Love Arts – The Big Conversation

Love Arts Conversation

Love Arts Conversation

The Love Arts Festival is nearly upon us again.  The festival launches on 15th October, so be prepared for exhibitions, poetry, plays and more special events, all with a mental health, creativity and arts theme.

There’s something new this year: the Love Arts Conversation is a festival-flavoured conference which will take place on 21st & 22nd October 2014 in Leeds City Centre. Continue reading

Within and Without

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It’s true to say that for the 3 weeks of the main Love Arts Festival,  art and it’s relevance to wellbeing had been on everyone’s lips, along it seems with plenty of cake crumbs, …including my own!, …why, the memory of eating a  delicious piece of homemade, sticky ginger lemon drizzle at Inkwell during one of their Festival events, lingers still, I read this week that the orbitofrontal cortex in the brain lights up when eating cake, as it does when experiencing some effects of being loved, ….ooh…ah…mm ….cold weather comfort?……I will return!

The party may be over for the festival, but it’s not yet ‘time to call it a day’, here are the still  remaining related events, … ‘Within and Without’ , which is described in the Love Arts booklet as, ‘an eclectic exhibition of portraiture’,…a tongue in cheek look at portrait making,  ‘working across a variety of media, from photography to painting, encompassing new technologies’, ….another self portrait?! no, not THAT one! but one by David Lewis, the Leeds based artist Tony Tomlin did however exhibit a rather humourous portrait of Bobia Dylania, eating corn on the cob!!, Tony a forever young, life long learner in pursuit of his art, uses play on words as titles for his work.

The exhibition continues until January 25th at The Gallery in Flannels store, Kirkgate,  adjoining the gallery is the Food Academy restaurant, yet another of Leeds many oasis, you can enjoy the  view over the roof tops of Leeds, at twilight the buildings of the Victoria Quarter have a fairy tale palace look about them, and will so even more once the city centre lights are switched on Thursday 7th November, at 6.45pm.

Meals and  light snacks prices in the Food Academy bar /restaurant compare favourably with many other central haunts, but to get a tea or coffee for £1.50 in such pleasant and airy surroundings, a surprising bargain, the restaurant  offer talented catering and hospitality students from Leeds City College apprenticeship, the Love Arts closing party was held here, and it was was good to see there that Stuart Harrison from Inkwell Arts got an award for his contribution to the arts,  heart-warming too was that the Peer Support Service, for People Living with Dementia, were also recognised for creative work with their client group, it was pleasing to see Jane Edwardson’s input into the Healing Voices Singing Group, got the judges thumbs up, I was in the choir last year and had balked a little when it was requested we sing in the Light as part of last years Festival, but with Jane’s calm and assured manner, along with the support of other choir members, and kindly audience who sang along with us for the final song, I managed  ‘butterfly’ free, for someone who for many years found it hard to say boo to a goose!, a big achievement.

Love Music is the subject of an additional event. a film documentary, scheduled for  November 21st, at Trinity Church, Boar Lane, Leeds, tickets £7.50 information about the musicians, theme of the film and tickets available here 

Did the Festival achieve its aims? that of getting people thinking and talking about the experience of living with mental illness, or its residual effects and treatments? Has it been a success? those able to be involved or observe will undoubtedly say yes, but this year the Centre of Medical Humanities at Leeds University worked with the Love Arts team and some of its participants in conducting  research as to its outcomes, what their thoughts  on  the upshot  of this and similar cultural events were, how valuable they might be in improving  the public’s perception and understanding of people with lived experience of mental illness, results of the research are awaited with anticipation.

The art work on display in the Light during the early days of the exhibition, gave evidence that peoples creativity has not been stifled by their experiences with mental health issues, It was good to see that the public were more than willing to own an original art piece, and pay the market price, well done to the artists for displaying their creations, it’s often risky displaying creative pieces to others, and I know what a confidence boost it was, to those known to me who managed to sell their work.

Preparation and planning for this event which has taken place  annually for the last three years, is in its self a work of art, and a labour of love, some laboured so hard their physical health took a dip, the additional change of season and clock turning might well put many  at risk, so it’s time to cosset oneself a little, especially if mood fluctuation is a problem normally.

I’m not sure how soon the Love Arts  organisers start planning for the next Festival, but most of us know how much coordination, planning and cooperation goes into getting even simple projects up and running, so a big thanks of appreciation goes to them, and of course to the participants, audience and sponsers without whom it could  not be a success, so a big cheer for them too.


Love Arts Festival – The Word Emporium

Love Arts Festival logo

I’m volunteering again with Love Arts, this time at The Word Emporium on Wednesday 16th October.  If anyone is interested, it’s an open-mic night for poetry, being held at Trinity Church on Boar Lane from 6.30pm.

Continue reading



It’s this time of the year again.  Love Arts Festival Leeds is here.

The Festival launch takes place between 4pm and 6pm on Wednesday 2nd October 2013 and will be within the Light, on the Headrow..

 Come along and enjoy the exhibitions and learn about the Festival’s fortnight of festivities.  Love Arts goodies and refreshments will be available courtesy of Radisson Blue and Sainsbury’s.

Ping Pong, the Movie – ‘Never Too Old For Gold’

Ping Pong the Movie is really worth seeing. Specially brought back to the Hyde Park Cinema by OWLS (Older Wiser Local Seniors), as part of the Love Arts Festival, it’s a really well put together documentary about a world championship table tennis tournament for seniors that took place earlier this year in Inner Mongolia. We follow 8 people from the US, UK, Germany, Sweden and China as they make their preparations to get there, and then the tensions of the actual competition. I’d somehow expected a ‘feelgood’ type movie, with a positive take on age, and a glossing over of the tougher aspects of aging, but it wasn’t at all like that. It WAS a feelgood movie, but what I loved was that you got to see the struggles too – the fight with illness and increasing mobility problems. One of the characters has increasing ill health through the tournament, and afterwards has to fight for his life in hospital. By the time the film was completed he’d been successful, but the touch and go nature of his fight put the whole thing, (and for the viewer our own lives), in perspective.

It’s great the way each of the characters is so individual. It contradicts that basic element of ageism that people get less interesting and distinct as they get older. Some of the players in the film are deeply competitive, some philosophical and laid back, some trained hard down at the gym, some didn’t bother. (My favourite was the 85 year old Chinese man whose training seemed to consist of having a beer, a fag and a laugh with his mates, much to the dismay of his obviously doting daughter). The sense of camaraderie and love these people have for each other is really beautiful to see – and the seriousness with which they try to beat each other, and the anguish when they lose, only adds to that. Really a good watch – hope it gets to your TV soon, or comes back around – or see the Ping Pong website for how to get hold of a copy.

One of the stars, Les D’Arcy from Wakefield was present at the screening at the Hyde Park, along with his Olympic torch. He gave a talk before the start, and read some of his inspirational poems.