MadforArts: Because great things happen when madness and the arts collide

Community Channel Release - 17th May 2004

The Community Channel has been commissioned to create MadforArts, a brand new web-based and TV project designed to give people with mental health issues a chance to discuss, interact, experience and be inspired by the arts today. The project will also give the general public an insight into mental health issues, while emphasising the important role of art in this area.

A dynamic and interactive web site will be at the heart of MadforArts providing a forum for mental health service users and survivors to discuss works of art that mean something to them, as well as a space for users to exhibit their own artistic responses in audio, video and still images. Twelve MadforArts contributors will then be selected to participate in the making of short films about their artistic insights - some will be broadcast on the TV channel Five and all will be showcased on The Community Channel - available on digital tv. Outreach events to support the project, involving mental health organisations, arts centres and community filmmakers, will take place all over England.

The Community Channel is working with Mental Health Media to recruit and train volunteers who have experience of mental health issues to moderate the contributions to the MadforArts website. Leading mental health and arts practitioners will guide the project at every stage to ensure its accessibility. Mental health charity Rethink will provide a weekly email to inspire subscribers to the service.

The project has been commissioned by Culture Online, the DCMS department aiming to increase online access to and participation in the arts. MadforArts is due to launch in the North East, North West and Cornwall and Devon in July, and will then roll out throughout England in October.

Jane Mote, controller of the Community Channel says:

"MadforArts is more than a website. Itís a unique opportunity to show the rest of the world what great things can happen when art and madness get together. We hope to uncover a so-far hidden team of talented people who will become trusted guides to whatís happening in art where they live. Their voices will change the way art is thought of and ignite fresh debate across the country about madness and art. The Community Channel is looking forward to being at the heart of such an exciting project."

Scottish web development company, ReefNet, have been appointed to design and build the MadforArts website. www.reefnet.co.uk

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