During May and June 2022, activists from the mental health and #LiftTheBan campaigns, worked with two Masters Arts students from ArtEZ University of the Arts, Netherlands. Together they created a wonderfully layered piece of art, full of interconnections, heart and hope.
The piece is titled Connection and Community = NewScriptForMentalHealth.
The explanatory caption reads:
“Through themes of connection, community, strength and solidarity our work moves from the individual towards community. The strength and empowerment that comes from people joining together to fight for a different approach in mental health. Supporting people in distress or who’ve experienced trauma and through approaches that are not only based on diagnoses and labels, but that are about creating connection and listening to people’s stories. Helping people make sense of those experiences in a way that recognises that what surrounds us, shapes us. That inequalities and abuses of power cause emotional distress and trauma. Shifting the focus from blame and shame towards connection and community. In this work we came together as a community, taking everyone’s individual stories and working towards our collective messaging to the world.”
Lisa Morrison, facilitator with PPR, worked alongside Ember Kauffman and Roze Adams, the two artists, to ensure that the process was trauma-informed throughout.
The feedback from participants was extremely positive, with people reflecting on what they gained from the process personally, but also as a collective, campaigning for a new paradigm in mental health.
“Through shared stories I felt connected to others and there was a real sense of community.”
One participant reflected that, at a personal level, the process “transformed me. It made me realise I am the same person I was before my traumatic experiences. That’s why I painted a ballerina as I used to be a dancer. I am a different version of myself but still the same me”.
Other participants highlighted the sense of community and solidarity that emerged through the process*:*
- “Through shared stories I felt connected to others and there was a real sense of community.”
- “I was able to express my feelings of solidarity and togetherness”
Another strength of the project was the diversity of participants, something which participants valued
- “the group was diverse and from our experiences we all learned something new”.
Participants were eager for more opportunities like the one provided by this project*:*
- “I would love if PPR provided more workshops like this. I’ve been to a lot of workshops but I have never been to one where I gained so much”.
PPR is a Community Associate Partner with The MAC and is grateful for the opportunities this partnership has opened up. We know the power of art and* artivism* in questioning and challenging dominant narratives, including around mental health.
We look forward to continuing this valuable work with artists, to enable people to come together as a community, sharing individual stories through art and collectively working towards a #NewScriptForMentalHealth