New UCLan exhibit to host artwork from mental health service users

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

Being Human will see approximately 40 undergraduate BSc (Hons) Coaching, Counseling and Psychological Interventions students present their work alongside service users and staff at Guild Lodge Secure Unit and Skylark Rehabilitation Center, two of the local mental health institutions in the Lancashire and the South Cumbria Foundation Trust NHS.

Taking place at UCLAN PR1 Gallery between Tuesday 23 November and Friday 26 November, the range of works of art includes paintings, drawings, sculptures, poems and films.

Lowri Dowthwaite, Senior Lecturer in Psychological Interventions, said: “The exhibit 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 a work of any type of art as part of their studies when it was part of the occupational therapy treatment for the users of the service. Our module aims to explore what it means to be human and how creativity is an integral part of being human. It inspires students to think differently and creatively and the results are fabulous. “

NHS occupational therapist Mark Love led the creative sessions at Guild Lodge and worked with the Skylark Center. He said: “Product art allows us to communicate in a safe, alternative and less stigmatizing way, and hopefully changes the perspective of people on how they perceive service users because we are all human. .

“Creative activities, and art in particular, provide a great opportunity to express yourself and play a meaningful role beyond that of a simple service user. It is really important that the purpose of creative activities is not to focus only on the finished product, but also to pay attention to the actual process of engagement and action – and more importantly, this is great for the self-esteem and an individual’s rehabilitation journey.

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