About tezbeulah

I'm interested in the healing and redemptive power of art and creativity. I've always loved words and music, so songs are a particular favourite thing. Recently I've begun to explore the possibilities of images too. It's been a real revelation to have a phone that takes pictures, and to join them with words, and maybe music opens all sorts of new horizons.

Nutrition and Wellbeing

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I’ve always intended to eat better, ever since meeting Danny 30 years ago, the macro biotic juggler who could walk backwards down the stone steps in my garden juggling 5 balls. There must be something in it, I thought. However I don’t have that kind of discipline – never juggled more than 3 balls (badly), and rarely been able to eat well for very long. But I can see it makes sense, and that generally the more attention I pay to what I eat, the better I feel.

About 10 years ago I won a copy of Amanda Geary’s ‘The Food and Mood Handbook’ and it really impressed me. Browsing through it now, I read ‘food is more than fuel to keep you going, and what you choose to put in your mouth can influence the state of your mind. Greater control of your moods and energy levels is possible through exploring the links between diet, nutrition and emotional and mental health.’ The only thing that stands out in my memory is how brilliant sweet potatoes are – I don’t think I ever touched one before, but I’ve enjoyed them ever since. I’m ashamed to see that my rizla paper marker is stuck at page 23, and that I never got on to chapters like ‘Brain Chemicals and Gut Feelings’, ‘Caffeine and Chocolate’ or ‘Good Mood Foods’ (there are tons of them). Why is looking after myself such hard work?

Anyway now Leeds Mind’s Peer Support service, which has already been the subject of a post on these pages in March, is about to run a six week Nutrition and Wellbeing Course, aimed at providing us with an understanding of basic nutrition and how it can affect our mental wellbeing. They say “using fun and interactive tools, and discussing our positive and negative associations with food, the sessions aim to improve our ability to make healthier, balanced food choices that will help our mental and physical selves.”

Sessions will include; Food and Mood, Basic Nutrition and Eating Socially. The course will run on Tuesdays, 1:00 – 3:00pm, 4th June through to 9th July.

They want to be sure that attendees feel they will get what they need from the course before attending, and want interested persons to meet with a facilitator, who will explain the content of the course and what it involves. The bad news is that meetings will be held tomorrow on Friday 24th May, from 12.00 – 4:00pm at Clarence House in Horsforth – sorry it’s so late in the day telling you this. The meetings will be on a one-to-one basis (rather than a group activity), and will be 15 minutes long. To book one you need to ring Leeds Mind on 0113 305 5802 or email luke.rushworth@leedsmind.org.uk

The publicity also says that If you will struggle with attending on 24th May, a telephone call may be arranged at a time that suits you, so even if you pick up this information after the event there may still be a chance of getting on the course. Go for it. Remember, you are what you eat, and you don’t want to be a pork pie all your life, do you?

Terry

porkpie

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Slow Art

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The Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery at Leeds University is well worth a look. It’s very easy to find – just go up the steps of the Parkinson Building at Leeds University, the big white building that’s visible from just about anywhere in Leeds, go through the revolving doors and the gallery is just to your left. They have a permanent collection there which is interesting, including a painting of Whitelocks bar which was used by the BBC for a recent programme about poetry in Leeds, (which you have just two days to listen to on iPlayer!!). There is always also a temporary collection – at the moment it’s Jewish Artists in Yorkshire. There’s lots of Jacob Kramer, who gave his name to our local art college, and some paintings by Joash Woodrow, who caused something of a sensation after his death in 2006 when a thousand art works were found at his home in Chapeltown, where he’d lived as a recluse after having a breakdown in the 1950s. My favourite from this exhibition was a large piece by Gillian Singer – 49 panels of photographs and other images of Jewish family life – it takes a whole wall so you don’t really get the effect from my photograph of the postcard!

