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Full Potential Arts’ Newsletter Summer 2009

Welcome to the second edition of Full Potential Arts’ Newsletter

Welcome This is the second edition of Full Potential Arts’ newsletter and our thanks to those of you who took the time to give us your feedback – it seems we did a fairly good job on issue one, so the pressure is on to maintain the standard!


Image by Yewcroft Photgraphy Group

Full Potential Arts (FPA) is thrilled to have renewed its main service provision agreement with Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust (BSMHFT) for 2009/10. FPA has been contracted to deliver 193 art workshop sessions in day and residential care centres, in Birmingham and Solihull. The workshops incorporate a wide spectrum of art forms as decided by the participants

Kate Baylis, trust lead occupational therapist, said: “The Trust and FPA have a very successful track record. I am always impressed by their proactive approach to the workshops and the different ways they use art to engage and stimulate the participates.” FPAs’ development officer, Kerry Thomas, manages the contract, and she said: “Our artists are well loved by the participants with many of them

and developing their arts and social skills and accessing more mainstream services.” One of the workshops funded by the Trust is the open access Art Club that meets in Room 1 at the Friends Institute, Moseley Road, Highgate on Mondays from 1pm – 3pm. If you are an independent mental health service user and would like to experience Art Club for yourself, you can visit us at the

and range from crafts and fine art to installations and new media. Some of the outputs of previous workshops can be found on the website at

being requested time after time. As well as participating in the centres, many of the service users join in our arts projects and we find it so rewarding to see individuals growing in confidence

Arts All Over the Place Exhibition at the Custard Factory, Digbeth on 6 July between 1pm and 3pm, or come along to the Friends Institute on any Monday (excluding Bank Holidays).

CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS If you are looking to expand or share your skills, gain some work experience or perhaps do a little good for your community you may be interested in volunteering with Full Potential Arts. We are looking for individuals to help us in a number of areas including Trustees, office admininistration, fundraising, leaflet distribution, supporting our community artists and helping out at events. If you want to be involved with the Charity as a volunteer, please email Roseanne at or telephone 0121 446 6829.

In this issue we bring you up to date with the arts in mental health scene with details of a host of events and exhibitions taking place throughout the summer and we introduce Sheikh Ahmed, one of the talented participants who has contributed to the Connect Through Art (CTA) exhibition which launches at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG) next month. We hope you enjoy this newsletter, and if you would like to contribute to a future edition, please do get in touch. Our contact details are on the back page.

INDEX welcome................................................................... NEWS UPDATE............................................................ CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS ............................................. Interview with CTA participant, Sheikh Ahmed ENJOY PHOTOGRAPHY with yewcroft group....... join us at artsfest 2009........................................ ARTS ALL OVER THE PLACE......................................... DIARY DATES.............................................................. Contact details.......................................................

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Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery helps service user art reach its full potential

A three - month exhibition by users of the Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust’s Early Intervention Service is on display at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG) from Saturday 18th July to Sunday 1st November 2009.

Image of Sheikh taken during the CTA art sessions

The exhibition, presented by Full Potential Arts, is the culmination of the Connect Through Art pilot project - an innovative new arts intervention package comprising photography practice and art psychotherapy. Designed and developed by Deborah Living, herself an ex-service user of the Trust, the programme provided practical and therapeutic support for participants with experience of psychosis as they worked towards developing an exhibition on their chosen theme of self-identity.

wanted to end up with? Sheikh: No idea whatsoever, but I am pleasantly surprised by what I’ve come up with. I didn’t actually think that it was going to end like this . . . to get a portfolio . . . I didn’t think there was going to be an exhibition, and any thoughts I did have of an exhibition I was quite kind of nervous about. I thought it was going to be an exhibition like “just stick it up in a room somewhere”, so I didn’t think it was going to be done on the scale that it has been done.

therapy the focus in creation was right then and there, whereas with the photography it was a gradual form of creation. The spaces were very, very distinct from one another but they were both striving to get to the same goal, and I thought they both complemented each other very, very nicely. I thought it was like a kind of ‘pick-up point’ during the week . . . it helped to pick up your creation so that you would keep on creating - so you were in a constant state of making something - that’s how I felt about it.

