First of all, can you explain to us what happens in a mindful art group?
The sessions will be an hour long and offer the chance for women to come and relax, get creative and connect with others through shared experiences. We will be using different artistic mediums each week such as clay, paints and collage, and participants are usually interested in what creativity and imagination can offer, but do not need any previous experience in making art!
Who can benefit from the mindful art groups?
Having a breast cancer diagnosis or being told you have a genetic mutation that increases your risk of developing breast cancer can be an extremely stressful, lonely, and challenging time. These group sessions may benefit those who feel vulnerable, confused, or anxious by offering a space to slow down and connect with yourself and others through the art you create. Art making can induce a flow state and therefore is a form of mindfulness and meditation (most of the time without realising!) which can be a useful coping mechanism. Research has found that making art can activate reward pathways in the brain, reducing stress, lowering anxiety levels, and improving your overall mood. The group art sessions can also decrease loneliness and isolation by interacting with others through shared experiences.
Can you tell us more about your background in art?
I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in all areas of art and design; from teaching GCSE and A-level, teaching adult art classes, managing a textile design team, doing illustration work for Louis Vuitton and Dior, and in 2018 I was given the role of North West Regional Director at the Society of British and International Design. I have specialised in Design for Dementia through Stirling University and was given the role of North West Regional Director for the Society of British & International Design in 2018.
I’m passionate about being creative and helping other people through art. Having worked with people experiencing mental health difficulties in schools and a local arts for recovery charity, I saw first-hand the positive impact that art can have on people, so I decided to further my practice by studying for a Masters degree in Art Psychotherapy.
Why did you choose to work with Prevent Breast Cancer?
Like so many people, breast cancer has affected my family. I’m hoping these mindful art groups can offer a safe space for people to take some time out, relax and connect with others through shared experiences.
Where can I sign up to the mindful art group sessions?
Whether you have breast cancer or have tested positive for a genetic mutation which increases your risk of breast cancer, the emotional rollercoaster throughout any diagnosis can be really difficult to process and talk about.
From January 2024, I will be holding group mindful art sessions with Prevent Breast Cancer in The Nightingale Centre at Wythenshawe hospital. The sessions will run once a week for 1 hour during term times, 6.30pm – 7.30pm and each course will be a duration of six weeks.
The sessions are free as they will form part of my placement and research module, in relation to my Masters.