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SLaM and partners at Tate Exchange:

Tate exchange with SLaM: the art in mind evaluation explored how mental-health related stigma and prejudice could be reduced by facilitating inter-group contact between service user artists who are introducing their work and art to the general public.


Photo by Malcolm Banthorpe

Salome/SHARP Gallery and South London and the Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) AdArt held workshops, talks, film and art screenings where artist service users facilitated creative workshops, exhibited their work and co-created art with the general public.

Members of the public were invited to listen to and interact with artists on a one-to-one basis using a Living Library Approach (LLA)  to exchange views and opinions on art and experiences of mental ill health. Members of the public were then asked, through the Social Contact Questionnaire, to indicate if and how their contact with the service user artist had challenged previously-held misconceptions.There then followed a series of artist-led workshops open to the public that explored the effects of the interaction with the initial participants and explored further ways in which art and inter-group contact can successfully oppose stigmas associated with mental ill health. 

The project was inspired by previous public art exhibitions, artists talks and evaluation by SLaM AdArt and SHARP gallery and the SLaM Arts Strategy consultation, which indicated the impact of the arts and stigma.

Conversations with the academic leads Dr Claire Henderson, Dr Jennifer Walke, and Dr Anna Kolliakou, from the Institute of  Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at Kings were also a key influence in developing the project.

Tate exchange with SLaM: the art in mind evaluation informed Dr Henderson’s research in developing and evaluating interventions that deploy the current evidence base on the effectiveness of inter-group contact for reducing mental health stigmas and prejudices.

Dr Henderson’s work also benefitted from conducting the intervention, which was unique both in its use of art as the context for inter-group contact and in the way that it applied inter-group contact theory rigorously for the artists and the LLA. It also provided Dr Henderson with additional findings from the Social Contact Questionnaire, which she developed in previous research.

For Dr Walke, the project built on her interests in and experience of public engagement, user involvement and participatory methods in mental health research. The project extended her existing interest, knowledge and networks in service user involvement and the interplay of art and mental health.  

Project events

Art in mind at Tate exchange, 31 March - 1 April 2017, Tate Modern

Art in mind was a two-day combined programme shared by SLaM Arts that invited the public to drop-in for workshops, discussions, a collaborative installation, film screenings and art showcasing. The day consisted of:

  • Creative workshops and an artwork exchange with SLaM AdArt and Salome/ SHARP gallery.
  • Exchanging an artwork for a gesture or smile with SLaM AdArt’s project Art for Your Pocket.
  • An exhibition of photographs of the exchange which built a large collaborative artwork throughout the day.  
  • A workshop where participants made origami memory boxes, little men for a ‘mental skip’ and multi-sensory pastel drawings which formed a ‘herb garden’ on the floor.
  • Drop in, experience, and explore arts therapies.
  • The opportunity to join SLaM Arts Therapists and get a taste of how art, music, drama and dance are used in arts therapies. 
  • Information on working with images, music and performance to explore and express ideas and feelings.

Find out more

Read a blog by Lucy Springall here and follow the conversation on Twitter here

Project team

Dr Claire Henderson

Helen Shearn
Helen Shearn is an independent consultant, facilitator and producer in Arts, Mental Health and Wellbeing. She has over 15 years experience working in arts and mental health policy and management at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) co-producing and implementing the Arts Strategy and supporting and leading many multi-partnership arts programmes and projects for social inclusion, recovery and wellbeing, for example leading Art in Mind at Tate Exchange and strategic involvement in the Impact Art Fair 2013 and Anxiety 2014 - arts and mental health Festival.

Helen has spoken nationally and internationally: on arts and wellbeing for asylum seekers and refugees in Finland; on heritage, mental health and dementia for the Heritage Lottery Fund; on the Journeys of Appreciation Programme (museums and older adult inpatients project) for AESOP; for Age Friendly Museums network; the All Parliamentary Party Group (APPG) on Arts, Health and Wellbeing; for the Cultural Commissioning Programme, for Outreach Europe and at the International Conference on Culture, Health & Wellbeing 2017 

Dr Jennifer Walke                                                                                                 Dr Jennifer Walke is a Senior Teaching Fellow at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience. Her academic interests include the sociocultural history of psychiatry, and the construction and promotion of service user expertise. She has also collaborated with a range of cultural sector partners, in creative initiatives for mental health public engagement and stigma reduction.

Dr Anna Kolliakou

Marianne Focke

The Salome Gallery at SHARP

SLaM AdArt

Arts, Health and Wellbeing Programme
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