.

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Quarantine Zine

An in-house zine created by artists from Dykebar and Leverndale Hospitals which reflects on the nature of lockdown and wellbeing throughout this challenging year.

The zine will be available online and in local health centres.

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A diverse exhibition hosted by Scottish Borders LGBT Equality, featuring LGBT artists from the Scottish Borders. Be Here! Be Queer! 

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Includes On Exile, fragments in search of meaning, winner of Best Experimental Film at SMHAF 2019. Followed by a Q&A with On Exile director José Carlos Teixeira.

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Community Connections will create a chain within the community. Random Switch will create and install a series micro-sculptures in cafes, workplace and community venues in Edinburgh. Get in touch to receive a map showing all the locations.

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Real Talk: Storytelling for Wellbeing

Join us for our very first online Real Talk evening! We host mental health storytelling nights that see real people share real stories inspired by their lived experiences.

Come along for a powerful evening to explore one of our most beautiful assets, our minds. Expect 5-7 stories from our storytellers, followed by breakout rooms for discussion and time for a Q&A at the end. This is a very special Real Talk as it features all past speakers!

Our lovely community is coming together to make a podcast, so the stories will be audio recorded on the night and will form the basis for podcast, coming soon.

Find and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


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An evening of storytelling, connection and honesty, creating a safe space to speak about one of our most beautiful assets, our minds! Attendees are offered an opportunity to gain insight and understanding into the individual experiences of the speakers.

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Reconnected | Normality?

An exhibition of creative work from Angus Creative Minds on the themes of Reconnected and Normality?

Participating artists were provided with one or more squares of loomstate linen canvas to use in the exhibition. Creative works include sculpture, drawings, embroidery, paintings, collage and more.

View the exhibition online at anguscreativeminds.net, and in person at Angus Creative Minds later this month. 

Image: Reconnected Normality by Frank Proctor for Angus Creative Minds

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Make some time for yourself and drop in to our relaxing reads sessions.

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A participatory art commission by See Me and the Mental Health Foundation, in partnership with An Lanntair.

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Rewilding Me

I adorn myself almost daily. A ritual of sorts: of touch, reflection, healing, meditation. Representative of moments, nature, connections that I carry through these times, portraying them onto my body. A maternal instinct of sorts. They recede into me.

An ode to the world still out there, it’s wee wonders which we are an integral part of.

It’s all there if we only take the time to look: insects, birds, hardy weeds keekin’ out the cracks in a wall, blethers, the kindness of strangers. This all surrounds us in a time when we are faced with our own mortality and we are being pushed to our limits, as is our environment.

While the world stopped and the upset and de-stabilising of the pandemic continued to unfold, painting onto myself gave me focus and comfort. I adorn myself for a number of consecutive days, a skin collection of sorts, gently laid upon myself to carry and wear. It has become my new normal and I welcome this practice.

Follow Lynn Fraser on Instagram and Twitter.

#artforwellbeing #fantooshsketching

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RISE Arts and Wellbeing Network host a showcase of recent arts and mental health work from the Borders.

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This exhibition provides an opportunity for Fife based artists and creative writers with mental health issues to express themselves and showcase their work. 

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New research suggests Scotland's national poet, Robert Burns, was affected by a mood disorder.

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What better way to spend a morning than singing feel-good upbeat songs with your local Rock Choir!

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Join us to create mosaics to be displayed in the garden, as part of the Antonine Wall Project.

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Route 21

Route 21 is a journey through time, places, memories and the imagination.

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Routes Back to Normality

A series of workshops, exhibitions and films sharing the aspects of everyday life essential in maintaining a sense of normality amidst uncertainty.

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UK Premiere

Veronika Raila can neither walk nor speak yet invites us into her captivating world in this poetic essay film.

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Includes Herman Brown is Feeling Down, winner of Best Animation at SMHAF 2019. Followed by a Q&A with Jacob Topen, Clark Alexander, Kirsty Strain, Steven Fraser, Sophia Carr-Gomm, Gordon Collins, Linda McDonald Cairns and Dan Castro.

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Bring an instrument and join us for a great joyful trad music session in the bar area.

