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Recovery Through Art At The Salome Gall ery An Evaluation including artwork and refl ections from Artists, Staff and Visitors to the Gall ery By Rebecca Sh amash


The Salome Gallery is part of the Social Inclusion, Hope and Recovery Project (SHARP) 308 - 312 Brixton Road London SW9 6AA

The Salome Gallery http://salomeartgallery.tumblr.com/ http://www.slam.nhs.uk/about-us/art-and-history/salome-gallery


CONTENTS

Summary

2-4

SHARP

5

The Development of the SalomeGallery Exhibitions

6-7 8

Findings

9-10

Operations of the Gallery Exhibiting

11-13

Wellbeing

14-15

Art

16-17

From Artists Statements

18

Staff Voices

19

Visitors Voices Future Plans

20-21 63 64

Values

65

Recovery - Anna Croucher

66

Salome Gallery and SLam Arts Strategy -Helen Shearn Head of Arts Strategy

69

Acknowledgements

71

Conclusions


SUMMARY

The Salome Gallery is housed in a Victorian shop front dating from 1879 which faces on to Brixton Road in South London. Inside it comprises a modern, high ceilinged meeting room space.The gallery shows work by local artists as well as hosting events, private views and artists’ talks which are open to the general public. The Gallery is open at private view events and also on Friday afternoons. Appointments can be made to visit the gallery at other times. The Salome Gallery embraces the concept of inclusion and provides a supportive platform for new and experienced artists to show and sell their work and has links with other local groups such as Network Arts, MIND and Mosaic Club House as well as undertaking collaborations within the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) and further afield. Since 2011 the gallery has been curated by local artist and carer Mary Salome S-Russell and has exhibited the work of over one hundred new and established artists. The artists who exhibit in the space come from a diverse range of backgrounds and life experiences and many have ongoing mental health problems and use SHARP services. 2


This evaluation and collection of artists works has been put together in recognition of the positive impact the gallery has had at SHARP and beyond. The evaluation was undertaken by Psychotherapist Rebecca Shamash as part of a voluntary placement at SHARP.

The evaluation has sought to: 1 Show the artists work 2 Chart the development of the gallery 3 Share what the gallery does and how 4 Consider what has been successful and what has not 5 Reflect on the experiences of artists, staff and other users of the gallery

6 Begin the process of looking to the future During the period of the evaluation telephone interviews were conducted with artists and responses from contributors gathered by email and face-to-face. On 22nd October 2014 Rebecca Shamash hosted an art therapy session and focus group with three service user artists led by art therapist Charlotte McLaughlin to explore the impact that the gallery has had on service users who have exhibited. 3


In general feedback has fallen into two main areas. Firstly, responses relating to the practical aspects and running of the gallery (discussed under ‘Operation of the Gallery’ below), and secondly, responses relating to the individuals’ experiences of exhibiting at the gallery and its impact on them and their wellbeing. This data is explored under ‘Artists Voices’ below, and is divided into three main themes: Exhibiting Wellbeing and Art

4


SHARP

The Salome Gallery is part of the Social Inclusion, Hope and Recovery Project (SHARP) which began as a pilot in 2007 and was formally established two years later. SHARP consists of a specialist team of mental health professionals focused on recovery and wellbeing for people accessing mental health services in Lambeth and is part of the Psychosis Clinical Academic Group (CAG) of the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM). The incidence of schizophrenia in Lambeth is four times higher than the national average and 27% of service users in SHARP have had hospital admission or Home Treatment Team assessments in the year before referral to the service. Service users in Lambeth who might benefit from this service are referred by the local Community Mental Health Teams (CMHT’s) SHARP has a specific mandate to develop novel and innovative ways of working with service users who have been diagnosed with a psychosis and provides a range of effective, time-limited, evidence based interventions. These are aimed to develop coping skills, resilience and confidence and to help people get on with their lives. The team works on three main areas: Mind: by providing access to a range of psychological interventions with individual work e.g. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), a therapy to address drug and alcohol use, AVATAR therapy and family interventions and groups e.g. Hearing voices, Mindfulness, Compassion Focused Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Body: by work on starting, or getting back into physical activities and providing a health and well – being programme. Flow: to help people to get into a flow that suits them though an individualised Social Inclusion Intervention helping to develop strengths, skills and coping mechanisms which could include a focus on leisure, spirituality, education or work. 5


THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE SALOME GALLERY PROJECT

Curator Mary Salome S-Russell came to SHARP via Vital-Link, an engagement group for mental health service users, through her role as a carer joining the SHARP Service Users Steering Group in the middle of 2010. Through attendance at SHARP at the Steering Group Mary noticed and voiced that although there was a great space inside the centre from the outside she felt that the place looked unused and unapproachable. She felt that this was especially significant as it is a place where people are coming for therapy. With the support of the staff Mary began by adding a mural to a back room so it could be used as a waiting room. This small change was so successful that a few months later Mary got the go ahead for the first exhibition, which was of her work. The private view was attended by about 40 people and interest in the idea of using the space as a gallery grew. The planned next exhibition was delayed and Mary then began to look around for other artists, visiting other local organisations. Although a lot of artists expressed an interest none were in a position to exhibit at that time so the next exhibition did not happen then for about a year. In February 2012 AMARDEEP, a mental health project for people of South Asian descent , held a group exhibition at SHARP. SHARP has hosted exhibitions continuously since that time and has exhibitions scheduled until the end of 2016. In honour of World Mental Health Day, which in 2014 took ‘Living with Schizophrenia’ as its theme, the gallery was involved in a 6


collaboration with the GV Art Gallery which involved parallel exhibitions and a weeklong series of reciprocal talks and other events. Check it Here To date the gallery has held over 20 exhibitions, which have included 6 group shows and 6 solo exhibitions by artists who use services, many showing their work for the first time. In all, the gallery has shown work by over 100 artists from a variety of back grounds, including work by professional and non-professionals artists. The gallery has held exhibitions in collaboration with partner organizations as well as by staff and volunteers who work within South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLAM). The gallery supports artists to sell their work and each exhibitor is encouraged to put a price on their work. Any work which is sold is done so without fees being taken by the gallery. Work has been sold at all of the exhibitions held so far. As part of the exhibition process each artist is supported to write an artists’ statement in collaboration with the curator, name and price their work if it is to be sold and also host a private view and artists talk. These events have been popular and each artist is encouraged to be involved at a level that they feel comfortable with. In addition the artists talks and other events have encouraged service users, carers, staff and the general public to engage with and discuss the art work and has served as a useful platform for widening the network of connections with other service providers and galleries across London, further facilitating the support of artists going forward and developing their work. After an initial period of two years of running solely on volunteer support, Mary Salome S-Russell was employed part-time as curator. The gallery continues to be a communal effort with many service users and carers offering their time, energy and enthusiasm voluntarily.

7


EXHIBITIONS TO DATE

Mary Salome - Life is Colour, Love is Recycle Amardeep- AMARDEEP Farid Ighouba- Hidden Art Nigel Hague- Kaleidoscope of life Lambeth Summer Open Esther Smeaton-Russell- Inside Outside Gary Elson-Visions of Tomorrow Emma Lucia Reyes- On Your Head Be It Philip Murtagh- Art Emotional Emotional Art Sheila Stocking- Exhibition of Paintings Hasti Tarzban and Azin Nadar- Two Generations Tag zee-Tagzee Red and Green - A Group Exhibition Susan Spencer Hayter- Lilies of the Sea Anna Maria Amato, Claudia Benassai and Heather Harper- Whisper of wind Jose Gomez- Colores, Dame Colores World Mental Health Day - Who’’s Self Portrait SLaM Staff- Hidden Gems Rosetta Halstead- In Living Colours Karen J Smith- I Dearly Wish I was not Here Nick- What You Perceive

2011

2014

Solo Show Group Show Solo Show Solo Show Group Show Solo Show Solo Show Solo Show Solo Show Solo Show Group Show Solo Show Group Show Solo Show

