Exhibition challenging stigma around mental health opens

21 June 2016

An art exhibition, collated by a community arts group for people living with mental health conditions in Canterbury, will open at The Beaney this weekend.

Taking a line for a walk: discovering a creative identity is a joint exhibition which concludes a six session art programme for people in Canterbury who are unable to access mainstream arts based mental health services. The initiative was created by Canterbury Art Studio Group aiming to explore and discover participant’s creative identity in a non-judgmental creative space and improve their self-esteem.

Since April, participants have been challenged with exploring their creativity, each working to move away from the different medical 'labels' they have been given and focus on being an artist.

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Artwork due to feature in the exhibition

Canterbury Christ Church University’s England Centre for Practice Development and Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health have been working alongside the project to evaluate its findings.

Carolyn Jackson, Co-Director of the England Centre for Practice Development at Canterbury Christ Church University, said: “We feel very privileged to be able to support such an important initiative for our local communities.  We hope that the public exhibition and evaluation impact report will be useful in lobbying for future funding so that this initiative can become more widely available to people living in our area.”

One of the projects participants, Helen Gillis, said the course had a huge impact on her life. Helen wrote a poem about her experience, a section reads: “I never thought that a six-week art course would change my life and perception of art but it did. I started going with trepidation worrying I was not good enough. And yet, and yet. I have imagination and intelligence. I see beauty in the world that others don't.”

Joyce Armstrong, Art Psychotherapist and Group Facilitator at the Canterbury Art Studio, established the project. She said: “The project realises the need of people who are unable to access mental health services that focus on art therapy. My instinct that the location was as important as the ethos has proved correct and I have high hopes for the impact of the exhibition upon those taking part and those who visit. The impact the project has had on the participants is incredibly moving.”

Taking the line for a walk: discovering a creative identity will take place between Saturday 25 June to Sunday 10th July 2016 in The Front Room at The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge. The exhibition is free admission and open to all.

Notes to Editor

Canterbury Christ Church University

Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with a particular strength in higher education for the public services.

With 17,000 students across Kent and Medway, its courses span a wide range of academic and professional subject areas.

  • 95% of our UK undergraduates were in employment or further studies six months after completing their studies*.
  • We are one of the South East’s largest providers of education, training and skills leading to public service careers.

*2013/14 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey

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Last edited: 04/12/2017 23:40:00