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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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SHE SINGS Songwriting Workshop

Join Paisley based songwriter Linzi Clark and members from the collective SHE SINGS for an interactive online songwriting workshop based on the Festival themes of ‘Normality?’ and ‘Nature and the Environment’. Whether you're a complete beginner or an experienced song writer, this workshop will provide a safe space to explore ideas, develop skills and will provide the opportunity to participate in an online performance.

@linziclarkmusic on Twitter

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A participatory artwork in the form of an audio tour in the city of Glasgow conjuring artist Emily Furneaux’s own experiences of slipping into a state of psychosis. Map and audio available to collect throughout the festival. On the final day, live happenings and occurrences will be integrated within the tour.

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CAPS Independent Advocacy’s ‘Experiences of Psychosis’ project invites you to an event which creatively explores the experience of psychosis. We will use Emily Furneaux’s Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival project as a tool to open discussion. Others with their own experience of psychosis will also be part of this dialogue.

Emily’s SMHAF project ‘She Stepped Backwards In Front of the Words Behind Her’ is a walking audio tour based on her own experiences of psychosis. She uses it as a means to unravel an often stigmatised and bewildering aspect of mental health.

The evening will begin at CAPS meeting rooms. Emily will touch on why she has made this project, encouraging playful methods to undress psychosis from the negativity it is shrouded in. Participants will then have the opportunity to listen to the audio, while walking a specially devised route. If mobility is an issue, participants are welcome to listen to the audio at the CAPS meeting room.

After the walk we will return to the CAPS meeting room to respond to the work through open discussion with Emily and members of the CAPS ‘Experiences of Psychosis’ project.

All are welcome to this opportunity to cultivate our own thoughts on this subject.

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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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Come along and learn songs from the shows in the afternoon, break for tea, and perform them at an informal evening concert.

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With Pals of the Privies in Ferguslie and Families First in Gallowhill.

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David O. Russell’s star-studded film is a light-hearted but sensitive take on bipolar disorder and recovery.

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An informal choir workshop led by Westerton Male Voice Choir but open to everyone.

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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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Sketch & Wander (From Your Sofa)

A unique online sketching experience where we bring the outdoors inside.

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Sketch & Wander for Wellbeing

Sketching in nature is an active meditation, it calms an anxious mind.

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Sma’sh Hits x SHE SINGS

Sma’sh Hits and SHE SINGS have teamed up for an exciting online performance from Renfrewshire Musicians.

Sma’sh Hits is a Renfrewshire-based music collective that celebrates and discovers local talent. The collective meet every month and gives musicians the opportunity to collaborate, network, build a community & strengthen the scene.

SHE SINGS is a songwriting group for young women aged between 16 and 25 in Paisley with the wider aim of tackling the gender gap in the music industry while harnessing a sustainable collective of women who support each other through songwriting.

The two collectives have joined forces for RMHAF to showcase the songwriting talents of local Renfrewshire musicians who will explore themes of mental health throughout their performances.

Sma’sh Hits - #smashhitspaisley

Twitter - @PaisleyArts

Facebook - @PaisleyArtsCentre

Insta - @paisleyartscentre

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SMHAF Highland Exhibition

The annual display of artwork created for SMHAF by service users and artists exploring themes related to mental health and especially this year’s theme of ‘Normality?’.

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Join us for our annual celebration to close SMHAF 2019.

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SMHAF Highland: Opening Event

Join us for an introduction to SMHAF Highland, as organisations involved introduce their plans through a series of short videos.

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SMHAF in Lanarkshire

Arts projects in Lanarkshire schools are being used to raise awareness of mental health issues and challenge stigmatising attitudes.

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Brought to you by ARTS for Wellbeing, SMHAF in Moray will celebrate the rich and diverse range of creativity across the region with a selection of one-off events and taster sessions throughout May.  

Events will include live theatre, drumming and singing workshops, community art projects, photography, exhibitions and workshops, covering everything from textiles to the culinary arts! 

Look out for further publicity and the SMHAF in Moray brochure, available from April.

