UK: Bournemouth’s arts and culture festival, Arts by the Sea, has announced two key partnerships for its ninth instalment. The mental health charity Dorset Mind and Bournemouth University will feature at the newly announced ‘Mind Matter Hub’, an area set up in Bournemouth town centre to get visitors exploring subjects around mental health and wellbeing through a variety of workshops, talks and installations.
Having recently expanded to three days across a single weekend, Arts by the Sea will run from September 27 – 29 across various spaces in Bournemouth. This latest news follows the recent reveal of the festival’s ‘Mind Matter’ programming strand – a concept set to tackle the taboos and key issues around mental health within the festival’s wider entertainment offer. Arts by the Sea, which is free to attend, is delivered by BCP Council with support from Arts Council England.
Each year, Arts by the Sea attracts tens of thousands of people to enjoy its diverse arts and culture programme spanning music, performance art, poetry, film and more. The festival also takes on a new theme each year. In 2019 the ‘Mind Matter’ concept will explore a plethora of subjects relating to mental health through a carefully curated programme. It will explore how the pressures of modern life are contributing to increasing levels of depression, anxiety, and mental ill-health, and it aims to give people the tools to improve their own mental health via ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’ – a study produced by New Economics Foundation (NEF) and recognised by the NHS.
Dorset Mind is a local mental health charity committed to educating people about positive mental health, tackling the stigma surrounding mental health issues and promoting recovery. In the Mind Matter Hub at Arts by the Sea, Dorset Mind will set up a station to provide a range of information about their services across Dorset that will help visitors on the pathway to better mental health.
On its partnership with Arts by the Sea, Dorset Mind CEO Marianne Storey, said: “At Dorset Mind we promote the Five Ways to Wellbeing and we know that being involved in the arts, enjoying arts or just talking about art can go a long way to promoting good mental health. It helps people connect with others, teaches us new things and creates enjoyment, and this particular festival is a fantastic opportunity to get people out and about and talking about mental health in a creative and fun setting. I would strongly encourage people to come along and start a conversation about their experience. Every conversation we have about mental wellbeing in whatever form changes the way society views mental health, reducing stigma one chat at a time”.
Also based in the Mind Matter Hub will be Bournemouth University, hosting a variety of talks, hands-on activities, installations and exhibitions, based on research undertaken at the university. With topics ranging from mental health and environmental sustainability to artist-scientist collaborations, Bournemouth University’s research aims to provide solutions to real world problems, some of which it will share at the festival.
2019 marks the second year that Bournemouth University has partnered with Arts by the Sea. In 2018 it hosted a range of short films and digital media in Bournemouth Square titled ‘Depth of Field: Research through Film’, created by Bournemouth University’s own award-winning researchers and academics.