2014 2014 2014 2014 2015 2015 2015

Group Show Solo Show Group Show Group Show Solo Show Solo Show Solo Show

2012 2012 2012 2012 2012 2012 2013 2013 2013 2013 2013 2013

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FINDINGS

Operation of the Gallery Participants highlighted areas related directly to the way in which the gallery is run. Positive comments were made concerning the support offered by the curator and volunteers and the relaxed and flexible way in which the gallery is run which participants described as both containing and supportive. Several described the sense of being personally involved in the gallery and enjoying the opportunity to volunteer in various ways such as promoting and attending events, or hanging pictures. In particular positive feedback focused on the relationships which the curator has built with the artists, supporting them to take the often very challenging steps of exhibiting, pricing and talking about their work. Several of the participants highlighted the importance of the administrative support which the gallery is able to offer with the production of artists’ statements, labelling, pricing and promotion as something particularly valuable and something some felt would have previously prevented them from exhibiting. Help in terms of the costs of exhibiting were particularly significant, for example where artists were unable to meet the costs of framing themselves the gallery lends frames, or can help with transport costs for the delivery of artworks to and from the gallery. Participants, many of whom are on a very low income, or benefits, appreciated the opportunity to exhibit and sell their work without the concern of fees being due to the gallery.

9


Areas for change were also highlighted, including improvements to the lighting, access times and signage. Participants also raised the possibility of improvements to the front of the building in terms of cleaning, maintenance and the removal of security grilles to make it more inviting. Suggestions were also made about improvements to communications such as developing a regular newsletter, an email list and a website to promote the gallery and about expanding the space available either at SHARP itself or perhaps by touring the exhibitions and providing workshops either for artists or run by the artists for other service users. In response to these suggestions and in recognition of the growing profile of the gallery it was renamed The Salome Art Gallery in August 2014 and a sign commissioned to designate the space as such. A 2015 diary was also produced showcasing some of the work exhibited in the previous years. Some initial repairs and painting work to the building have also been undertaken with more planned.

10


ARTISTS VOICES

Art represents a key way in which many of us engage with and share our experiences in the world. For those who have experienced mental health problems art can be a way to make sense of and begin to rebuild their lives.

For any artist exhibiting, especially for the first time, can be a profoundly confronting and exposing experience. For those with a history of mental health problems this can be even more so.

EXHIBITING

“Yeah, yeah that is exactly how it felt to me and I was thinking, god that I was literally flipping when I was there but I got away with it, I kept my head together but yeah” “The funny thing is for me, my problem is I get paranoid about being seen ... So I really put myself in the worst position I could do, and it really is stressful. I can get freaked out by walking down the street and here you are exhibiting yourself …in that sense it is scarier than being seen as a strange guy walking down the street. I can blend in now.”

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The artists who use services we spoke to valued the inclusive approach of the gallery as well as the containment that the gallery was able to offer. “I think that is one of the good things about this space here is that although it is in the SHARP team it is promoted as an exhibition in its own right ... It just so happens that people who have had mental health problems in the past exhibit here.” “You need something to facilitate the expression of that creative energy, too much structure and it is kind of constrained, but not enough structure and it gets boring so I am always trying to find that balance of like too much or too little.” They also acknowledged the role of a non-mental health professional, or ‘real artist’ as curator as adding significantly to the recognition they felt they got from exhibiting. “ I felt she had had her own personal exhibitions here and she was behind the whole thing and she is a proper artist, so I thought if she thinks my paintings are alright they are probably okay to put up there so I agreed to do it.” “Showing them in the first place was the big hurdle really and Mary was very supportive and encouraging me to exhibit, to put them up... Yeah, to a large degree I wouldn’t have done it if Mary hadn’t been, very positive about it I wouldn’t have bothered” Some artists who use services we talked to highlighted the resilience and personal agency which exhibiting gave them. Their relationship with their art work changing from a private unrecognized pastime to something more significant. “It stops being talk and it becomes real and it’s a scary real, but I am still glad I went through it and I am thinking about going through it again” 12


“It’s an actual job... Now I am privil eged in being given the ch ance to do this, because if I h ad to work proper work, I wouldn’t be abl e to do it at all so its why I want to do such a good job because I am thinking if peopl e give me time to get better then I will show them a good thing can come from it.”

