Let’s Talk About It!

Our Story


SICK! Festival faces up to the complexities of mental and physical health. We present an outstanding international arts programme, weaving in perspectives from researchers, clinical practitioners, public health professionals, charities and those with lived experience of the issues we address. Themes are explored through many art forms – dance, theatre, film, spoken word – and through discussion and debate. We present and commission powerful, innovative and engaging work by artists from across Manchester, the UK and the world.  We take the conversation into the heart of the communities where the subjects matter most as well as major cultural venues.

SICK! Festival has grown and evolved since 2013, emerging from reflections on our own lives and the lives of people around us to embrace issues of wider significance for communities and deep importance for individuals. We are constantly guided by those communities and individuals, who ground our work in real-life experience, huge knowledge and immense understanding of the sensitivities of emotive issues. All too often these subjects are kept away from public view and debate. We exist to change that.


Our Team 

Helen Medland

CEO/Artistic Director

Tim Harrison

Creative Director

Steve Vickers

Creative Producer

Zoe Martinez

Operations Manager

Anne Nwakalor

Marketing & Comms Officer

Hannah Hills

Digital Comms & Community Engagement Assistant


Paul Ferry

Duncan Craig

Prof. Sandeep Ranote

Seren Hughes

Joe Strickland

John McLuckie

Alka Ruia


We are looking for exciting and diverse artists to deliver creative workshops and/or facilitated conversations as part of our SMASH SICK! Mental Health Arts Programme. 

SMASH is a creative social prescribing project that offers participants a range of creative, innovative experiences residents of North Manchester who have been referred to us through mental health services in the community.

We are looking for artists to deliver two elements:

Participatory Workshops: Artist led workshops developing creativity as a way of exploring their own experiences. The sessions will be carefully pitched to enable participants to participate in ways that they are comfortable with. These sessions are aimed to be up to 2-3 hours long for a group of up to 10 participants.

Creative Conversations: Facilitated conversations with artists about their work, the challenges they have faced and their approach to managing their own mental health and wellbeing. We envisage these to be intimate events for a group of up to 10 participants.

Artists can lead either a Participatory Workshop(s) or be the subject of the Creative Conversation series, or both.

Deadline for submissions is 12th November 2021. Find out more about the process and how to apply: https://sickfestival.com/news/artists-smash/