By this point, the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival was scheduled to have finished for another year. However, our online programme is moving more slowly to allow you to engage with it at your own pace, so we will continue to bring you screenings, events, workshops and discussions over the next weeks and months. 

This week, highlights include Home, a feature documentary by Scottish filmmaker Jen Randall about adventurer Sarah Outen, and another film that has taken on new resonances at a time when we are all isolated from loved ones. Skye Loneragan presents the first part of her digital reimagining of Though This Be Madness, shared as a work-in-progress using video and text, building up over the next few weeks to a livestreamed performance. We also have two workshops aimed at artists and creative people at all levels: Move, the latest in our Eat. Move. Sleep. Repeat. series of conversations with artists, will be led by interdisciplinary artist Roland Carline, and Filmmakers in Isolation will see Hannah Currie and Matthew Baren join us from Glasgow and Shanghai respectively to share their projects before and after lockdown. 

Read about the full programme below and we look forward to you joining us during the week. We hope that you are keeping safe and well, and remember you can find resources for coping with your mental health during this challenging time at the Mental Health Foundation

Film

This week, we present Home – our first feature – a documentary which intimately and unflinchingly tells the epic story of Sarah Outen's solo, human powered expedition around the globe, where she is brought to the mental and physical brink by a violent ocean storm.

Home won the Personal Narrative award at our International Film Awards and we are delighted that both the director Jen Randall and Sarah Outen will be joining us for a live Q&A on Zoom at 8.30pm this Thursday.

Click here to watch the film, and here to register for your place in the discussion.

The second workshop in our Filmmakers in Isolation series also takes place this week. With shoots and funding being cancelled or postponed indefinitely, what can be done practically now to salvage ongoing projects? Is there a way to prepare or protect projects for life after lockdown?

Join filmmakers Hannah Currie and Matthew Baren as they share their experiences of modifying projects on a lockdown timeline. Register for a place here.

Writing Awards

On Tuesday 26 May, we announced the winners of the Writing Awards, held in partnership with Bipolar Scotland. In place of our usual awards ceremony, we will publish an illustrated digital book featuring all the winning entries across three categories – Fiction, Poetry and Creative Non-Fiction – and share a series of recordings featuring the writers reading from their work.

This year’s competition had the theme of Perspectives, reflecting the festival's commitment to diversity, self-expression and representing a wide range of mental health experiences. The winning entries were selected by a panel including writers Jenni Fagan and Graham Morgan, as well as people from the Mental Health Foundation and Bipolar Scotland. The prize for the overall winner is a mentoring session with Jenni Fagan. 

Theatre

Skye Loneragan’s Though This Be Madness was to have toured Scotland as part of this year’s SMHAF. A theatre show set in a lounge room, it features a recovering mum who is attempting to tell you many tales of sisterhood struggles with mental health. With support from SHMAF, the show is now undergoing an experimental re-framing to see how it can best be performed, live online, broadcasting from Skye’s living room to yours.

Over the next few weeks Skye will be sharing quirky, questioning process-bites as she develops this new version of the show. Part One: Framing is now available here.

Eat. Move. Sleep. Repeat.

Interdisciplinary artist Roland Carline leads Move, the next workshop in Eat. Move. Sleep. Repeat., a series of conversations with artists curated by Emma Jayne Park and Emily Furneuax.

Roland Carline makes interdisciplinary work individually and collectively that covers most media, including painting, sculpture, film and performance. He believes in the act of making and showing as a transformative process that can be a powerful vehicle for learning, relationship building, social and political resistance. He is interested in ways in which humour can lighten this complex process.

Move takes place via Zoom from 11am-1pm on Wednesday 27 May. Register for a place here.

Community

New work in our online gallery includes Drift On By, a publicly engaged driftwood installation by students at North Ayrshire Wellbeing & Recovery College. Developed before lockdown, it was displayed on beachfronts at Troon and Irvine to share positive messages for wellbeing and recovery. See the images and watch a video here.

It has also been lovely to see the wider community get involved with our online programme. GoMA have developed resources for a series of Saturday Art Clubs themed around mental health, and have also published a new blog post about their Art for Baby project, which supports mothers, parents and carers with creativity and mental health.

Mind To Move, a series of movement workshops led by Julia James-Griffiths, also continues on Tuesdays at 12pm. The sessions aim to promote positive mental health and wellbeing and are free to attend, although you can make donations to support the project. Register for a class here

Flyer: Week Four