How a Vikings-inspired project is boosting outcomes for people with mental ill health

Converge, an arts programme for people who use mental health services in York, has teamed up with the Jorvik Viking Centre for its latest project

Photo: Jane Stockdale/Jorvik Viking Centre

A Vikings-inspired digital media project has helped to boost self-esteem and reduce social isolation for people who use mental health services in York.

‘Brave New World’ is a collaboration between the Jorvik Viking Centre and Converge, an arts education programme at York St John University.

Converge work in partnership with the Leeds and York NHS Foundation Trust to offer creative courses to people experiencing mental ill health, with the aim of boosting their confidence, improving life skills and reducing social exclusion.

More than 50 people, with a variety of mental health issues, worked together to create the  ‘Brave New World’ soundscape, which combines music, poetry and digital technology.

It is inspired by ancient Viking history and the personal experiences of participants, and was launched at the Jorvik Viking Festival on 14 February.

Chris Bartram, a community musician from the Converge programme, said: “Some participants are exceptional musicians, but like many people experiencing mental health issues, they might have found it challenging to perform in public. This project provides a supportive platform from which to showcase their talent.”

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