City Arts and the Insitute of Mental Health are looking for submission of artwork inspired by mental illness, or created by artists living with mental health issues. For our 2018 open summer exhibition we are asking artist to respond to the theme “Traumascapes and Landscapes of the Interior”.

Gary Winship explains the ideas behind the theme:

Art helps us to understand trauma and catastrophe, not just in words, but through colours, images, lines, motifs, symbols, brush strokes and blotches.  Art educates us about trauma and the artist tells their tale and creates a landscape of the interior.  Art can help us work through trauma and even build resilience. We might think about the work of the artist as showing us ‘Traumascapes’.  Where trauma is cultural, submerged narratives can surface through shared artefacts, stories, songs, and so on.  These artefacts give dynamic opportunities for each new generation to engage with prior traumas that might have been out of reach.  Picasso’s 1937 masterpiece Guernica is arguably the best example.  Not only does the painting bear witness, it provokes us to think and debate thereafter.  A painting may be still, but its impact is alive, its history is renewed each time someone gazes upon it. And so with Trauma and catastrophe we seek art to give context, to unfreeze the moment, to make connections that bridge dissociation and isolation.  The art gallery creates the traumascape whereby communities can come together, find a place to reflect, learn and work together for a better tomorrow.

Submission Information

To submit work on the theme of  complete our online application form and upload good quality images of your artwork no later than 23rd April 2018. Only 2D artworks will be selected for the exhibition. Artists can submit up to 2 artworks each.

Alternatively, download the form below and email it to

You will be informed if you artwork has been selected in the week of the 30th April.

Delivery of artwork: no later than 7th May 2018

Please deliver artwork to City Arts, 11-13 Hockley, Nottingham, NG1 1FH.

Exhibition opening: 16th May 2018

Exhibition end: 28th September 2018

About Arts & the Institute of Mental Health

The Arts have been a key feature of the spaces of the Institute of Mental Health since it opened in 2006. The summer open exhibition is our main event, but there are solo exhibitions which have offered platforms for service users and artists who have an especial interest in mental health to show their work. The Arts can educate and raise consciousness as well as mediate in processes of social change and awareness, community engagement and personal well-being. It can be a therapeutic activity that helps people to tell their story, but it can also be more than lens or a mirror to human nature, rather it can change the world we live in. And so it is fitting that the arts, and especially service user art, has been promoted at IMH and will continue to have dedicated space, because the idea of making the world a better place for people with mental health problems is at the very heart of this Institute.

The Institute of Mental Health is a partnership between Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust & the University of Nottingham.

The Institute of Mental Health University of Nottingham






Feature image: States Of Mind, Meg Bonser,  2017