Double Elephant Print Workshop
Exeter Phoenix, Bradninch Place,
Gandy Street, Exeter, EX4 3LS
Print on Prescription
For adults recovering from mental illness / January 2005 – present
Since 2005 funders have included: Awards for All, Arts Council England, Devon Community Foundation, Allen Lane Foundation, Esme Fairbairn, Self Heal Association, Trusthouse Foundation, Waitrose, Ecominds
Since Double Elephant was founded, we have used printmaking as a means of working with mental health service users – running sessions at our studio and outreach workshops in psychiatric wards, eating disorder units, supported housing and community hospitals.
Double Elephant recognised a need for stimulating, creative and high quality activity in Exeter within the mental health sector. Realising that short term projects had limited success and not wanting to operate a tokenistic participatory project, Print on Prescription was created for participants to access us indefinitely and become as close to being an independent Double Elephant member as they felt able to manage.
Participants are referred by their GP, Occupational Therapist or support worker or can self-refer. Two weekly printing sessions at the studio enable two groups of participants (one new to print and the other for those wanting to continue on a longterm basis) to access a professional printmaking workshop to create their own work, using screenprinting, intaglio and relief printing, at their own pace. A printmaker tutor, NHS support worker and a volunteer help the participants with their chosen technique. The group are involved in all the opportunities and projects open to Double Elephant members.
In 2012 we won the Arts & Health South West Art Award for POP’s inspiring work within mental health. We are now working with other local organisations as part of Create Connections, a new consortium seeking to offer a programme of creative activity to local people.
Quotes from participants:
“You don’t expect to come to a psychiatric unit and have one of the best evenings of your life.”
“What was nice – it does not have MENTAL HEALTH stamped all over it. The support worker, Elizabeth, prints alongside you, it all felt very natural… Now I have the confidence to be more self reliant and have started attending the print workshop as an associate member and hope to become a full member.”
“I think the length of interaction with POP has been important. It takes time and could not have been done over a few sessions. I now like to think of my printing as going to work and that helps me regain some sense of purpose and routine.”
See a film about the work produced in April 2013:
This film was made with the support of the Big Lottery Fund via Ecominds.