Change Your Mind and Inspire work with Belfast City Council on a cultural engagement programme to break stigma and explore what ‘home’ means to us.

Over the past 12 weeks 8 participants from our mental health and addiction services, have been working with photographer Kelly Morris to learn photography skills to capture the changing metaphorical and physical landscape and rhythm of Belfast. This project is part of a wider programme called (Y)Our Home, a Belfast City Council cultural engagement programme exploring what ‘home’ means to the citizens of Belfast.

This project has been so much more than learning to take a photo. Participants went on mindfulness walks using disposable cameras encouraging the art of being in the present moment, slowing down and seeing the world in a different way. Participants also journaled as they captured images, as a tool to generate expression and went on site visit adventures from black taxi tours to the circus to encourage confidence, joy and connection. 

Because confidence, joy and connection to yourself and the world around you are the perfect ingredients needed to take meaningful and captivating photos.

Peter McBride CEO of Inspire said “reducing the stigma around mental ill health and addiction is an important part of our work at Inspire so we were delighted to have the opportunity to take part in this important and innovative project.  For many people living with mental ill health or addiction the concept of ‘Home’ can be a complex and provocative one.  A fact we can see, reflected in the images the group have created.  Yet, by giving voice to the opinions of the participants, by displaying the product of their art in such a public space and by providing the challenge of learning a new skill, this project has been an overwhelmingly positive experience for Inspire and a strong anti-stigma statement from Belfast City Council.  We could not be prouder of all the participants and staff who supported them.”

But more than anything ‘Home through the Lens’ has been about self love. To celebrate this the exhibition will be launched on Valentine’s day. The exhibition will be exhibited on 10 buses around the city from the 14th -28th of Feb –  at 1pm. Buses and public transport can be challenging for people who struggle with mental health and this is a way to reclaim the space.

Lucky members of the public will spend their bus journeys immersed in a moving photography exhibition that translates heartfelt themes of ‘Home’ and thought provoking current issues and themes of Belfast and life that we can all relate to.

There will also be a semi-permanent exhibition in Lanyon Place station from 14th -28th Feb, this exhibition will then continue to travel throughout our schemes.