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Our creative partners #3: Art4Minds

Waterloo Festival thrives on creative partnerships and bringing professionals from the world of art and music together, showcasing their wonderful work to our communities in Waterloo, Lambeth and - thanks to the marvels of the internet - elsewhere. In this series, we meet some of our creative partners for 2020.

Today Art4Minds are kicking off their week-long takeover of our Instagram, in time for Mental Health Awareness Week. We want to introduce the duo behind the organisation, Sara Stenbæk and Chris Webster, and tell you a little about the work that they're doing.

Art4Minds is a collective that explores the healing potential of shared creative expression. They deliver workshops and events that aim to promote conversation, collective support, and knowledge sharing and facilitate a supportive, non-judgemental and confidential space for participants to reflect on personal and group themes. They recognise that everyone has something to offer and are committed to upholding respect and awareness around diversity and inclusivity.

The group operate on a wide base of influences including critical pedagogy, theatre of the oppressed, and post-capitalist economics. Their aim is to challenge and hold a critical stance towards the status quo and of capitalism in its latest mutation.

Art4Minds believe in the power of grassroots collective care, and this is infused in everything that they do. They aim to create a viable alternative and supplement to traditional mental health support, and operate on a solidarity economy where no-one is turned away due to lack of funds.

Consisting of Sara Stenbæk and Chris Webster, plus occasional contributors the team brings experience from various art and psychotherapeutic backgrounds.

Sara Stenbæk

Sara Stenbæk was born in Sorø, Denmark in 1987 and is a contemporary dancer, artist and community worker currently living and working between London and Berlin. Sara’s work explores mental health, self-healing, play and collective care through movement and visual art. Deeply rooted in Radical Pedagogy, Sara’s practice is reflective and focuses on facilitating spaces for people to share their stories. Sara’s work often reflects her own experience of mental and emotional distress and her encounters with the mental health system as a service-user. With this ‘expert through experience' approach she instigates conversations around institutional critique and the impact Neoliberal politics and Capitalism have on our mental health.

Sara’s research includes: somatic healing, body work, art therapy, theatre of the oppressed, witchcraft, ritual practice, institutional critique, intersectional feminism and anti-colonial theory.

Chris Webster

Chris Webster (b. 1991) is a

London-based visual artist and psychotherapeutic counsellor.

Taking inspiration from Rorshach inkblots, Gestalt therapy, and the films of David Lynch, he is fascinated by the projections between artist, artwork, and audience. Using ink and moving image, his work explores how forms take shape based on our state of mind, unconscious energies, and collective sentiments at the

time of creation.

Chris seeks to flatten hierarchies in creative practice. His working process aims to develop spaces where the unheard have a voice and where the forgotten are seen.

He has held various arts and mental health roles. He collaborated with various institutions such as Whitechapel Gallery and Royal Academy of Arts while working as an art facilitator with Mind.

Chris is currently finishing a surrealist film project, and is setting up a counselling practice that specialises in uncovering creativity and restoring a sense of play.

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