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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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Hosted by Ian Rankin 

Music by Emma Pollock

The Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival’s Writing Awards, in partnership with Bipolar Scotland, is one of SMHAF’s most enduring successes. An opportunity for first time writers to be published alongside established names, the ceremony is often where we discover what our festival is really about, as writers from across Scotland and further afield take inspiration from this year’s theme in poignant, powerful, personal and often ingenious and surprising ways.

This year the evening is hosted by best-selling author Ian Rankin and will open with a short set by one of Scotland’s top singer-songwriters, Emma Pollock. Our ten shortlisted writers will read from their work, before the awards presentation and a drinks reception.

The SMHAF Writing Awards will also see the launch of 70 Stories, a year-long project to mark the 70th anniversary of the Mental Health Foundation. 70 Stories will connect pieces from our writing competition, stories from the first 13 years of SMHAF, and more to create a compelling portrait of mental health in 2019.

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Followed by a conversation with Paul Michael Henry, Angie Dight  of Mischief La Bas and Dr Amy Chandler of the University of Edinburgh.

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Sasha Greene introduces her new novel Something Like Happy, which deals with attempted suicide, relationships and recovery.

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Song Wave will create a beautiful tribute to Scott Hutchison in recognition of his experiences with mental health issues and the legacy he left of hope and kindness – and of the importance of connecting with those around you.

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Songs From the Other Side

Fuora Dance Project, in association with Platform, presents


World Premiere

You’re invited to a gig like no other.

Songs from the Other Side is a new dance theatre show, filmed at Platform in Glasgow and then released in an exclusive online broadcast, giving audiences everywhere their first chance to see this remarkable new show.

Songs from the Other Side combines dance with live music to find a new language for exploring mental health challenges.

Come and see what is so often unseen. Come and hear what is usually silent. Come together and make a song with us.

This new show weaves choreography with originally composed music and soundscapes to create an intimate, accessible “gig theatre” performance. Radical, truthful and hopeful, it invites the audience into a private world and asks how we can help each other through the dark times.

SONGS FROM THE OTHER SIDE will premiere online in partnership with the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival and in association with Platform, from Monday 29 November until Monday 6 December.

Please note that the performance features depictions of mental illness, anxiety and depression, that might be occasionally upsetting to watch. Please get in touch with us if you would like to know more.

Booking Information

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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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Soundminds goes online to bring you live music, discussions and videos across an interactive multi-hour event.

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Speaking (Aloud) Allowed

An online storytelling event hosted by CAPS Independent Advocacy.

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As part of TH.CARS2, a daylong beginners' workshop in hand spinning led by fibre artist Laryna E Wuppermann.

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An art workshop for students, offering the opportunity to play a part in creating a collage that will be displayed in the Wellbeing College.

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St Bell's Hospital Drama

St Bell’s hospital drama is the latest new play to be created by Theatre Tonic for the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival.  With their usual mix of comedy and drama they’ll have you in stitches one minute and on the edge of your seat with your pulse racing the next.   Come along and watch the mayhem as the overworked staff of the small cottage hospital struggle to cope with crazy budget cuts, next to no sleep and a haunted hospital .  The play has been created by therapeutic theatre group - Theatre Tonic East Kilbride with Bazooka Arts – both organisations are dedicated to promoting the therapeutic  benefits of making and watching theatre.

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Still Life: Art Inspired by Nature

This online event hosted by Greening Camglen will use a variety of online mediums to capture local people’s experiences of normality and greenspace during the past year.

Participants will use a variety of materials and techniques to create works of art, including photography, materials from around the home, quotations, poetry, voice recordings and bird song.

During the festival, Healthy n Happy will host a Zoom session to give people the opportunity to discuss creating their artworks and their experiences of normality and using greenspace over the past year. There will also be a session on Fri 21 May on Camglen Radio to promote the sounds of nature.

You can already get involved by joining in with Positive Steps Eco Walks and taking photographs in nature, available for booking at the Healthy n Happy website.

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Streaming: Collective Conversations

An online performative exhibition taking place as a developing webpage, open for all to access, follow, view and comment.

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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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Pull up a woodland stump and listen to the sounds that surround you. How would you interpret them in pastel? Give it a go!

