AS Mental Health Awareness Week gets underway, organisers of Arts by the Sea have revealed plans for a Mind Matter Hub as part of this year’s mental health festival theme.

Now in its ninth year, the free arts and culture three day event, will explore well-being and mental health issues in conjunction with Dorset Mind and Bournemouth University.

The Mind Matter Hub will be set up in Bournemouth town centre and will host a variety of workshops, talks and installations.

Dorset Mind’s CEO Marianne Storey, said: “At Dorset Mind we promote the Five Ways to Wellbeing and we know that being involved in the arts, enjoying arts or just talking about art can go a long way to promoting good mental health.”

Bournemouth University will also host a variety of talks, hands-on-activities, installations and exhibitions at the hub based on research undertaken at the university.

Genna del Rosa, who leads the public engagement with research team at Bournemouth University said: “Wellbeing is fundamental to Bournemouth University’s vision and so this year’s festival theme is very important to us. We have a wealth of support available at BU for our staff and students, and we undertake research locally, nationally and globally to improve support for mental health and wellbeing. In the Mind Matter Hub we will feature a range of fascinating research projects including how drawing can contribute to positive mental health, how BU research seeks to improve support for the mental health of new fathers, and how suicide can be better portrayed in the media.”

Cultural development manager at BCP Council and Festival Director, Andrea Francis said: “With values that mirror our own - excellence, inclusivity, creativity, responsibility – we are proud to be working in partnership with BU.

On the partnership with Dorset Mind, Andrea added: “As Arts by the Sea will be tackling the taboos around mental health through the Mind Matter theme, a partnership with Dorset Mind seemed a perfect fit. It has been supporting local people since 1946 by challenging stigma and providing a range of services including befriending, support groups, counselling, workplace training and youth services.”

Arts by the Sea is also be updating its festival format to a three-day, weekend-long event.

More than 127,000 people attended the opening weekend of last year’s festival which hosted around 100 performances ranging from music, performance art, poetry and film. 

n The festival which runs from Friday, September 27 to Sunday, September 29, is delivered by BCP Council with support from Arts Council England. For more details, see