Also highlighted was the fact that showing work and selling it was free. Participants pointed to often significant financial constraints they experience which limit their opportunities to enter competitions or exhibit elsewhere. Selling work was noted as significant both to the service users development as an artist and in recovery terms.

13


WELLBEING The impact of exhibiting at the gallery was explored and a high proportion of those who responded described the gallery as being an accessible place, challenging stigma through inclusivity and facilitating integration with different aspects of their lives.

“I was thinking about connecting different parts of your life, because I don’t tell other people in my life about my mental health, sometimes I think that I am lying. Well, I have never actually lied I just don’t tell them, it does feel like a double life so when I come to places like SHARP it is like the other side.” “When we had the artists talk I just got to talk about my work for ages, that was really nice… because I think creating a world which is inside is quite stressful and can cause a lot of distress, so it is nice to have that as part of this instead of just ignoring it or having it as something which you just have which you just have to push aside and get on with everything else you can kind of like sort of a bit of a community sort of thing” “I had the doctor come along, she loved it she bought one straight away ... I was alright, I was really chuffed. I couldn’t believe it, because I liked her saying that, because I thought there’s something missing here, cause they changed my doctor so many times I don’t know where I am, but the other doctor he also got a couple of paintings from me”. Artists who use services also pointed to the experience of exhibiting helping them to develop stronger resilience to criticism. “I don’t cry about being criticized anymore. Like when I said about that skeleton I drew that upset me so much I was in tears, I don’t get that emotional anymore – I get tearful up there (indicates head)”

14


Attending events and exhibiting in the gallery were also described as beneficial to several artists. “I have kind of noticed the that things that I have to schedule in my time to make, to keep myself feeling okay are like a bit of paid work, a bit of voluntary, a bit of art and an exhibition to focus on so , yeah that is one of the things” “I do need some more sort of structure in my life, I needed to have a reason for getting up.” Several artists who use services expressed engagement and personal investment in the gallery and felt it functioned as a community as well as a symbol of what they and others have managed to achieve. “I just felt, I didn’t feel so isolated you know. Through showing people what I had been up to so I brought loads of people “ “I think I have done what I can today, I have inspired as many people as I can today to do it, now it’s their turn to do some growing, but then there are artists everywhere.” “Well it’s the sense of community on the one hand and then on the other hand is a sense of overcoming what for me was quite a hurdle of putting them up there in the first place” “To know that this is a space that is always going to have art to look at and inspire is good. At the last private view there was a girl that came up to talk to me and she was really nice and she seemed keen to get to know another service user. She wasn’t an artist herself but she seemed to come especially to meet other service users and we started to talk about all the things that we had in common like our medication and side effects... It just struck me that she specifically needed to find other people.”

15


ART

Several participants described exhibiting as having a positive impact on how they and others understand their artwork. “I think what you were saying about showing what you have been doing with your time is, well if you have been working really, really hard on something and no one has seen it and then it is like that’s what you have been doing all that time and yeah well done and it was worth all that time that you spent on it, wasn’t it.” “My friends who know I am an artist will ask, oh have you got an exhibition on, have you sold any, so now I can say yes I have sold some and yeah I have had a few exhibitions ... Filling in the gaps so to speak, so last year I had an exhibition that was what I was doing blah, blah, blah, or preparing for an exhibition.” The experience of selling work was also identified as something which positively impacted both on their understanding of the value of their work and also in how their art work then developed. “So I did well at the exhibition and I have not sold any since but I am still persevering it’s just timing. I don’t want to state how much I made but I did very well, I learned what people liked of my stuff anyway.” “That was really nice because I don’t know out of how many paintings I have painted the only two I have ever done of trees were the first two I had sold to someone that I didn’t know, so I thought that was kind of interesting so it made me go and paint another tree which is probably the best painting I have ever done and trees are my thing now.” “But like I said I was glad I went through it. I kind of got to see what people liked and what they didn’t like, which was helpful. So what was selling and what wasn’t selling I took note of that.” 16


Several of the artists valued the gallery as a place to meet and to engage with others as artists rather than as service users and where therapeutic interpretation of their work was not fore grounded. “I don’t really have that [therapeutic] motive and I am not sure why some sorts of things are classified as art and other things are classed as therapy and I get quite wound up by that.” “All my friends I talk to about art, they didn’t know what I was on about.” “I talk a lot but I don’t get much chance to talk with other artists and stuff and so its trial and error really whether I am right or wrong.” “I also sort of keep my own lessons going. I’m always reading and studying about art and on your own you sort of get lost in it sometimes, so when other service user comes along and says something I think yes, it sounds like you’re talking about me, well not talking about me but you have someone with something in common.”