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Join Writer in Residence Helen Boden for a creative writing workshop on the theme of ‘Connectedness’.

Learn about how creative writing is beneficial for mental health, and try out some exercises you can use on your own later.

No previous experience necessary.

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A seminar as part of TH.CARS2 exploring the positive impact that textile making can have on people's sense of health and wellbeing. Presentations from Prof Jacqueline Atkinson, Dr Alison Mayne and Dr Anna Fisk will be followed by a discussion. Booking advised.

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The relaxing teaching environment combines step by step tuition of what textile colour theory is and how colour can affect mood and personal outlook. 

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A workshop and exhibition exploring our connections to music. Bring together the songs that have meaning for you in a mixtape, whether they make you feel happy, sad or inspired. Artwork by Outlook students will also be on display.

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The Art of Sleep

Some of us sleep well, some of us don’t. Why do we sleep? And how much do we need sleep? What do our dreams mean and how to they influence us from our waking lives? Is it normal to sleep well?

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The Easy Club Players

May the 23rd be with you!

Making music refreshes and maintains our health and wellbeing.

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The Eildon Tree

To coincide with the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival, Live Borders will launch a new issue of the creative publication The Eildon Tree. This new issue will explore the theme of ‘Normality?’.

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The Emotional Mix of 'Normality?'

A creative workshop led by the Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution to explore the emotional mix of 'Normality?'.

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The Four Seasons of COVID: Life’s Triumph

Overwhelmed by the invisible tsunami of Covid-19, our time is eaten up as we worry and wish for a return to normal life. Martin Stepek will share how he finds calm, even in times of crisis, by noticing the beauty around him.

Whatever situation we find ourselves in, life is still precious and beauty can be found anywhere by being mindful and paying attention.

In The Four Seasons of COVID: Life’s Triumph, Martin Stepek, one of Scotland’s most respected teachers of mindfulness, poet and published author, explores each of the seasons in turn and shares the beauty he sees in nature, poetry and literature which helps him find peace of mind.

Martin’s mindful journey through each of the four seasons which have passed under the cloud of COVID, will show you how to notice the beauty available in life, even in times of crisis, for your wellbeing now and in the future. Martin will uplift and inspire you as he guides you towards the calm he enjoys in his own life.

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The story of how the novel Mrs Dallowayaffects three generations of women, all of whom, in one way or another, have had to deal with suicide in their lives.

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A reading of a new play by Jennifer Adam about a woman who refuses to leave her home despite it disintegrating around her. It explores how we can be affected by what we see in the news, the impact that can have on our mental state, and ultimately how we can find hope through the clouds.

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An inclusive collection of music and dance performance.

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The Journey

The Journey is an online workshop to experience the uplifting, therapeutic benefits of drama and creative writing.

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The Kairos Self-Care Collective

Kairos and Renfrewshire Libraries are bringing you The Kairos Self-Care Collective. Kairos mental health group have produced a poem about self-care and normality in lockdown.

We are asking for submissions from women and non-binary people on how you have maintained self-care during lockdown.

Please submit your art, crafts, photos, or written pieces to [email protected] The deadline for submissions is Tuesday 20 April.

Kairos Renfrewshire Facebook

#womensupportingwomen #selfcare #normalityinlockdown #creativity

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A groundbreaking new theatre piece, based on the format of The Vagina Monologues, where six brave souls take to the stage to tell the stories of their own mental health journeys.

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The Nature of Ideas

‘The Nature of Ideas’ is a curated exhibition comprised of work made by artists who are part of Project Abillity's Reconnect workshop.

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Being in natural, outdoor environments has been shown to improve self-esteem, positive mental health and wellbeing in young people. A series of outdoor play and environmental art workshops has resulted in this evocative sculpture. Dress for the weather as there will be a 20 minute countryside walk to The Youth Vision Bothy in the Pentland Hills. Booking essential.

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Features two award winners at SMHAF 2019, for Best Mid-length Documentary and Best Short Documentary. Followed by a Q&A with We Are All Here director Hannah Currie and clinical psychologist Dr Simon Stuart. 