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This Saturday there’s a special event at the Gallery. I’ll let the gallery publicity explain in its own words: “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see. This month’s motto is borrowed from Henry David Thoreau and the Slow Art Movement who put it on their banner. What is ‘Slow Art’? The movement believes that when people look at art slowly, they make discoveries. By looking closely, you won’t require an expert to explain things to you. Slow Art unlocks your own creativity and passion for art!
Slow Art Day this Saturday, 27 April 2013, asks everyone to visit an art gallery to look at art slowly. Look at just 5 artworks for 10 minutes each, and see what happens. Get some friends together, and discuss your findings over lunch! Or join us for ‘Linger Longer’ – the only official Slow Art Day activity in Leeds!
Just in time for these contemplative exercises, the Gallery has plenty for you to feast your eyes upon. Our new exhibition ‘Jewish Artists in Yorkshire’ reveals and celebrates treasures by artists of Jewish heritage, in honour of the Leeds Jewish community’s 150th anniversary celebrations. We’ve got lovely artists’ books from Herbert Read’s collection still on display until this weekend. And of course, all kinds of events, exploring topics as diverse as ‘The Paradox of the Modern Jewish Artist’ to making puppets!”

Wellbeing Web workshop at Inkwell next Tuesday

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Social Media surgeries have been getting very popular in the last couple of years, as places where people who have some information and knowledge about social media give their time to help people who want to learn. For people involved in mental health, either as workers or people with direct experience, there’s now a free regular social media surgery every second Tuesday of the month at Inkwell Community Arts Centre in Chapel Allerton, 3.30 to 5 p.m. And next Tuesday Leeds Wellbeing Web will be running a workshop there!

I first went to a social media surgery about a year ago, knowing virtually nothing about blogging, tweeting etc. but wanting to learn because of a growing interest in Leeds Wellbeing Web. It was actually a really nice experience. An experienced blogger took me aside and worked with me one to one for about an hour, answering my naive questions, and generally being extremely kind and patient. The surgery next Tuesday at the Inkwell is being run by Leeds Mind and Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, and their blurb says ‘our surgeries are a safe space to learn about how to use the web and social media to communicate, campaign or collaborate. It is relaxed and informal, offering a friendly helping hand and no jargon’. Whatever you want to learn about – WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, or any of the millions of other things out there, chances are someone will be able to help you work it out, or at least point you in the right direction. If you want to know more about the event as a whole go to:
http://www.leedsandyorkpft.nhs.uk/_documentbank/2248_Social_media_leaflet_JAN_13_2.pdf

Tuesday would also be a great time to come along and meet members of Leeds Wellbeing Web (see above planning what we’ll be doing on Tuesday). We are cheerful amateurs, learning all the time about this, but we do jointly have a vision for a living online space where people with experience of mental health issues (as we all are) can talk to each other about what it is about this city that helps us to survive. We’ll be there from 3.30 to 5 to talk about how we came to set the Wellbeing Web up, what we’ve been doing, and what we plan to do next. You can sign up for the workshop at:
http://www.eventbrite.com/event/5948715769

If you want to know more, or want to volunteer as a ‘surgeon’, contact Sarah on 0113 3055989 or e-mail communications.lypft@nhs.net

DSC00234I was tired after watching Christian and Vicky work so hard

Radio Time To Change

Leeds will soon have its own radio show dedicated to mental health and well being issues. South Leeds Community Radio, a 24 hour online radio station, has been running a training course in conjunction with local anti-stigma campaigners Time to Change Leeds to teach volunteers the skills to run their very own radio shows.

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When Time to Change Leeds organiser Tricia Thorpe invited me to attend the training as a Leeds Wellbeing Web rep I had visions of Frasier, one of my favourite 90s sit coms, based on the radio show the psychiatrist ran in Seattle. But this is a lot different, because the people running the show will be people with lived experience of mental health issues – not a psychiatrist in sight.

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On the second session of the five week training course, ex BBC man Jaz, the station Manager, showed us how to work the faders, balance the gain, cue in the CD players, and generally run a chat show format, with scintillating conversation interspersed with favourite music tracks. I would never have thought being a DJ was something I could do, and it was strangely exhilerating to have the equipment explained and demystified – it’s not as hard as you’d think.

