What Stops Us From Being Well Phase 1

In September 2019 we embarked on year long creative exploration of ‘What Stops Us From Being Well?’ With funding from Arts Council England and othersthis dynamic project explored mental health in three phases, and gave participants a chance to tell their stories and to advocate for change. 

Working with People’s Voice Media, participants were trained in Community Reporting, interviewing and uploading stories to the Institute of Community Reporters’ website.  See highlights of some of the stories and listen to the soundscape below.








In the second phase we worked with artists Len Grant and Ian McKay to create visual representations of the issues established in phase 1. Participants were introduced to a wide range of creative techniques and created 10 pieces of art for an exhibition in HOME’s Inspire Gallery. 

Ironically, our exploration into ‘What Stops Us From Being Well?’ was halted in its tracks by a global pandemic, just days before our exhibition was due to be installed. It finally opened six months later in October.  Read the exhibition booklet here. 






Phase 3

Although our exploration of ‘What Stops Us From Being Well?’ was temporarily halted by Covid 19, we were determined to continue with the third and final phase of the project.

Following two days of training in the principles of Forum Theatre by Adrian Jackson, founder and director of Cardboard Citizens, we worked with Katy Rubin, founder of Theatre of the Oppressed New York, and Pat Clinton to develop a performance set in a GP’s practice. Highlighting the stigma, discrimination, inequalities and barriers which our participants have faced when accessing health care, the Legislative Theatre event brought together people with lived experience and policy makers, offering a dynamic and collaborative opportunity to co-produce policy change.

The wonders of modern technology and live streaming allowed us to perform in line with Covid restrictions, and offer our audience an exciting opportunity to participate fully via Zoom from the comfort of their own homes! It was an interactive and creative way for our participants to get their voices heard, and for our audience to be a part of an exciting policy change process which is being recognised and adopted across Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

Policy documents and resulting action steps can be read here. 

Also our Evaluation Report  can be read here.