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Rehearsals are filled with laughs and absolutely no experience is required.

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Hosted by Creativity In Care, the screening will be followed by a discussion.

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Tips and Tricks for Normality

A positivity explosion in the ML2 area, presenting views and quotes from people young and old about how to keep well, balanced and mentally healthy. These will be displayed on local walking routes, and as an art piece at MADE4UINML2.

Community power and creativity is required from people of all ages – whether you live in the ML2 area or beyond – to craft the display. Designed to spark interest and conversation, the walks and the display will be available as a self-directed activity.

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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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TRACE explores the long-term impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences, particularly on mental health. Using puppets, it tells a story of the child's incomprehension, the impact of survival and tracing back through memories to untangle their impact. This work-in-progress will showcase short clips from the show and be followed by a discussion with creator Abi Pirani. For ages 16+.

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A devising solo-aerial theatre performance reimagining Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night through the eyes of Viola, this piece blends contemporary circus, dance and theatre with music and engaging multimedia to investigate depression, anxiety and isolation with movement.

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Vitality is Normality

An online fire community gathering to create a common place where all can belong. We shall connect with the element of fire as a life-giving energy that animates the spirit and heart.

As we face the most socially disconnected times in our collective and personal histories, it is vital to create a space that builds a sense of community. When we share, we find a common ground and sense of belonging that we can all be part of.

Led by a Firekeeper, this event provides a social space to share your stories and what is in your heart to express, release and renew those parts in you that need to feel heard and seen. This event will be held as a safe container, where we will be a witness to each other as we move through these very challenging and ever-changing times. All you need is a candle and the spark in your heart!

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Experienced vocalist, coach and wellbeing trainer Lynne O'Neill invites you to join her for a two hour session of connecting into your voice to create a more confident you, enhance your wellbeing and express yourself through moving, shaking and singing!

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Join Rag Skye at 11.30am for a walk over the bridge.

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Renfrewshire Anti-Stigma Alliance (RASA) invites you to our annual event to challenge discrimination and stereotyping, one conversation at a time.

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Join us for our fourth year of walking a mile through Inverness city centre to promote mental wellbeing and challenge mental health stigma.

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A mindful afternoon on the theme of connectedness between ourselves, each other and the earth.

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An opportunity to have a one-to-one conversation in a quiet space with some of our award-winning filmmakers: Iain Cunningham, Hannah Currie, Victoria Thompson, José Carlos Teixeira and Aoise Tutty.

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A series of interactive art installations exploring mental health, based on the work of Nancy Belmont’s We Live Big.

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Wellbeing of the Woods

An Open Aye guided woodland photo walk, using the principles of Shinrin Yoku, or Forest Bathing. Try new photography techniques to explore creativity, the mind, and the great outdoors, sharing tea and healthy snacks under the trees. All abilities welcome. Booking essential.

Wellbeing of the Woods (WOW) is run by Open Aye, specialists in participatory photography projects. The workshops are sponsored and supported by Scottish Forestry.

The WOW project shows that everyone can benefit from being creative in a woodland environment. Taking photos in nature enables us to see things differently, makes us slow down, asks us to pay attention to our senses and encourages us to really appreciate our surroundings. Photo walking in the woods is a gentle activity, open to all and it’s free. It will relax and invigorate in equal measure. A great thing to do in the woods, whatever the weather!

Visit www.eco-ayes.co.uk for more information.

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This feel good woodland photo walk will take notice of spring beginnings, capturing beautiful blossoms and tree canopies. Try new techniques to explore creativity, the mind and the great outdoors, sharing tea and healthy treats under the trees. You can use our weatherproof cameras but feel free to bring your own equipment. All abilities welcome. Booking essential. 

This event is being provided in partnership with Scottish Forestry (formerly Forestry Commission Scotland) and Open Aye.

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The Wellbeing Of the Woods Project (The WOW Project) has been running wellbeing-enhancing, urban forest based participatory photography workshops, to diverse groups in Glasgow across the seasons in 2017 -2019. Over 50 people from 16 countries have taken part so far. This exhibition showcases some of the thoughts and ideas from participants on how creativity in the woods aids wellbeing.

