Shapeshifting Expressing Depression

Creating Visual Languages for Invisible and Unquantifiable Experiences

Autumn 2014, I came out of the ‘depression closet’ – in front of a group of artists. Before this time I carefully hid my depression and anxiety from my peers and the wider artistic community. By this point I had been intensely living with depression and anxiety for the  6 years previous, but it’s onset started long before.

Moving forward, I created a space that I had lacked. The ShapeShifting Workshop is:

  • A 2 day Intensive practical Workshop
  • A safe space exclusively for artists with a lived experience of depression. That is anyone who has actually lived through depression themselves in whatever form this has taken.
  • A supportive space to meet together and explore ways of developing visual languages to articulate  invisible experiences
  • Considering how these experiences might be articulated and shared outside ourself
  • Including timelines, score making, drawing, craft/sculpture, portraiture photography, movement, sound and brainstorming.

The graphs and model that we created were so powerful. I have used them with my own counsellor (Who was fascinated by them) and I have opened up a lot more in our sessions. About three months after the workshop, I came out to my family and colleague about my long term depression which was totally gross, but of course, life changing. Have been able to tell collage yes what I can and cannot do at work. Didn’t expect so much change. -Workshop Participant

I would definitely recommend this workshop to others as it allowed me the safe space and the freedom to look at my mental health problems in a variety of creative ways. …’addressing something creatively can make inroads that can’t be made in other ways. Priya’s insight was invaluable and Hannah helped keep us all a little grounded. -Workshop Participant

That was one of the best weekends ever and it made me believe, even stronger, in the power of art as therapy. Instead of running away from our demons, it encouraged us to face them and give them a shape, dominate them, thus taking a bit more control of our lives. -Workshop Participant

I felt supported and encouraged….’I learnt new ways to explore and discover my illnesses without negative impact, and have carried on using some of the techniques and creative outlets in my daily life! THANK YOU! . -Workshop Participant