This morning me and 10 peices of work spanning from 2016-18 spent some time with the year 8s of Norwich High in the beautiful Norwich Cathedral.
I’m used to getting the responses from grown ups, from people accessing MH services, Mentalhealth professionals, other artists, and clinical psychologist 3rd years.
It was an honour and a please to listen to the reflection and analysis of each peice by these young people. Total winner’s 🖤
Exhibition and workshops
In short the exhibition is about parenting and mental health from the point of 4 different families, 4 stories. There are two workshops where I use my lived experience and creative practice alongside staff from Compass & The Benjamin Foundation.
aimed at Norfolk & Suffolk Health, Social care & Education Practitioners.
Each workshops will begin with a short introduction and an opportunity to be present with the work in the exhibition. Then we will gather in the library room to discuss what came across in the work, unpicking how to cope with human struggle and remain connected and authentic within our professional roles, whilst remaining grounded and safe. The art work can be used to explore specific themes in areas over a spectrum of professional practice; domestic abuse, childhood trauma, attachment and recovery. It is a place that offers rare insight into the client experience of different professional approaches. In my experience there can be stark parallels between two similar services, in how the service functions and responds to the client and the impact this has.
16th October •“What is it like to be involved with services”
Compass social worker Laura Miles and I discuss the two perspectives, professional and parent when having services involved with your family.
17th October •“Working with Domestic Abuse”
Dr Nic Yeates and myself boldly and honestly explore ideas of professional practice using the exhibition as a visual reference.
The workshops are available at 3 times on each day.
09:30-11:30 * 12:00-14:00 * 14:30-16:30
We are asking £5-£10 donation to raise funds for work done with The benjamin foundation. Please feel free to ask any questions and book a slot by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org If you know any practitioners that would find these workshops valuable please pass on this.
120 people. I spoke some of my truths in order to lessen the feeling of isolation and loneliness to 120 people.
Instead of reading having a relaxed conversation with the Tod. I jesticulated more than expected and ended up far more relaxed than I thought I would be, though still nervous, I deliberately don’t see the audience, it’s just a blurry mass of colour until it’s Q&A time, then I can cope with seeing you wonderful people. There just wasn’t enough time to talk to everyone who approached me and run the “My Village” activity. I have a remedy for this next time.
The way people approach me is absolutely my favourite part of the day. It can be subtle and conservative, I knowing smile or it can be giddy excited “oh my goodness thank you I totally get that!” it’s the same as when I show paintings that resonate with mothers or survivors. I love that little space and connection between people with similar stories or circumstances.
The tables were turned on Friday, when I was the giddy one going up to a person having shared their lived experience. There is something beautiful in this knowing, peer support has huge potential but is not widely available safely……..yet.
Finding a Voice 18 is a follow on from FAV17, I put on the exhibition to celebrate “discharge” from services. Having explored vigorously with paint I wanted to share the space with another maker, Jan Goldsworthy, an art psychotherapist at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT). This collaboration was a dialogue, The Good, Bad & Ugly or parenting and mental health.
The next project is under way, I’m looking for other parent makers to platform along side my ongoing practice. This year’s exhibition focus is on education. Since doing FAV17 I have taken my work from the show to a conference ‘Creativity in co-production’ at the King’s Centre in Norwich and to the UEA to teach part of the Domestic Abuse unit for the 3rd Year Clinical Psychology Students.
It is my goal to change how family mental health is viewed by professionals before they work with families, by exposing them to their own emotional reactions.
I will be holding bespoke workshops similar to this type of teaching along side FAV18 for different areas of services and education. The Compass Outreach Team approach kept me and my son together, when I hit a crisis point we leaned into it in a way that is impossible with children’s services and linear behaviour programmes. Our difficult days and hard work was met with robust therapeutic support that enabled lasting change for the good.
The exhibition is an space I would like to open up to the regions therapists to use to explore themes raised by the work with their own “clients”. Plus offer the space for professional reflective practices & exploitive sessions for NFST service staff.
For more information on workshops & bookings please contact email@example.com
The exhibition will be open
Tuesday 16th -Saturday 27th October, 9 – 5pm
Anteros Gallery, 11-15 Fye Bridge St, Norwich NR3 1LJ
We are trying the funding lottery,though if you would like to contribute please do so here gofundme.com/findingavoice-18