As part of our 10-year commitment to Moston, Harpurhey & Charlestown we are continuing the delivery of the SICK! Mental Health Arts Programme (SMASH!), a creative social prescribing project that offers participants a range of innovative experiences designed to: 

  • Help improve how participants feel 
  • Increase their understanding of mental health and illness 
  • Enable them to meet and share their thoughts with others who are facing similar 
  • experiences 
  • Increase confidence in talking about their experiences 
  • Provide new creative tools for exploring and expressing mental health experiences 

Currently we run SMASH! Mixed for adults over 18 and SMASH! Women and Girls aged 15 – 25. 

We are looking for exciting and diverse artists with lived experience of mental health to deliver creative workshops and/or facilitated conversations to participants referred to us through various mental health services in the community and wider city.  

A dedicated Mental Health Practitioner attends all sessions to offer additional support to the participants and help maintain a safe working environment for all involved. 

The 2 elements we are looking for artist for are: 

  • Participatory workshops (CREATE): 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 hours long for a group of up to 10 participants.  
  • Creative Conversations (CHAT): 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.  

You can lead either a workshop or be the subject of the creative Conversation series, or both. 


Between the delivery period of February – December 2024 we will host 10 workshop sessions and 10 Creative Conversations.  

It is the hope that the activities will:  

  • Enable participants to create new personal connections 
  • Support participants to generate creative dialogue and enable participants to look afresh at their experiences 
  • Enable participants to connect with the cultural provision in Manchester as audiences, participants, and volunteers/staff 
  • Develop creative and employability/life skills, raising aspirations and linking to the regular provision of partners 
  • Provide a vehicle for sharing practical information and signposting to other services and provision  

Additionally, as part of our SICK! Festival in May 2024 we are aiming to SMASH! OPEN our programme to present a broad selection of themes and we would be excited to hear from artists who work in areas such as: Gaming, AI, Social Media, Gender and Sexuality, Activism and Diaspora. 



For the workshop delivery the fee is £200 per session inclusive of planning with an additional £40 for materials.  

For the Creative Conversations, the fee is £200 per event inclusive of planning. 


Submission process: 

For the workshop we are asking artists to submit their proposal for a stand-alone workshop approximately 2hrs hours in length with a brief outline of content, objectives, and outputs.  

For the Creative Conversations we are asking for a brief outline of the types of themes/topics and discussions you would be interested in leading. From there we will consult with you to find a relevant focus for the event based around your portfolio and artistic practice. Each Creative Conversation is aimed to be between 1 – 1.5 hours.  

Please send all submissions to Danielle@sickfestival.com  

Deadline for submissions is Sunday 21st January 2024. Please include previous examples of your work and practice.  

We look forward to hearing from you.