Mental health and the arts – events in Exeter

Posted on 22nd May, 2009

Devon Partnership NHS Trust, MIND, with local charity The Self Heal Association and arts and health organisation Insider Art, have worked together to bring some exciting exhibitions and events to Exeter in May and June. These events explore different aspects of how the arts can improve mental health and wellbeing, tell forgotten stories about the history of mental health, and bring creativity and hope where it is most needed. The three events are • The Eighth Exeter Arts and Therapies Conference
• The ‘Healing Mind’ Exhibition
• ‘Library of Dust’ Exhibition The Eighth Exeter Arts and Therapies Conference is taking place in Exeter’s ancient Guildhall on 29th May. Contributors include:
• Camilla Carr, survivor of a kidnapping in Chechnya ,
• Karen Brett, an innovative artist and film maker, and
• Neil Springham, a leading art psychotherapist who has been working with the Tate gallery. These events are unique meeting places between the arts and mental health worlds, and welcome interested people from all walks of life: there are still a few places available, some of them subsidised for people who use mental health services, care for those who do, and provide them. Details at The Healing Mind exhibition
Mind’s new Promoting Health and Emotional Wellbeing (PHEW) centre, next door to the Picture House in Bartholomew Street Exeter, is hosting ‘The Healing Mind’ exhibition. The British Association of Art Therapists sponsored this show in London. It shows artwork made by people accessing art therapy services facing life threatening and changing experiences. These include many examples of people struggling with the emotional and psychological consequences of physical illnesses, and uniquely include the artworks of the therapists themselves. A  Daily Telegraph review and video about the show can be found at The show will be open to the public from 5.00pm-7.00pm on Thursday 28th and Friday 29th May, and Tuesday 2nd and Thursday 4th June, and 10.00am-3.00pm on Saturday 6th June. Library of Dust
Another exhibition, brought in especially from the United States, will be on show at Wonford House Hospital, Dryden Road, Exeter. Internationally respected artist David Masiel has loaned pictures from the extraordinary ‘Library of Dust’. He captures the extraordinary beauty of what happened in an American Mental Hospital when unclaimed cremated remains of patients were left in storage for many years. Astonishing chemical reactions between the copper containers, their contents, air and water have spontaneously created mysterious  shapes, patterns and colours that are a moving monument to the ‘Lost Lives’ of the old Hospital Institutions.
Alongside this work will be work by Devon artist Carol Harvey. Titled ‘fragment’, these photographs are the first showing of work Carol has been carrying out capturing elements of the old hospital buildings at Langdon Hospital, Dawlish, before their demolition. Carol will be available to talk about the work on the Saturdays. The ‘Library of Dust’ and ‘fragments’ will be open to the public from 5.00pm-7.00pm on Thursday 28th May and Friday 29th May, and 10.00am - 4.00pm on Saturday 6th and 13th June. Other times may be possible by arrangement. Contact