Southbank Centre launches Changing Minds, a new weekend festival about mental health and the arts

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In February Southbank Centre launches a new weekend festival for 2016, Changing Minds, looking closely at the topic of mental health through a packed programme of performance, music, comedy, design, talks and panel discussions. As the debate surrounding equal treatment for mental health grows in profile, the festival probes taboo subjects and explores the role of the arts in understanding and healing.

staged photo of two actresses in long dresses, sitting surrounded by reams of paper with a large drawing of a birds head on the floor

Sue MacLaine and Nadia Nadarajah perform Can I Start Again Please?

Speakers from across the fields of science & technology, politics, literature, academia, medicine, arts and pop culture challenge our understanding of mental health in a diverse talks programme. Topics covered include the inequalities in treatment of mental health for minority communities and tackling stigma, to the rise of mindfulness in treating depression and playful discussions about the role that comedians can play in challenging perception.

Throughout the Royal Festival Hall foyer spaces, a free programme of events provides festival goers with a playful opportunity to explore the restorative powers of the arts.

Jude Kelly CBE, Artistic Director, Southbank Centre said:

“Despite great improvements in recent years, talking about mental health is still largely taboo. The arts have a vital role to play in self-discovery, and Changing Minds festival provides an important platform for discussion, exploration and creativity. We also celebrate great artistic minds, past and present, shining a light on how an experience of mental health often produces extraordinary pieces of work. My hope is that we all come away with a renewed sense of how the arts can open up the debate — and give a fresh perspective on the complex issues surrounding mental health.”

Featured artists include: Marin Alsop, Stuart Semple, Brigitte Aphrodite, Sofie Hagen, Sue MacLaine (click here to read DAO’s review of Can I Start Again Please?), Aurora Orchestra, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, the vacuum cleaner, Luciana Berger MP, Dr Tamara Russell, Dr Dean Burnett, Andrew Hankinson, Rohan Gunatillake, Dinesh Bhugra, festival library curated by Matt Haig, and more.

Changing Minds takes place on 6-7 February 2016. For further information on the festival’s listings, see here.