17


FROM ARTIST STATEMENTS

“I have a long history of mental health challenges. I have experienced many things that I am told are not real. Rather than explain what they are I am more interested in putting forward the idea of a really good use of the imagination. Art making can be a place to create a parallel world where anything like in dreams, can happen.” “I have been suffering from serious anxiety and depression for many years. When I took up painting, I discovered that this was the best cure for my illness. Now I use colours not pills to calm me down.” “Painting helps me to get the gremlins out of my head. It is very good therapy for me.” “Painting makes me feel better.” “Art takes a bit of my boredom away and I like working in lovely bright colours.” “The work is usually done when I am bored. I find it as one of the best therapies going.” “I seek to make unusual states of mind and altered states of reality a subjective experience for all; I want to challenge the concept and value of normality. I have been labelled ‘mad’ by society. My work aims to show that I make perfect sense.” 18


STAFF VOICES

“A good message - positive evidence for service users, staff & visitors that everyone has something of value to contribute & express & will be encouraged to do so at SHARP.” “It is a great development that Mary has started here, because it improves our environment to work in and train in. It gives the opportunity for visual artists to be involved in both group and individual exhibitions.” “Service users and visitors ask about the art work and are always positive about it.” “I work here so I get to see the art and I think the gallery is a stepping stone to further exhibitions, competitions.” “The gallery serves as a reminder that everyone has strength, creativity and a voice – and in my work I can help people to find theirs.” “The gallery had a huge impact on a person who I worked with who had an exhibition here, it reinvigorated him to work and see himself as an artist and really helped me to engage in therapy with him.” “It makes me think bigger about people and gives our clients hope when we explain what other people do and can achieve.” “It is a reminder that all the service users have talent and potential.” “It is just lovely seeing the inner world of clients and seeing them in a different context.” “I find the art work uplifting, stimulating, humanising our work and workplace.” 19


VISITORS VOICES

A selection of the comments left by visitors to the Gallery. “Amazing variety in subjects and media. Very moving and enjoyable.” “The artist is a strong conceived character and this is projected through his life’s work. I found his journey to find a safe, hopeful place in his return to a dream home in his painting.” “ You are clearly highly skilled and I’m very impressed with the work. Well done mate. I’m saving up to buy one.” “Your work is so amazing, I hope you go on to something more and that you keep painting.” “Wow! I am amazed! Impressed! Shocked! Blown away! Well now you get the message. You have an exceptional talent that shall not be hidden anymore.” “Little did I know the talent you have! Continue being the person you are and may more amazing works come forth.” “I am so glad I came. I love your art work. It is a pleasure working with you.” “Thank God that this “Hidden” art became visible to everybody.” “Full of life and love of art. Keep on drawing.” “Very encouraged by the work of the various artists. A beautiful place that does wonderful things in the community – keep up the good work.” 20


“Well organised exhibition – would like to take part myself.” “Thank-you, thank – you – it’s been great to get everybody in the community together and see a variety of beautiful work.” “So much to see and such a variety of work!” “Reminded that art is the most powerful way to express meaning. Very powerful work. Thank you.” “ I am very inspired by your work. They look amazing. The pictures look very professional, unique and beautiful. I am very lucky to be your care co-ordinator. We are proud of you. I wish you the best for the future.” “ Wow, wow. Don’t know what to say. You did surprise me.” “It is amazing, doing what we love keeps us going.” “Good work.” “Really great Bruv. Keep it strong. Bless.” “Full of meaning and feeling. Great work.”

“Very impressive work, strong expressive individual and imaginative. A quite remarkable show. Congratulations.”

