Learning from experience

pillcases filled with
I truly believe that when we normalise difference we enter a much more just and equal world. We all have mental health, that’s a fact - so shouldn’t we all acknowledge this hidden truth, accept that we might have mental ill health at some point and stop being afraid of the unknown?
Kelly and a colleague sit at a table, Kelly is laughing
I first found creativity at the age of 25 – I had moved to a new town to be with my boyfriend but knew no one and nothing. I had experienced high anxiety in the past but understood now that if I didn’t keep my time and my mind occupied I wouldn’t survive and the move would be pointless. So that’s what I did.
Sunita Thind
Sunita Thind
"You can take all that negative energy and channel it into something exquisite that is expressive like a poem, story, song or piece of art."
Dancing in Driveways- Charlotte Armitage
Dancing in Driveways, Charlotte Armitage
A participant of Dancing in Driveways in Sheffield describes how a dance artist's gesture to help her street has transformed community spirit and health.
Scroll containing a perpetual calendar with illuminated sections. Ruzname-i dairevi - astronomical tables for both the Arebi (Islamic) and Rumi (Julian) calendars providing chronological accounts of seasonal change, entry of the sun into signs of the zodiac, times of summer and sunset.
MS Ottoman Turkish 3. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
…if you’ve self-isolated over years as I’ve done, you do slow down to a very, very different pace. The following is an interview with Gilly Angell, a founding member of the LENS group, from 31 March 2020  
Nigel Downing at the Spaces Between, Barnsley, June 2017
Charlotte Armitage, Creative Recovery
" Art allows us freedom". Nigel, a poet from Barnsley, shares his experience of using creativity and culture to navigate, soothe and understand his illness and recovery.
Despair by Anthony Fisher Photography
Antony Fisher Photography
Tony Fisher is known as a determined, creative individual, (which we can second), who works across many art-forms; art, photography, poetry, film and socially engaged practice.
Lynne Rawlings at Arts, etc
Lynne Rawlings
A poem by Lynne Rawlings with an introduction from Corina Harrison (WEA and Arts, etc.)
Janet inspired by the Beaney collections to make figures
Wendy Daws
Sensing Culture This story shares how The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge are working together with partners and their local visually impaired community to enable more meaningful access to creative and cultural experiences to boost wellbeing, raise awareness and create a more inclusive space.
A brightly-coloured abstract paiting called Celebrating Psychosis, by Kate Smith
'Celebrating Psychosis' by Kate Smith
Kate Smith is an award-winning children’s illustrator/designer and a workshop leader, who has a diagnosis of  ‘Acute and transient Psychotic Disorder’ which was triggered by stress and anxiety in 2005.  Kate was encouraged to make Christmas cards by an Occupational Therapist from the Early Intervention Service in Derbyshire as a coping strategy.
Care To Dance participants
Photo by Michelle
A story by Michelle, sharing the reflections of her family on the role of dance in Rita, her mother’s life, both before and after her diagnosis with dementia.
Creative Directions - Doncaster Community Arts
Doncaster Community Arts
Creative Directions darts (Doncaster Community Arts) submission of a story that represents personal experiences of the impact of creativity, culture and the arts on health and wellbeing.
Painting by Naomi, called The Great Escape
This story begins with an introduction from Naomi, who shares with us her experiences of being a full-time carer, Mum, nurse and painter and why now is the right time to share her story and her artwork.
Richard celebrating after completing the Great North Run for James Cook Neuro- Rehabilitation Ward 26, Middlesborough ( South Tees Hospital NHS Trust)
South Tees Hospital NHS Trust
“The arts made me look forward, think, engage and stimulate and that had a wealth of benefits. I realised it was something to hold on to.”
A digital drawing of a crouching figure by Shanali Perera
Shanali Perera
Excerpts from Beyond The Illness, Art n’ the Human experience by Shanali Perera, MBBS MRCP “The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance” ~ Aristotle
An abstract painting by Lorna Collins
Lorna Collins
A story by Lorna Collins I have suffered from a number of psychiatric illnesses over the past eighteen years, following a serious Traumatic Brain Injury. I am now very much in recovery.
Shrigley bird singing
David Shrigley, Sing Your Song
A story by Carole Fotheringham This is a story about how cultural activities are contributing to healing and enriching my life after a life threatening illness.  How it seems culture, friendship and laughter have the ability to cure all.
A collection of drift wood ships by Dave Logan
Dave Logan
A story by Dave Logan, Chair of Parkinson’s UK – Swindon & District Branch, who has lived with Parkinson’s for sixteen years. I have had Parkinson’s for over 15 years and celebrated my 70th birthday this July.  I have been lucky in that the progressive nature of my Parkinson’s has been slow.  
This has been inspired by the work of the medical staff at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital – in particular, the ICU staff.
I spun a web and wrapped it round my life; fine spider silk: the type we’re taught to make. A sticky weave of working mum and wife; bespoke design – its cords would never break. High praise I netted in for such rich yarn; a gossamer of love cocooned my home, a strategist at work, a queen of charm;
Power of the Object group meeting
The Beaney’s Power of the Object programme – a dementia & social isolation story   It’s been important to both me and my mum because it’s given Mum the opportunity to come out and do something constructive and it seems to me that she gets some kind of stimulation that lasts for 2 or 3 days afterwards.  Paul Langley,  Carer
A green bra - a work of art called Unconventionally Beautiful by Jenni Burrows, photo by Mi Mi Media
Unconventionally Beautiful by Jenni Burrows, photo by Mi Mi Media
My practice and initial investigation was a coping strategy to enhance my quality of life throughout the long wait for diagnosis and therefore manage anxiety, uncertainty and the medical side effects of treatment, including my experience of itch.