New arts festival debates human rights


A preview of the film The Divide based on the best selling Spirit Level will play in Glasgow as part of a new arts festival exploring human rights

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8th February 2016 by Susan Smith 0 Comments

A new Scottish festival is to celebrate the role of human rights in health in Scotland through the work of leading writers, filmmakers, musicians and visual artists.

Declaration will be held at the Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA) in Glasgow from 3-6 March and is the result of a unique partnership between NHS Health Scotland, the Mental Health Foundation, the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland and the Centre for Health Policy at the University of Strathclyde. 

We’re very excited to be announcing this festival programme. There’s a huge variety of events on offer – all of them free

Declaration will feature 30 events – a mix of film screenings, performances, debates, workshops and provocations – each one inspired by one of the 30 articles in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, with a focus on how human rights and the right to health come alive in Scotland today.

Glasgow crime novelist Louise Welsh, architect Jude Barber, poets Jenny Lindsay and Rachel McCrum, campaigner Amal Azzudin of the Glasgow Girls, and Kate Pickett, co-author of international best-seller The Spirit Level are just some of the well-known contributors.

Organisations involved in running events include the feminist collective TYCI, Psychologists against Austerity, Freedom from Torture and the anti-stigma campaign See Me.

Andrew Eaton-Lewis, arts lead for the Mental Health Foundation, said: “We’re very excited to be announcing this festival programme. There’s a huge variety of events on offer – all of them free – and we hope that people will want to spend a whole day, and perhaps a whole weekend, helping us to kick start a wider debate about what human rights mean today – and what impact it has on the health of individuals, and of a society, when people are denied those rights.”

Highlights include a special pre-release preview screening of The Divide, the film version of best-selling book The Spirit Level, followed by a debate about the impact of inequality on health, well-being and prosperity with Joyce McMillan from the Scotsman, Alex Massie of the Spectator, and Pickett.

Louise Welsh and Jude Barber reviving their acclaimed Empire Café project exploring Glasgow’s connection with the slave trade, with performance poet Dorothea Smartt.

A 50th anniversary screening of Cathy Come Home, director Ken Loach's influential 1966 TV play about homelessness will be followed by discussion on health, homelessness and human rights.

There will also be a free screening of this year’s Oscar-nominated documentary He Named Me Malala, about the right to education. 

Declaration has been programmed by the team behind the ground-breaking Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival (SMHAFF), in collaboration with the festival’s partner organisations. SMHAFF is 10years old this year and its pioneering approach to using the arts to highlight issues around health and human rights is now being imitated across the world.      

Lee Knifton, founder of the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival and head of the Mental Health Foundation in Scotland said: “We are very pleased to be working in partnership with NHS Health Scotland, the Alliance and the University of Strathclyde to develop an exciting new festival which will explore the notion of health and human rights with the wider public and partners, creating new ideas and energy in this vital area.”

All events are free and tickets can be reserved at the festival website.


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