Love Arts Conversations – Tea Trolleys and Mental Health.

ae589a003c96730024f6869e994f8375imagesTea and Tolerance has hosted the tea trolley at Love Arts Festival for the past three years. It is an amazing thing to be part of – celebrating people and raising awareness about creativity and mental health.  And as we were unraveling, arranging and preparing pots and questions in readiness for conversations at Leeds City Museums, a short clip of wonder woman and her familiar theme tune blasted out…

Now this was part of the final  rehearsals for a play and I wondered about wonder woman and mental health. And I thought about my memories of that character and all her fascinating contradictions. Was she a Feminist inspiration or failure? With whips to bind men in chains – was she a sexual fetishist or empowering protector? And perhaps,  like her character, like our language, like our culture, it’s a fitting image for Love Arts conversations, offering a potential of creative contradictory and yet still powerful individuals.

How do we use language?

As a weapon, to ‘other’ and categorise people… a lot of words are outdated and we say those words sometimes with very little awareness of what we are saying.

It can be adversarial.

Language can be used to shock as well and get people to listen. A TED talk used it to wake the audience up to actually listen…I think someone like Antony Robbins did that?

I use swearing in my performance poetry. They don’t expect an older woman that looks like me to say the things I do and talk about gender the way I do.

In our family we had to develop our own language. If you hear voices and have to deal with that within a family then you need ways to talk about it. Traditional language doesn’t necessarily offer that.

What is going on?

Well I’m here interviewing people about mental health for a journalist assignment. This is just the start of the research actually. What is going on! – that’s the question I ask myself when I hear the latest news.

Do you have the right to end your own life?

Of course. How do we know if someone wants to end their life if they are no longer capable of choosing. People deserve quality of life and the right to decide when there is no quality for them to end it.

What does Culture mean to you?

Culture is a big subject. Might be easier to answer what isn’t Culture? Almost everything is culture. Culture is people.

Nature perhaps is the only thing that isn’t culture.

Though culture is affected by nature and nature by culture – species become extinct, geographies erode with the ‘help’ of cultures. Like a hurricane will have a big affect on the cultures it hits.

 Love Arts Conversation is a festival-flavoured conference. The idea behind the Love Arts Conversation is to get people talking about the arts, creativity and mental health and took place this year on October 19th at Leeds City Museum.


All Welcome – at Love Arts Leeds

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Love Arts Leeds – 2 days – 3 hours

One trolley, four chairs, many teapots, many people, many questions.

Quiet, flowing conversations…

Of listening…

And appreciating.

Of questions

Leading to more questions…..

Do we need to know each others’ names to talk about things that matter? Put another way can we trust people we do not know? Though I remember being taught as a child, never to talk to strangers, as an adult, it may be one of my favourite pastimes.

We talked about big subjects.


Can we forgive, we wondered? And even if we can, should we? Does an ‘eye for an eye’ leave everyone blind?  How do we forgive  anyway? Does letting go, moving on, finding ‘grace’ help? What about putting yourself in the other person’s ‘shoes’?

What do we actually want? How does ‘want’ differ from need?

Can you ever get bored of kindness, love and joy? We concluded not. Do we secretly crave misery, hate and selfishness? I hope not.

And more questions…..

Does the truth unfold you, or do you unfold the truth? What is peace? How do we achieve it? Can one person’s inner peace spread to bring peace to others? What is going to happen to our beautiful planet in your lifetime? What indeed.

Is it all about the individual?

Could we all just do something regardless of whether it feels like it has any impact?

Is spirituality a ‘dirty’ word? We wondered this as we (almost) whispered the words…
Good vibes and energy, spirit…. Such words can sound ‘off putting’ we thought. So do we censor the words because it might be seen as something for hippies and tree huggers? Should we all just start hugging the magnificent trees? I have hugged a few tree in my life – does that make my words less credible?

Should we sugar coat our message so that it is sweet for the receiver? Or should we just be honest? There are a lot of ‘should’s. Could we just stop ‘shoud-ing’?

If you had the power, what would you do? I loved the literal response that if one person had the power, she would be the ‘good vibes’ and actual electricity  for the whole world and this fuel would have a zero carbon footprint. What if that was possible?

Insights. Conversations. We thank all contributions offered.We look forward to meeting you at a future hostings.

And wonder, what do you think could be a satisfying conclusion?  How do more people share and contribute to this experience?

Could you pick one question and talk about it ? Could you leave us a question here? Which question appeals?

Here’s a few thoughts our guests left behind…

“How do we know what’s right?”

“Big up to raising vibrations of individuals and the planet! Beautiful idea, good to have avow-wow, we all need to connect….

“If you could invent magic drink what would it be? How can we increase our powers of observation? How can we appreciate more? Where can i get one of those magic teapots? Should there be real tea?”