Anxiety Arts Festival

Anxiety disorders are amongst the most common mental health problems in the world and are diagnosed in about 1 out of 20 adults in Britain. Anxiety is experienced by everyone at times and is perfectly normal. However, generalised anxiety disorder is more constant and harder to control and can often affect and disrupt everyday life. By focusing on an all too common experience, Anxiety 2014 aims to open up wider conversations about mental health issues, and to demystify and tackle any associated stigma.

There is also a close relationship between mental disturbance, anxiety and modernism in the arts. The emergence of psychoanalysis at the turn of the twentieth century had a profound impact on artists who were breaking away from classical conventions of representing the world. This new insight into the psyche influenced artistic vision by focusing on the unique perception that comes from individual experience.

The twentieth century also unleashed a series of rapid social, cultural and political changes that caused deep anxieties for individuals and societies, making an indelible impression on the arts as well as our sense of wellbeing. The festival’s visual arts, film, communities and performing arts programmes look at the relationship between anxiety and modernity and how feeling anxious has become part of our contemporary condition.

The Mental Health Foundation is the leading charity in the fields of mental health research, policy studies and integrated service development. Established in 1949, the Foundation is committed to reducing the suffering caused by mental ill health and to helping everyone to lead mentally healthier lives by tackling stigma and discrimination, carrying out research and developing practical solutions for better mental health services.

Errol Francis, Festival Director