Penny Arnold Creative Projects Co-ordinator, Making Waves. Nottingham Penny is an interdisplinary artist who has developed arts, photography and film-based projects for and with other mad people that aim to give insight, share experiences or question people’s perceptions of normality. Past projects include Postcards from the Edge for City Arts which explored issues of Normality and Insight in Mind, a film project that aims to show how it feels to experience mania and depression through which she set up Swings and Roundabouts in 1999 to produce and was shown on Channel 4 in 2002. In 2007 the transition was made from video to DVD with a range of new resources being made available on the web. This includes ideas for how to help people experiencing highs and lows and what has helped her and others towards recovery. In 2008, Penny took part in Bonkerfest (run by Creative Routes) with Cut Up, a short film and performance encounter with another Nottingham based artist. More recently she has been developing an energetic project with another local artist, Usha M combining two of their passions, running and dancing called Rundance. For World Mental Health Day 10/10/10 they invited the public to join them for 10 minutes in 10 locations between 10 AM and 10 PM for random acts of rhythm. Penny believes firmly in the power of creativity to wake and shake people up to the experiences and emotions of the very normal human condition, madness. Penny is also firmly committed to improving mental health services and in 2005 began looking at the feasibility of providing an out of hours service for people who feel socially excluded. Along with a larger group of volunteers, All Ours was set up in February 2006, providing weekly activities and healthy food and currently runs monthly socials. In May 2008 Penny began working with Making Waves. She co-ordinated the "People you know, places you go" project. Images and narrative created by photographers from mental health residential services during this project have been exhibited at a number of locations; at the photographers homes, at various spaces at Nottinghamshire Healthcare Trusts buildings and public galleries in Nottingham and a small collection where shown in St Helen's, Merseyside. In 2008, Penny began working on a Life Story work project in collaboration with Helen Moya (University of Nottingham) which looks at how other services might integrate life story work into their settings whilst developing a toolkit to enable this work. In 2009, Penny worked with Julie Repper to develop and run a Peer support training course for Nottinghamshire Healthcare Trust. This is now being run in conjunction with the Institute of Mental Health and is accredited by Sheffield Hallam University. In the last 3 years Penny has run workshops, delivered training and given talks locally and nationally in which she often shares a variety of short (and often lively) films which she has produced. These have included; reflections on recovery and wellbeing, exploring normality and difference, language, labels and change, sharing views of mental health services, looking at ways to support people to reduce or come off their medication, life story work and advance directives. Penny is currently working alongside Director Daniel Saul on a new film and training resource for Making Waves looking at change, wellbeing and recovery. In the past 4 years Penny has come off medication, been discharged from psychiatric services and is now 'fully integrated back into society' whilst trying to keep hold of some semblance of madness. She maintains a wild and rambling allotment, runs, swims and enjoys taking wildlife photographs, filming and editing.
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