Six arts projects chosen to challenge stigma

Posted by See Me, 25 April 2024

See Me is supporting six projects through its 2023-24 Anti-Stigma Arts Fund.

Now in its third year, the Anti-Stigma Arts Fund provides grants of up to £5,000 to help organisations, artists, makers, creators and collaborators deliver projects that tackle the issue of mental health stigma through art.

This year, recipients from Glasgow to Orkney and Stornoway will produce visual art, music and song, video, audio recordings, open-conversation events and more.

Research shows that the arts can offer a powerful route to increasing awareness, knowledge and understanding around mental health, particularly when produced by, or in collaboration with, those who have lived experience of mental health problems.   

The following six projects were chosen this year from 73 applications.

Glasgow’s Empower Women for Change will use creative sessions to create artworks­ shine a light on the unique experience of discrimination faced by black and minority ethnic women who have experienced mental health issues. ‘Beyond the Canvas’ will be showcased at the School of Health and Wellbeing, as well as online.

Orkney Blide will produce a creative festival called ‘The Headspace Showcase’, to both challenge misconceptions around mental health and raise awareness of Blide and the therapeutic opportunities they make available. Last year, the event was a mixture of music production, poetry, drama and photography.

Music Broth, working closely with The Survivor Arts Community, will further develop a community choir made up of female-identifying survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence. The Solace Choir project, which is based in Glasgow, will culminate in a live performance during the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival (SMHAF) 2024.   

Edinburgh homeless charity Rowan Alba will run six open-conversation mental health events across National Galleries Scotland, led by clients with lived experience of trauma and alcohol-related harm and using gallery exhibits to explore different issues. An exhibition will showcase the project as part of SMHAF 2024.

Sarah’s Sanctuary is a peer support group on Stornoway for people bereaved by suicide. Their ‘Slipping Through the Net’ project will be a supportive, creative space that hopes to tackle the stigma associated with suicide in an island community. A final group artwork will be displayed at An Lanntair Art Centre.

‘Monuments for the Present’ is a participatory action research project co-created by the creative initiative Monuments for Equality (Paria Goodarzi, Mia Gubbay and Francesca Zappia) and Maryhill Integration Network Museum of Things Art Group. It will be presented in two exhibitions at the Centre for Contemporary Arts and the School of Health and Wellbeing, University of Glasgow, during the Glasgow International and Refugee Scotland festivals in June 2024. 

Maeve Grindall, project officer for communities and priority groups at See Me, said: “Once again we have been blown away by the incredibly high quality of the applications to the fund this year and I am extremely grateful for the care and skill of the shortlisting panel in helping to make our difficult final decision.

"This year we have funded six extraordinary participatory art projects, each taking an intersectional approach to understanding and tackling mental health stigma. We are so excited to see the projects develop and grow over the coming months, and have no doubt that their impact will be felt for a long time beyond.”

Why not find out more about our Anti-Stigma Arts Fund?