If this was ordinary life, at this time of year we would find ourselves fully booked for workshops and speaking events- people wanting to hear more about our story and work as they take time to reflect, raise awareness, challenge stigma and think about mental health- during mental health awareness week.
When I was reflecting on the theme of this year’s mental health awareness week- ‘kindness’ I remembered a quote that someone from the studio said in February this year…
‘I’ve got a role to give as much as I receive’
Kindness is abundant in our studio because of the sense of community- collective kindness involves the active participation of everyone in their own way in their own time.
We all rely on each other #CollectiveKindness
The studio is a unique place… nobody walks through the door asking “what do I get out of this today?” and the team aren’t there patting themselves on the back for the support they give to the members – because we’re all there to support each other… we’re a community, one based on kindness and friendship. We’re not in it for ourselves and the self-gratification we get from helping or getting helped. We lift each other up and look out for each other… even now in this crazy new world. We go through life side by side, whether that’s making and creating together, or picking up the phone to one another or grabbing a coffee together.
Together we are finding ways to live life #CollectiveKindness
Acceptance for who I am. We come from all walks of life, with many different experiences- and the studio makes space for all of that, for all of life and all of me, by creating a level playing field- where we all play.
‘I am part of something and it makes a difference’ #CollectiveKindess
We are all involved in the things that make a difference everyday- conversation, ideas, listening, laughter, friendship and cake!
We are now operating very differently and whilst these are difficult times, we are finding a way through with creativity, purpose, silliness, friendship and the help of wifi.
And we are now ready to open again for new referrals in a virtual studio. Our virtual studio is open to adults…
living with severe and enduring mental health illness who at this time are experiencing mental health challenges that cause difficult and unwanted behaviours and feelings advised to self-isolate for 12 weeks
…for creative challenge, a sense of purpose and friendship
This virtual studio will maintain, as much as possible, the core values on which our studio space in Oswestry is founded. We hope to provide you with a creative safe space in which you can flourish. We do not want to simply pass the time, we can be active and questioning, and within a creative community you can exceed personal expectations and those of others.
Our virtual studio will consist of ten weekly sessions, led by an artist, covering a variety of skills and techniques that you will be able to achieve at home. At the end of the course, in weeks 11 and 12, a collective piece will be created from the work produced, pulled together by the lead artist and offered back to you as a downloadable work to print out and keep.
Each group of new participants will be limited to eight people and in addition to the workshops there will be opportunities to share work, talk in smaller groups and be part of a community supported by artists and people who will listen.
What can you expect from us. We will:
Facilitate a creative, supportive and interactive community
Provide you with some materials (there will also be a list for you to provide) and the training to learn and develop your creative skills.
Provide guidelines and support to access private zooms and a private Instagram account
What you will need to participate:
Access to the internet
A device to get online (preferably with a camera) to use email, zoom and Instagram (you do not need to be familiar with these in advance)
Access to some basic art materials- pencils, paper, scissors
What do we expect from you:
An interest in being creative, but no experience is necessary
Make every effort to carry out the tasks each week and participate groups
To let us know if you no longer wish to participate in the programme
If you are interested in working creatively & being part of a supportive community talk to your GP or Mental Health Worker and ask them to email stuart @ designsinmind.co.uk for a referral form.
There is more information about the Virtual Studio on the Need Support pages of our website.
We hope to see you soon.