Changing Minds

6 Feb 2016 - 7 Feb 2016

In 2016, we explored mental health and the arts at a dedicated weekend festival.

Despite much improvement in recent years, talking about mental health can still be fraught with shame. To help end this taboo by enhancing empathy and to aid self-discovery, the arts have a vital role to play. 

Changing Minds festival provided an important platform for discussion, exploration and creativity. We celebrated great artistic minds, past and present, shining a light on how an experience of ill mental health can produce extraordinary pieces of work.

Changing Minds aimed to give a renewed sense of how the arts can open up this specific debate — and give a fresh perspective on the complex issues surrounding mental health.

We were soothed - or provoked - by the Arts Pharmacy, discovered punk-poetry musical My Beautiful Black Dog and fell under the spell of Can I Start Again Please.

We had music by Robert Schumann, who had a lifelong mental illness, and learned memory techniques before hearing Aurora Orchestra perform Mozart's Symphony No.4 entirely from memory.

And finally there were talks and debates on topics such as Misunderstanding Mental Illness, Creativity of Sadness, Mindfulness and Laughter's the Best Medicine.

all stories

Why do negative stereotypes of mental illness still persist?
Speakers include Brian Dow, Sue Baker and Paul Farmer, CEO of Mind
A discussion about mental health care – how things have changed and where it’s heading
Why are the inequalities in the way mentally ill people are treated?
What do young people have to say about mental health?
Hear the story of a suicidal man and the good samaritan who saved him
Rob Delaney talks about mental health, addiction and recovery
Discussion of finding meaning as memory breaks down
For many people, art makes it that little bit easier to be human
We speak to Brian Dow, the Director of External Affairs for Rethink Mental Illness

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