HomeNewsMA Project Explores How Creativity Can Help Mental Health Wellbeing
10 September 2019

MA Project Explores How Creativity Can Help Mental Health Wellbeing

A collaborative project between Authorial Practice Illustration Masters' students and service-users of the mental healthcare provider CHAOS Group has culminated with a book launch.

The year-long project looked into the potential of creativity to unlock those places closed down by life's negative experiences and mental ill-health.

Katy Hutchinson, Director of the CHAOS Group, explained: "The project was developed to explore illustration as a visual communication methodology to enable people with mental ill health to make visible the invisible.

"The goal was to create a co-produced illustrated book - something to feel proud of, and with the hope that the participants' journey can impact and make a difference to others in the wider world."

Students, lecturers and CHAOS group users took part in weekly coproduced workshops exploring and challenging difficult and emotional material, where participants were encouraged to find their own unique voice through trust, play, creativity and relationship building. At the end of the sessions, outcomes were interpreted into stories and artwork.

Katy added: "The book follows the personal journeys of the group from these workshops, through the medium of art and written work. Creating a back story of the challenges and hurdles which have been overcome with the support of the art project.

"Art and being creative is another form of communicating without the pain and emotion of speaking about challenging events directly. We hope the book will be used as a research piece as well as a guide for other institutes and organisations to learn from, and develop new ways to tackle the main causes of individuals on the fringes of society."

The book is available from Atlantic Press.