21


22


23


24


25


Terence Wilde

26


Esther Smeaton-Russell

27


28

Rosetta Halstead


29

Brian Legister


30

Philip Murta gh


31

Karen J Smith


Doll y Sen

32


Farid Ighouba

33


Jose Gomez 34


Ben Cooper

35


Carol Stevenson

36


Nick

37


Karen J Smith

38


39

Paula Moclair


40

Anna Croucher


Esther Smeaton-Russell

41


J ill Abrah art

42


43

Al ex Harwood


44

Doll y Sen


Nick

45


Elizabeth Gwizdala-Moreland

46


47

Phil Polglaze


Stephen Brewer

48


Anna Croucher 49


50

Karen J Smith


Satch Chauhan

51


Stephen Brewer

52


53

Emma Lucia Re yes


Terence Wilde

54


55

Salome S-Russell


56 Rebecca Sh amash


Rosetta Halstead

57


Claudia Innocent Benassai

58


Marieke Wrigl e y

59


Farid Ighouba

60


Salome S-Russell

61


62

Philip Murta gh


CONCLUSIONS The evaluation of the Salome Art Gallery Project has shown that the project positively impacts the staff, service users and visitors at SHARP. Aspects of the project which were considered to be particularly significant in their impact were:

Providing service users with an opportunity to engage with others as an artist without their mental health status being fore-grounded. Artists being supported to articulate their work in writing and in the form of artists’ talks and discussions. Artists given an opportunity to contribute to the running and development of gallery events in the form of volunteering, feedback and attending workshops and other events. Artists being able to sell work without fees for exhibiting or promotion. The Gallery being experienced as a containing and flexible facility, able to accommodate the various needs of those wishing to exhibit, offering a range of opportunities for engagement. The showing of work by artists who are both service users and non service users without specific mention made of their status. Micro-grants given to support the costs of transporting art work or for framing, and the loan of frames to maximize presentation of work. Increased presence of art at the centre with concomitant improvement in service user, staff and visitor experience.

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FUTURE PLANS

A planning day was held on 26th of January 2015 to begin to consider the next steps for the gallery. This meeting led to the establishment of a steering group to focus on the longer term future of the gallery and key issues such as promotion, development, staffing and funding. The steering group highlighted the following areas to take forward: To become a credible and respected gallery space in its own right. To become a hub and model of good practice for partnership working. To continue to challenge inclusion and exclusion.

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OUR VALUES

Safe space Art as focus Being brave

Connecting & bringing peopl e together

Creating the mould

Enabling

For more information pl ease contact Anna Croucher anna.croucher@slam.nhs.uk or Gall ery Curator Mary Salome Russell mary.salome@slam.nhs.uk 65


RECOVERY Anna Croucher

In recent years the concepts of social inclusion and recovery have increasingly appeared within local and national policies for mental health. A challenge is how to meaningfully support the individuals’ personal recovery journeys within existing often quite traditional services. Mental health services have gone through a period of unprecedented change over the last few decades, particularly the closure of large scale institutions and mental health day services and the attempt to support those using services to become integrated within the wider community. However, the reality is that people with mental illnesses still often find themselves on the periphery of society without the natural sense of inclusion that comes through employment. The Social Exclusion and Mental Health Report in 2004 (ODPM) outlined the need for proactive intervention to support people with mental health problems to build meaningful involvement. It was recognised that it was not enough for people to be physically within their community, but that they also needed to feel a sense of connectedness and belonging . Pinfold (2000) refers to the importance of creating safe havens for people, where they have the space and time to recover and to be themselves, without all of the demands of mainstream participation. Acknowledgement is given to places locally, such as the Dragon Cafe (www.dragoncafe.co.uk) in the Borough, that have enabled this. However, there is a lack of similar resources across Lambeth and Southwark that provide the space to belong and share commonality of interests beyond mental illness. The idea and possibility of personal recovery is also increasingly recognised within mental health services. This has emerged from the expertise of people 66


