Mental Health Arts is a year-round arts programme led by the Mental Health Foundation Scotland, built around the annual Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival (SMHAF). Established in 2007, the festival is one of the largest of its kind in the world and among Scotland's most diverse cultural events, covering everything from music, film and visual art to theatre, dance, and literature.
Consumed by Isla Cowan
Consumed is a ten minute audio work that explores the disorienting experience of eating disorder and the way in which negative, dangerous thoughts around food and the body are normalised in the media and in our society.
Blending satirical sketches, details of eating disorder symptoms and statistics, and semi-confessional spoken word fragments, this audio piece delves into the messiness and complexity of connections between control, eating and the body. As well as navigating the all-consuming nature of negative body image, Consumed addresses the capitalist consumerism that paradoxically encourages ‘not consuming’ – encouraging dieting and weight loss – in order to sell products and make profit.
Consumed was commissioned by the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival as part of My Normality, a series of artist commissions conceived in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Isla Cowan is a Scottish playwright, performer and director, currently based in Edinburgh. She specialises in creating ecofeminist work and believes in theatre that challenges both its audience and its makers.
Our Voices by Nikki Kilburn
Photographer and writer Nikki Kilburn is interested in exploring “how identity and lived experience creates complex realities”.
Nikki was commissioned as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival's My Normality project to create a collection of “five empowered portraits of womxn of colour with a lived experience of racialised trauma” accompanied by an audio narrative of their voices telling their stories, in order to show “how the lived experience of racialised trauma creates othering and stigma”.
Nikki Kilburn said: “It was really important for me to remain true to the identity and style of each womxn in their portrait and spoken word narrative. We worked together to co-create how we would capture their visual representation and narrative. Each portrait was carefully created based on how each womxn wanted to tell their story and my self-portrait transforms the dehumanising racism of white supremacy into an act of power. Whilst weaving the spoken narratives together I was mindful to stay true to each womxn's individuality and elevate shared lived experience. The music, lyrics and my spoken word poem throughout the audio piece created a context for the stories to be knitted within. This process has been a beautiful, enriching healing experience for us all.”
My Normality is supported by Creative Scotland.
Mind Matters: Sasha Greene and Angela McCrimmon
In this episode of Mind Matters, Michael McEwan speaks to writers Sasha Greene, the Scottish author of Something Like Happy which explores mental health, and Angela McCrimmon, author of Can You Hear Me Now?: Finding My Voice in a System that Stole It, about writing and mental health.
Mind Matters: Well Happy Band and Michelle Connolly
Michael McEwan speaks to Janine from the Well Happy Band and singer-songwriter Michelle Connolly in this podcast for the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival 2021.
Daniel by Mental Health Arts
Abi by Mental Health Arts