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Tuesday 2 November 2021

Art exhibition brings together students and mental health service users

New exhibition takes place between 23 and 26 November in UCLan’s PR1 Gallery

Students and mental health service users are joining forces to display their creative work at an upcoming free art exhibition at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Being Human will see around 40 BSc (Hons) Coaching, Counselling and Psychological Interventions undergraduates showcase their work alongside services users and staff from Guild Lodge Secure Unit and Skylark Rehabilitation Centre, two of the Lancashire and South Cumbria Foundation Trust NHS’s local mental health facilities.

Taking place in UCLan’s PR1 Gallery between Tuesday 23 November and Friday 26 November, the range of artwork includes paintings, drawings, sculptures, poems and films.

Lowri Dowthwaite, Senior Lecturer in psychological interventions, said: “The exhibition is the culmination of an exciting creative collaboration between our students, staff, and service users.

"The exhibition is the culmination of an exciting creative collaboration between our students, staff, and service users"

Lowri Dowthwaite, Senior Lecturer in psychological interventions

“For our students, they had to produce one piece of any type of art form as part of their studies while it was part of the occupational therapy treatment for the service users. Our module is about exploring what it means to be human and how creativity is integral to being human. It makes the students think in a different and creative way and the results are fabulous.”

NHS occupational therapist Mark Love has led the creative sessions at Guild Lodge as well as working with the Skylark Centre. He said: “The art produced enables us to communicate in a safe, alternative and less stigmatising way, and hopefully changes people’s perspective on how they perceive service users as we are all human.

“Creative activities, and in particular art, offer a great opportunity to express yourself and provide a meaningful role outside that of a just being a service user. It is really important the purpose of creative activities is not to focus upon just the finished product but also to pay attention to the actual process of engagement and doing - and more importantly it’s great for self-esteem and an individual’s rehabilitation journey.”