Tricia’s ambitions are running high. She has plans for Desert Island Disc scenarios with local mental health celebs like Niccola Swan, Manager of Leeds Mind. There’ll also be personal stories and opinions by people with lived experience, news, information, music spots where people can nominate songs with a special significance, and performances by local poets and musicians. In fact its a very open format, and still in the planning stage, so anything could happen.

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The show will run for an hour every month, and is planned to start at the end of April or early in May, so watch this space. If you have any great ideas you think would work on radio, let us know and we’ll pass them on, or contact Time To Change Leeds direct on their website or through:

Address: Volition, Suite 17D,  Joseph’s Well, Hanover Walk, Leeds, LS3 1AB

Telephone: 0113 242 1321

Mobile: 07577 770972

The Emotional Impact of Trauma

Don’t miss the free event at the Royal Armouries on Friday January 25th from 6.30 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. called ‘The Emotional Impact of Trauma’, which ‘offers the opportunity to learn more about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and how it can affect those who suffer from it.’ There’ll be talks from James Allen, whose photographs are currently showing as part of the ‘A War Within’ exhibition (see more below); Peter Carruthers, who describes the vision for his film ‘Fallout’, and Simon Buckden, a PTSD sufferer. You’ll also have the chance to see the ‘A War Within’, and ‘Fallout’.

The ‘War Within’ exhibition was launched in October, as part of the Love Arts Leeds Festival, and finishes on 8 February 2013. It’s billed as suitable for:everyone, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. I attended the launch, so here are some images to whet your appetite.

A War Within is really worth a look. Photojournalist James Arthur Allen interviewed a whole range of people, many soldiers, but also people who have suffered childhood trauma, or domestic violence. It sounds as if it might be overwhelmingly heavy, and it is hard to read about what people have been through, and see the effect it’s had. But it’s also very moving, and in the end uplifting to see and read about how people have struggled to heal, and to continue to live – to see images of, for instance Martin, haunted by memories of his time in Iraq, with the medals he’d unsuccessfully tried to sell on e-bay, or hear about Simon’s experiences on active duty in Bosnia.

The exhibition is human size – there are only about 40 images, with a little text with each one to give context. There are recordings of several people talking you can listen to on headphones, which adds another dimension. There’s also a brilliant cartoon from Fettle Animation depicting the effect of returning from war, needing and finding help for Post Traumatic Stress.

The ‘official’ release about this exhibition says ‘A War Within raises awareness of mental health difficulties, such as depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), experienced by veterans and the wider Armed Forces’ community.

With recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the mental health of veterans has not been far from the political agenda, attracting widespread media interest and scrutiny. As serving personnel leave the Armed Forces, the responsibility for healthcare is transferred to the NHS.

A War Within is a photographic exhibition exploring the effects of war from the perspective of its subjects – giving them a voice and educating the viewer.

James Arthur Allen is a UK-based freelance photojournalist, who graduated from University College Falmouth in 2012 with a First Class Honours degree in Press and Editorial Photography. He has also undertaken hostile-environment training in preparation for his career as a photojournalist.

The exhibition is a unique partnership with the Love Arts Leeds Festival, and Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s Vulnerable Veterans and Adult Dependants’ Service.

Visitor Feedback
“Using art to look at these issues opens a lot of minds…”

“Very well organised, superb exhibition, well done”

“Great partnership work makes Royal Armouries relevant to current issues”

“Didn’t realise how wide reaching PTSD was before seeing this exhibition”

“Really good exhibition, very good way of getting people to talk about a relevant topic”

“I really enjoyed the speeches and found the photo’s really powerful, thank you”

“Fantastic idea and concept, would love to see more”

“Really innovative, great collaborations, genuinely inspiring”

“Brilliant photography from James, welcoming atmosphere – warm reception. Inspiring and intimate talks from everyone involved. Great exhibition.