Provided in partnership with Scottish Forestry (formerly Forestry Commission Scotland) and Open Aye.

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What is Normal?

In this online event, young people will showcase a video focusing on the theme of normality and express their own views on how taking part in Living Life to the Full in Airdrie has impacted their own mental health and wellbeing.

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What's Your Normal?

We are looking for people to share photography in the Peer Focus Facebook Group.

The SMHAF 2021 theme is Normality? and we are inviting you to share up to six images of objects or places that have helped you personally keep a sense of normality and wellbeing during this difficult time.

We will also be sharing some easy and fun DIY photographic processes on the site, from local artist photographer Melissa Mitchell.

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Where Are the Birds Taking Me?

An online poetry-writing workshop on the theme of birds, suitable for writers of all levels of ability.

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Why So Serious?

Join this workshop to do a self-portrait with a twist, as we close our eyes and allow our sense of touch to "draw" what we feel. 

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Our mental health and wellbeing benefit when we nourish our connections to landscape, earth and nature. Delve into poetry and fiction by women writers including Amy Liptrot and Helen MacDonald and discover how creative writing about ecology and environment can empower and nurture.

This event is 18+ and women only. All women-only events are inclusive of Trans and Intersex women, as well as non-binary and gender fluid people.

This session is offered by Glasgow Women’s Library in partnership with Renfrewshire Mental Health Arts Festival and Kairos, Renfrewshire.

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Women's Open Mic

A Open Mic for Women and Non-binary performers, featuring music, spoken word, comedy dance and more. For all ages, languages and styles!

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An Open Mic for Women and Non-binary performers, featuring music, spoken word, comedy dance and more!

The event is open doors and all are welcome to attend. You can drop in and out as you please. Child- and family-friendly. (Performers have been exceedingly good at either omitting swear words, or giving fair warning so families can step out if they wish. Also, we often have performers of all ages, so do not let your age stop you if you wish to perform, young or older!)

International Food Potluck – bring your own and try diverse food from all over the world! Other refreshments provided.Crèche available on request, please book in advance.

If you would like to perform, please contact Rebecca Dunn: [email protected] The programme will be partly sign ups in advance, and there will be slots open for on the night sign ups too.Accessibility: the venue is accessible for wheelchairs.

A bit of background on the event:

While Aberdeen is thriving in terms of the arts, open mics and performance nights in Aberdeen are pretty male dominated. This has the unintended effect of actually making female performers feel excluded and less confident to try out their skills in public. 

This event is about redressing the balance by encouraging more women and non- binary people in music and arts to put themselves out there. This event aims to play a part in encouraging women and non-binary people to feel confident enough to take part in more open mics, and music and performance events.

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Join Creativity In Care for a colourful walk in Evanton Woods, stopping for a fun mobile disco with refreshments and arts stalls.

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An inspiring and colourful exhibition of paintings, textile collages and textile panels by members of The Alma Project.

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Novelist Lisa Ballantyne leads a workshop on techniques to unleash thoughts and experiences onto the page.

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Creative writing workshops exploring the theme of being Connected for mental health and wellbeing.

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Yoga has been used for centuries and is a great way to manage our mental and physical health. Amanda Mitchell is an experienced teacher and this session is suitable for beginners and experienced practitioners.

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Φuipu Recollections

A participatory activity to help people reflect and record some of their life experiences, creating knotted yarn and voice recordings.

Quipu is an ancient method of recording stories used by the Inka, consisting of coloured threads knotted in different ways.

Sophie, Sharon and Barbara are a group of artists exploring narratives of identity through soundscape, performance and installation. They create immersive, safe spaces for storytelling, finding new, innovative ways to navigate memory and support wellbeing.

Participants will be posted packs and provided with instructional videos to enable you to explore stories of your life using quipu yarns and your voice. These will be combined in an installation incorporating the yarns and a spoken word soundscape, exhibited in Edinburgh during October 2021 to coincide with World Mental Health Day.

Participants from all walks of life are invited to take part in the Quipu Recollections project and be part of the story. Help it grow.


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