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As a weapon, to ‘other’ and categorise people… a lot of words are outdated and we say those words sometimes with very little awareness of what we are saying.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


Love Arts Leeds Launch at the Light

IMG_0930Tea trolley at Love Arts Leeds Launch 2015…

Love Arts Leeds conference in 2014 at leeds Museum and Northern Ballet was one of our first gigs. So it seemed only fitting to return this year.

Amidst many art works, mini and rather delicious cakes and elderberry drinks, we talked with many people. And a couple of artists were on hand to document the conversations too.

First question…

Do we have the power to end our own lives? A light beginning…

Do we have the right to prolong a life too? At what point is it more easy than living? Abortion – whose life is it? I didn’t want to have chemotherapy. I decided that I was going to take control of my life – Taking control is what it’s about.

I have always been a fighter and a struggler – even though my life always gets worse. I think that it can’t get any worse – but it always does. Yet I truly believe in life. So I fight for life. I think why should we destroy ourselves? Life is precious. We each have the right to live.

How much are you worth?

I am priceless. Though it’s not about money – we are each irreplaceable. Sometimes its about how much am I worth to others…kids, partners, friends. Do I judge my worth by how much they value me? Respect me? Love and support from people around me makes me feel worthy. Worthiness can be easily under-estimated. We need to be valued, value ourselves more. We are each a genius – if we could only remember. Or perhaps we should have worthy workshops. Praise each other. Pat ourselves on the back. Be kind and not harsh. It feels great when someone tells you the specifics of what they notice and like about you.
Simple things can be so beautiful. Being able to pick blackberries the other day made me feel so worthy. It gave me hope.

What stops you?

Fear of not succeeding. Faith. Time/no time. Other people/s expectations.
Something very beautiful or funny or sad stops me in my tracks. Nature.
A kite soaring ove a building being chased by a tiny bird. So funny! What does it think it is doing? A cat confronting a dog that responds by cowering for protection behind a tree, squirrels in the park….its like a show and it is all around us, if we can stop and notice. I love my planet – relish it.

Whoever you are remember you are beautiful. The grass is always greener on the other side…but don’t forget how beautiful you are!

What if there were no limits? What would you do?

No aging, no work, no rules, no judgement so I can really let go. I would fly. What wouldn’t I do if I had no limits? But what of others? Children would have so many imaginative answers for this question, whereas adults just want to sleep or work less!

What makes you happy?

Animals. Animals have beautiful souls.