Messages to Myself / Survival Techniques

Message to Myself / Survival Techniques

” YAY, I thought I couldn’t write but art work brought it out of me!”

Commissioned by Waltham Forest Council as part of the Great Place Scheme ‘Messages to Myself / Survival Techniques’ was a set of art workshop led by artist Naomi Edmondson and Poet Kayo Chingonyi.

Over 6 weeks in the summer of 2018, residents living with mental health problems in Waltham Forest aged 17+ were engaged in a variety of artistic expression and thought provoking workshops. Many of the people who attended had not done any art outside of mainstream educational provision and  were not aware of the profound beneficial effect being creative could have on ones wellbeing.

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People arrived in different states of mental wellbeing.  Everyone was welcomed and joined in. Using a combination of visual expression and written activities to enable particpants to find their voice and share their thoughts and feelings in a safe environment.  They were coming up with their very own messages to themselves – simple thoughts and tips which could be helpful when they are feeling their worst and that are easily forgotten once people are mentally unwell. 

The project attracted a wide range of people from across the borough age, race and gender – showing the demand for this kind of project. There have been several positive outcomes from this intervention. One young man is now back in full time education, one lady is back in full time employment, one lady now regularly attendes art classes as a proven way to help her feel better, one young man regularly volunteers with a local arts charity.

“It’s been a life saver!” says mental health manager about a young participant

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Each week participants could take home the art they had made as a memory of the moments shared with each other.  A set of 13 postcards were created and distributed around the borough in over 80 locations.  Each postcard tells the story of a real person.

The postcards were displayed as 2 meter high reproductions as a final installation of the particpants art work and thoughts at The Mall Shopping Centre, Walthamstow during the E17 Art Trail 1st – 16th June 2019 as number 69a.

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