If you haven’t already seen Highlights, the “dazzling annual showcase of artwork by members of Arts & Minds”, you now only have until Sunday, and you’ll really miss something if you don’t see it. The quote in the previous sentence is from the blurb in the Love Arts programme, but it’s really not an exaggeration. This is an extraordinary collection – very varied, in terms of the type of image on display, with photography, straight and manipulated; pencil drawings; paintings abstract and realistic, ranging from the fantastical to simple images of domestic pets and other animals; scenes of gritty urban life and idyllic scenes of nature – but all generally of a really high standard, at least as far as I could tell, as a lay person who likes to look at such things.
One of the artists, local poet Liz Helliwell, has already blogged about the opening last Wednesday – see http://www.lizhelliwell.co.uk/2014/10/light-fantastic/ for her take.
I’ve put a few examples below to whet your appetitie, but they are really rather random – I liked so much of this collection that I’d have had to photograph most of it to give a true reflection. The Light is open from 6 a.m. to 12.30 a,m, daily, and the exhibition is staffed during the day. It’s free and the brochure says:. “Just turn up”. I would.
The images above are Royal Park School, by Jill Setterington; A Daydream by the Water’s Edge, by Ian Gill; Villification by Liz Helliwell; Veiled Garden by Amanda Burton; and Divine Mystery by Patrick Hanratty.
Age UK organise the above event annually, they are inviting you take part. Of this year’s event they say,
“This is the 29th year the Dash has taken place and it has grown to have 12,000 runners taking part this year and is the last event in the Run Britain Grand Prix Series.
The Abbey Dash is number 9 in Men’s Running’s top 10k races, and is now considered ‘one of the best events in the UK!’ The course is flat and fast, creating a great atmosphere for both beginners and advanced participants.
Money raised from the event will help to support older people in both the Leeds area and nationwide!”
World Mental Health Day is on this coming Friday, the 10th of October. The focus nationally this year is on ‘Living with Schizophrenia’. Throughout the week a variety of groups in Leeds will be doing their bit to raise awareness of ways to improve understanding of mental health issues generally, and about ways to wellbeing for those living with the experience of mental distress.
The third sector organisation Volition will be hosting a celebratory event on World Mental Health Day itself. from 11 a.m to 3.00 at the Civic Hall in Leeds. This event is jointly organised by Leeds City Council’s, Adult Social Care, Time to Change Leeds and others. That such events are an annual occurrence, when people with lived experience, the public and related organisations can come together to speak openly about mental illness, is a cause for celebration. One aim of this event is a quest for conversation starters, and to help bust stigma, indeed having experience of mental illness is no reason for shame or stigma. Those of us with lived experience of mental distress can be proud of the ways we strive to grapple with symptoms. Our willingness and forthrightness in speaking out about our experiences can aid others wellbeing.
As we approach the day it is useful to also reflect on this years highlighted theme, ‘Living with Schizophrenia’. What is the impact on individuals who’s symptoms lead to this diagnosis, on those who love and support them and the wider community?
We might also like to consider the Government’s recent report on public mental health, in which the Chief Medical Officer of Health states a commitment to the need for change in addressing stigma. In addition the report also highlights the need to improve support for people who have lived experience of distressed mental health, to retain or find work. The aforementioned aims are worthy and do require ongoing attention, however as the following excellent article by Mark Gamsu points out, many of the causes of poor mental health are directly attributable to social inequality, the profile of health inequalitiies needs raising. Additionally the article highlights the need for wellbeing initiatives that have already proven effective to be retained, not curtailed.
You are welcome to join in or start a conversation about ways to maintain good mental health.
That lady had brown eyes; the shop assistant. She smiled and rustled the bag with a glint. I went on my way, a hand in my pocket, as I crossed the road, and dragged my feet.
My watch says I should leave; its red second hand. A breeze on my face as my hands turn too cold. Imagine my luck, the path is now littered, in cases so small, right below my feet.
Then all at once I see; that brown again. Different to before though no less stirring. Then now it begins, wholesome excitement, as my hat is conquered, in October wind.
As I look at the conkers. “Cool, great” I think. “Yes, I’ve got it…. that’s what I’ll write about” My phone barely has time to blink. Literally tickled as I move my palm across it. When in an instant, Flash… Flash… Flash… and the conkers are remembered forever. Stirring questions in my mind, like a big vat is stirred at a factory.
Indeed, if I may be so bold as to think, “what a strange word”. And why is it so called?
“Conker?” Is it because it…
Conkers the paths? Conkers this season? Conkers the imaginations of kids in the yard? Conkers my thoughts?
Or perhaps, my friend, yours. After just having perhaps partaken, in this little adventure.