Raise the Roof at Swarthmore

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Swarthmore Education Centre has been running courses for 104 years from the little terrace in Woodhouse Square just round the corner from Joseph’s Well. It’s amazing what you can do there. Over the last 30 years I’ve started courses in classical guitar (the short-lived ‘Segovia’ phase), mime (the even shorter ‘Bowie’ period). radical psychology (the noisy ‘Reichian’ year), and British Sign Language (beginners – even that was a bit too advanced). In truth the only thing I really stuck at was the People’s Choir, a weekly gathering of about 50 of us, which I had great fun at for several years. Ok I wasn’t a great student, but the fact was I was able to have a go at all those things, and learned some interesting stuff.

In the Summer Leeds Wellbeing Web had our 2nd set of training at Swarthmore and as the course tutor I loved the relaxed atmosphere and the general friendliness. Staff seemed quite happy to be confronted by enthusiastic community journalists eager to try out their interviewing and camera skills. One particular piece of footage never quite made it to the blog at the time but it was about Swarthmore’s roof fund – here it is for the first time:

http://youtu.be/jtUCZbzU0yQ

After 150 years the old roof was getting a bit leaky, so this year has seen the replacement of 4 of the rooves of the historic pre-Victorian buildings that make up Swarthmore. That still leaves 2 to do and it’s massively expensive, so more funds are needed, and the lovely people at Swarthmore are having a party – and you’re invited! Maggie says “Everyone is welcome to attend ‘Raise the Roof’, Swarthmore’s Christmas Reggae Party with reggae music from DJ Peter James and reggae band Mojah. This takes place on Friday 14th December from 7.30pm – midnight. There’s a licensed bar, and food to share (free).

Tickets £5 in advance or on the door – available from Swarthmore’s café or reception. All funds raised will go towards Swarthmore’s Roof Appeal.

See http://www.swarthmore.org.uk for more details or about any of the amazing things you can do at Swarthmore. (There’s an open day on 3rd January, 10.30 – 1.30 and 5 -7 p.m. if you want a look around). You can always just send them a cheque to them at 2-7 Woodhouse Square, Leeds LS3 1AD, or drop in and check out the good, cheap community cafe, and free craft cafe every Wednesday.

We Are Poets – free screening of an inspirational local film

We Are Poets

There are FREE tickets available for the screening of We Are Poets, this Friday 7th December 2012, 4 p.m. at Hyde Park Picture House, Hyde Park, Leeds. I saw this film a few months ago, when Benjamin Zephaniah turned up to say how brilliant he thought it was (see his comment below). It really is a great story of a group of young local poets from Chapeltown who travel to the US to take part in a poetry slam competition there. You follow their individual stories as they prepare, then travel to America. It features great local poets like Khadijah Ibrahim and Rommi Smith. Rommi says of it ‘It’s an inspirational film – an affirmation of the transformational power of poetry, it’s also a story of Leeds. I’d be inclined to turn up early on the day, as there are likely to be queues.’

Check it out at the Hyde Park’s listings, and read a review from the Guardian here. 

Synopsis: WE ARE POETS follows six young poets from Leeds over the course of one very special year, as they are chosen to represent the UK at Brave New Voices, the most prestigious poetry slam in America. From their inner city lives to a stage in front of the White House in Washington DC, the poets must prepare for the journey of a lifetime. Cinematic, honest and deeply personal,WE ARE POETS is a testament to the power of creativity, community and the dynamism of young people. Anyone tempted to dismiss today’s youth as apathetic better pay heed: here is electrifying evidence to the contrary.
Free screening – part of the Centre for World Cinemas at the University of Leeds’ Language/Cinema Conference. Tickets not needed – just turn up on the day

Critical reaction:

From its utterly brilliant opening, through to its moving finale, ‘We Are Poets’ is inspirational!
SHEFFIELD DOC FEST
Amazing…It’s poetry itself. Poetry is an art, filmmaking is an art, it takes great sensitivity to bring them together – this film shows us how it’s done!
BENJAMIN ZEPHANIAH