MINDSCAPES art festival in Manchester and Rotterdam
MINDSCAPES art festival takes place in Manchester and Rotterdam simultaneously this spring. Five works by artists from the Netherlands form the foundation of this festival, organised by SICK! Festival Manchester and various partners in the Manchester and Rotterdam. The digital part of the festival, freely accessible for audiences worldwide, runs from 19 to 23 April 2021 and various 'artist in conversation' videos will be released in the run up to the festival.
MINDSCAPES explores how the world around us – our homes, our streets, our cities – affects our mental health and well-being, in both positive and negative ways.
MINDSCAPES is the result of a two-year collaboration between artists and arts organisations in Manchester and The Netherlands who have been working together with local communities. The five works made by Dutch artists have been created with input from people suffering from stresses in their environment and are also based on conversations the artists have had with care professionals.
The five artworks created by artists from the Netherlands are:
While Waiting, Wait Here
Rotterdam-based artist Merel Smitt has created While Waiting, Wait Here, a digital experience of what it is like to be receiving state benefits, visting the job centre over and over, going around in circles, hitting dead ends and constantly being monitored. The 'game' created by Smitt is based on real experiences from people living in Manchester. It exposes what being stuck in this sytem of Universal Credit does to people's mental health.
Merel Smitt will be shining a light on her experience producing While Waiting, Wait Here at an artist in conversation event on 6 April 2021 at 19:30 BST (UK Time) / 20:30 CEST (NL Time).
Streets of Poetry
Poets Elten Kiene and Sjaan Flikweert from The Netherlands joined forces with Manchester-based poets Saf Elsenossi and Ella Otomewo to work with migrant communities in Moston and Harpurhey (areas in Manchester) to create Streets of Poetry, a collection of new poems that reflect their sense of place and identity. Visual artist Jess Loveday will transform these poems into beautiful designs which will appear, blast cleaned, into the pavements of Moston, Harpurhey and Manchester City Centre.
Flikweert and Kiene will talk about their project, Streets of Poetry, on 13 April 2021 at 19:30 BST (UK Time) / 20:30 CEST (NL Time).
Amsterdam-based composer Yonatan Collier asked communities in Moston and Harpurhey (Manchester) to make recordings in their everyday environments, which he subsequently incorporated into his music. The music is available through an app. Audiences can listen to Collier's Soundpaths while walking (or jogging) through the areas where the some of the sounds were recorded. These localised compositions can also be listened to from other locations, but are best experienced in the streets and parks of Moston and Harpurhey.
Collier talks about the Soundpaths project on 30 March 2021 at 19:30 BST (UK Time) / 20:30 CEST (NL Time).
Manchester Mood Drawings
Posters made by Dutch illustrator Jan Rothuizen will be on show all over Manchester's public transport system. Working with people in five neighbourhoods in Greater Manchester who have experienced mental health issues, artist Jan Rothuizen has used his distinctive and intricate drawings to map out these inner worlds. Read more about Manchester Mood Drawings.
Rothuizen will talk about this project in an artist talk on 20 April 2021 at 19:30 BST (UK Time) / 20:30 CEST (NL Time).
Theater DEGASTEN, from Amsterdam, had planned to make play with young people from Manchester and Rotterdam that have grown up in a care setting. The covid crisis forced them to take another approach. Instead, the theater makers have been working with young people and care institutions across Manchester and in the Netherlands to create a 'living zine'. This project, //OUTSIDEIN//, shows the thoughts and experiences of people growing up in care, while there is a global pandemic raging.
Members of Theater DEGASTEN chat with the people who helped them create a new online zine on 27 April 2021 at 19:30 BST (UK Time) / 20:30 CEST (NL Time).
A lot more will be happening during MINDSCAPES. The five art projects are the start of many conversations.
On 20 April is The Great Debate: Mind and the City about the impact of the design of the built environment on people's mental health, organised by Design Manchester in partnership with Kunstinstituut Melly in Rotterdam.
On 21 April is Welcome To My World short film screenings with two film-makers from Rotterdam and two from Manchester.
And on 22 and 23 April there is a two-day conference about the effects of our environment on our mental well-being.
Supported by the Dutch Embassy in the UK
MINDSCAPES has been commissioned by SICK! Festival in Manchester and is funded by DutchCulture in partnership with the Dutch Embassy in the UK. The festival is the result of a two-year collaboration between arts organisations and artists in Manchester and The Netherlands who have been working together and within local Manchester communities.
The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is always looking for well-established cultural institutions in the UK that want to give their audiences access to Dutch culture. More information can be found on netherlandsandyou.nl/uk/culture.