with mental illness and is summed up through the widely used definition by Anthony (1993) of “ …a deeply personal, unique process of changing one’s attitudes, values, feelings, goals, skills, and/or roles. “It is a way of living a satisfying, hopeful, and contributing life even within the limitations caused by illness. Recovery involves the development of new meaning and purpose in one’s life as one grows beyond the catastrophic effects of mental illness.” Services are currently organised with a focus on medication management and symptom reduction. Working towards personal recovery requires a shift in approach (Slade 2009) and involves reframing the experience of the illness, learning to self- manage it and developing new roles (Slade 2009). This is where I feel the Salome Gallery has worked so uniquely and effectively in working to help actualise this process. Despite being set up within an NHS building the focus is firmly on art, without any reference to pathology or illness, unless mentioned through the art pieces. The gallery provides a safe space where people can belong and show their sense of self. The art is central to the gallery and celebrates identity, individualism, uniqueness, wellness and talent. Within this context mental illness is seen an enabler in producing such beautiful and varied work, rather than as a problem or disability. The gallery has no selection panel or screening of artists, it is inclusive of those who want to exhibit. People are not excluded from this setting or from showing their work and there is equality of work and of experience. Professional artists also exhibit, but no distinction is made. The gallery embraces the diversity of art and people and hopes to provide a platform for new and experienced artists to exhibit and sell their work, enabling many to exhibit for the first time. The Artists Talks give the opportunity for artists to speak about their work, strengths and skills. Their illness and recovery journeys may be a part of their talks, but more in the way this may have influenced their work rather than dictated their life. 67


I also feel the space creates a sense of hope: hope for other people using services that they too can find sense in their experiences and the opportunity to allow their own skills to blossom and also hope for staff, that they can believe in the potential for each person to recover. A sense of hope is fundamental for them to continue to support people compassionately.” Working in this way has involved risk taking and a vision beyond traditional mental health services, as well as a willingness and desire for change. It is a really exciting space that holds the opportunity to bring people together, push forward true collaboration and breaks the mould to work in creative, innovative and bold ways, holding art at its he(art). Working in this way is the future of mental health services if we really want to change things for those we work for; the people on the receiving end of services. Anthony (1993) Recovery from mental illness: the guiding vision of the mental health system in the 1990s. Innovations and Research. 2(3):17-24. Office of Deputy Prime Minister (2004) Social Exclusion and Mental Health. Available; HERE Pinfold V (2000) ‘Building up safe havens... around the world’: users’ experiences of living in the community with mental health problems. Health Place. 6 (3):201-12. Slade, M (2009) 100 ways to Recovery. Available: HERE

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THE SALOME GALLERY AND SLAM ARTS STRATEGY Hel en Shearn - Head of Arts Strategy

The development and evaluation of the Salome Art gallery at SHARP is supported by the SLaM Arts Strategy with the four goals: Building on the infrastructure Developing activators and champions Expanding connectivity and partnerships Raising staff awareness The themes from the evaluation resonate with evidence on arts and culture, supporting the SLaM Social Inclusion and Recovery Strategy and from the service user consultation report in 2011. The following quote sums up the importance of the evaluation of the Salome Art Gallery, from the latest book published by Dr Olivia Sagan, Narratives of art practice and mental wellbeing; reparation and connection which was informed by Thou Art research and film project which SLaM was a partner in. “Art Works. It works on the level of personal communication and catharsis; it works to help build fragmented identities; it works to give people a routine and hands-on activity that evolves, confronts and surprises. It works to communicate; to unify parts of us and to bring us together with others, to open our eyes and show us new ways of thinking about the human condition in all its sometimes puzzling forms.� Sagan (2015) 69


Useful further information and Links: SLaM Art and History SLaM Arts strategy Consultation Service user focus groups Content analysis Report 2011 Narratives of Art Practice and Mental Wellbeing Culture Health & Wellbeing International Conference Impact Art Fair Evaluation The National Alliance for Museums, Health & Wellbeing Aesop Marketplace

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank the SHARP team, in particular Anna Croucher and Marieke Wrigley, as well as the artists and volunteers of the Salome Gallery for their time and support while this process was undertaken. In particular I would like to thank Mary Salome S-Russell, Curator of the Gallery for her time, energy and enthusiastic support throughout.

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