Here one of the participants, Sheikh Ahmed, talks to José Forrest-Tennant of BMAG who is working collaboratively with Full Potential Arts and the group to develop and curate the exhibition:

José: And did you learn any new skills at all? Sheikh: Yeah, quite a few new skills. I learnt how to find out things that I’d lost along the way. I learnt how to look at things again within a kind of more artistic frame of mind really- seeing that things can make more than the sum of its parts, you know. Art can exist everywhere and that was something I forgot completely, and everything just became, well, you know, just shapes really, it’s just weird how things kind of turned out.

José: What is it that you want to get out of the exhibition itself? Sheikh: I’m going to learn about the whole process of how the artwork is going to be put out there. I’ve got attached to my work, kind of like in a fatherly to a son way, and I want to make sure it’s got its own kind of way of getting expressed as best as possible - in a way that is good for it, and good for the way it comes across to other people.

José: What did you want to get out of the Connect Through Art project, as an individual? Sheikh: I was just trying to find myself again really. I wanted to find out what the original things that got me into art were, because that’s what I studied at university and what I did at college before . . . but when the problems started to take hold I kind of drifted away from that side of things. I thought “Right, I’m going to reconnect again, I’m going to get back down to the main reason why I wanted to get into art in the first place”. José: And did you have an idea of what you


José: And how have the art therapy sessions helped you in regards to the work you produced? Sheikh: Well, the art therapy space and the photography space were two very different zones in which we were creating stuff. They were both similar in that we were creating, but with the art

José: So you want your voice to be heard? Sheikh: Absolutely. Yes. Yep. Further information about the Connect Through Art project is available on-line. Go to Full Potential Arts’ website at

Enjoy Photography? You Can with Yewcroft When FPA launched its Mindfull photography project in 2007 we were delighted with the outcomes, which included the improved mental and physical health and wellbeing of the participants, demonstrated by their overwhelmingly positive comments and enthusiasm and culminating in a great exhibition.

But for us the best outcome is that after the project one of the groups that formed are still together and thriving. Based at the Yewcroft Day Centre in Harborne, Nadeem, Sue, Jonathan and Gerald, together with new member Bruce, have been meeting regularly and taking pictures together for around two years. Developing their skills with two FPA artists, Simon Hope and Alicja Rogalska, the group have been sharing their work on flickr®, at the Survivor Art Exhibition and are participating in this year’s Arts All Over the Place exhibition at the Custard Factory from 2-17 July. Nadeem has started a monthly photo meet-up where service users past and present are welcome to attend. The Yewcroft Photography Group meets the second Wednesday of each month at the Birmingham REP on Broad Street at 11am - if you would like the chance to meet new people and improve your skills then go along. TOP IMAGE: The Yewcroft Photography Group / BOTTOM IMAGE: By Bruce


11TH - 13TH SEPTEMBER Artsfest is Birmingham’s biggest and most vibrant cultural festival. This ambitious event from 11th – 13th September brings together community groups, art venues and the public over one weekend. This year FPA will be running a set of free workshops at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery to coincide with our Connect Through Art exhibition and we’d love for you to join us. If you have a digital camera or a camera phone with Bluetooth, MMS or email capabilities you can join in and help us put together a live piece of artwork. You don’t need to be an artist or an amazing photographer to get involved. The exciting weekend of events means you can draw inspiration from anyone and anything around you. Artsfests’ theme this year is anniversaries and celebrations and there will be plenty of things to take pictures of so why not join Full Potential Arts’ flickr® group and add your images? It’s really simple just go to fullpotentialarts/ and add your images and remember to tag them “FPA” or “Full Potential Arts”; alternatively you can email your images to and we will do it for you. We’ll print them off at the Gallery and our team of FPA volunteers will add them to a large collage which will be completed on the Sunday afternoon and displayed at the Gallery. We’ll also make sure it is online so you can see your contribution. You can keep up-to-date with what we will be doing as well as being able to see the images we receive at More information on Artsfest can be found at

Artsfest image by John James


ARTS ALL OVER THE PLACE Several current and former participants of Full Potential Arts’ workshops and art projects will be exhibiting or performing at Arts All Over the Place 2009. Now in its third year, Arts All Over The Place (AAOTP) takes place until 17th July 2009 and presents a packed programme of performances, participatory workshops, exhibitions and film screenings showcasing a diverse range of artforms from poetry to pottery and everything in between. The festival happens in diverse locations across the whole of Birmingham and Solihull, such as public galleries and theatres, community centres, open air events, coffee shops and hospitals. Established by the Creatives Network for the Arts and Health, an arts and health based networking initiative co-ordinated by the Recovery and Wellbeing service of Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation NHS Trust through the arts strand of its social inclusion programme, Arts All Over the Place aims to communicate the health benefits of creative activity for people with mental health difficulties. Mental health service users are involved in organising events and exhibitions and the general public is invited to experience how taking part in the arts could help increase and maintain their own sense of wellbeing. Each year AAOTP proves to be a great way for Full Potential Arts’ participants to show off their artistic talents and achievements from the workshops in which they have participated and here are some other events we hope you will come along to: Monday 6th July, 1pm-3pm: DRAWING INSPIRATION –The Custard Factory Gallery, Gibb Street, Digbeth, Birmingham. Full Potential Arts’ ART CLUB invites you to ‘draw inspiration’ from the work displayed at the Arts All Over The Place exhibition at the Custard Factory. Everyone is welcome - just turn up. Monday 22nd and 29th June and 13th July, 1pm-3pm: ART CLUB - The Friends Institute, 220 Moseley Road, Highgate, Birmingham B12 ODG. FPAs’ Art Club meets every Monday throughout the year and is facilitated by artist Diane Taylor. If you’d like to try a new artform or enhance your existing skills then why not come along to one of our taster sessions throughout Arts All Over the Place or pop into the Friends Institute for one of the weekly meetings. Wednesday 24th June and 1st July, 6pm 7-30pm: THE ACTOR FACTOR - The Friends Institute, 220 Moseley Road, Highgate, Birmingham B12 ODG. Full Potential Arts’ Drama Club invites you to develop your confidence and acting skills and to meet new friends at our exciting and fun filled drama workshops. Led by professional and award winning facilitators Rachel Green, Louise Stokes and Gary Archer. Tea and Coffee available from 5.30pm. For more information and a catalogue of events visit – or call Kerry on 0121 446 6829.


Image By Nadeem, Yewcroft Photography Group

Below are some dates where you can see or get involved in great art, much of it produced and presented by mental health service users. 1-17 July: Arts All Over The Place – See the article on the opposite page. 18 July – 1 November: Connect Through Art Exhibition - Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery’s Community Gallery. A Deborah Living project presented by Full Potential Arts in partnership with Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust and its Early Detection and Intervention Service. 11-13 September: Artsfest 2009 – Birmingham’s free arts festival takes place in the City Centre. Full Potential Arts will be running free workshops at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery’s Community Gallery. See the article on page two and watch out for further details at 10 October: World Mental Health Day - activities and events will be taking place to highlight issues about mental health. 4 November: FPAs’ Stress Down Day and National Stress Awareness Day. FPA will be encouraging everyone to bring a little art into their life and in doing so improve their mental health. We’ll be offering workshops and encouraging businesses to have art workshops for their staff. Further details will be available shortly at And remember, if you are a relatively independent mental health service user you are welcome to join our friendly drama and art groups. They are completely free; we even provide the materials and props. The art group meets on Monday at the Friends Institute, Moseley Road, Highgate at 1pm, and the drama group meets on Wednesday evenings, also at the Friends Institute at 6.00pm. It’s fine to bring someone along to the first meeting, we know it can be a bit daunting joining a new group, but you can be sure you will be made very welcome and be able to work in a safe and nurturing environment. If you are aware of other dates or events that would be relevant to be included here email details to

Contact Address: Kerry Thomas, Full Potential Arts, 220 Moseley Road, Highgate, Birmingham B12 ODG, Telephone: 0121 446 6829. Email: Website:


Full Potential Arts Newsletter  
Full Potential Arts Newsletter  

This is the second Newsletter for Full Potential Arts.