Open Mind is a programme of events, commissions and a network exploring the role of creativity and culture in improving young people’s wellbeing. Following our third annual Summit in 2021, we explored the idea with delegates of launching Open Mind Network, a quarterly community of practice.

Open Mind Network

The Open Mind Network is a new community of practice bringing together practitioners across Scotland and sectors passionate about supporting young people around creativity and mental health and wellbeing. 

We aim to meet quarterly online to:

  • Support network building
  • Share developing practice and challenges openly
  • Signpost to resources and build connectivity.

For our first Open Mind Network on 10 Feb 2022, we had Professor Paul Ramchandani, LEGO Professor of Play in Education, Development and Learning at Universtity of Cambridge, as a spotlight talk discussing his research on play and children’s development and mental health. You can watch Paul’s talk and the Q&A here.

Our second network session on 12 May 2022 explored the theme Gather, and 2022 Mental Health Awareness Week theme of reducing loneliness. This network session used a ”teach-meet” format inviting practitioners to share a current project or idea for 5 minutes that addresses these themes.

The Open Mind Network is facilitated by Create Paisley and Science Ceilidh (with support from Future Paisley and other partners) and we want this to be a peer-led network for and with those working in this space and would welcome format and theme ideas!

Open Mind Summit

Open Mind Summit was launched in 2019 on World Mental Health Day (10 October). The sell-out event attracted like-minded individuals of all ages to be inspired, learn, collaborate and connect.  In 2020 and 2021, the Summit moved online exploring themes around how creativity can reduce loneliness (during lockdown) and mental health for all.

Over the last 3 years, the summit has hosted a diverse lineup of young people, artists, activists and influencers, national organisations, educators, researchers and more with keynotes from Angela Awuah, Darren McGarvey, Jo Musker-Sherwood, Steven McLeish and Ollie Bray.

In 2021, we built upon the annual programme, launching a community of practice, international commissions (including 10,000 Miles) and started to explore running smaller events as part of Children’s Mental Health Week and connecting with our programme as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival in May.

You can find out more about our commissions and watch content from the 2021 event below.

Open Mind Commissions

10,000 Miles

Directed by Jemma Stein, 10,000 Miles is celebration of connection and creativity and showcases the work of two dance companies in Paisley, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia and their experiences with connecting across the globe.

With support from Jemma Stein, Kyall Shanks (yellowwheel), Joanne McKissack and Aileen Palombo (right2dance) and Anna Kenrick (YDance), the groups came together to collaborate, showcase their dancing and to generate new dance material and spoken word, exploring themes of connection during a time of lockdown.

10,000 Miles was funded by Renfrewshire Council and delivered in partnership with Create Paisley as part of Future Paisley. Future Paisley is radical and wide-ranging programme of events, activities and investments using the town’s unique and internationally significant cultural stories to transform its future.

Stop the World

‘STOP THE WORLD’ is a devised short film which explores the pressure that young people are facing in this era of severe climate crisis. Written and devised by the young people themselves, it follows their individual experiences of eco anxiety, as well as reminding us to remain always hopeful and active in our fight to save the planet. #stoptheworld #climateanxiety

Written by Iona Ramsay, starring young people from PACE Youth Theatre.

Open Mind Summit 2021

On Friday 8th October 2021, we met for our third Open Mind Summit online, exploring the theme Mental Health for All with three sub-themes: Nature for All, Connections for All and Justice for All. The programme this year reflected these themes, with 3 keynote speakers and a morning panel discussion. Our morning session was opened by Clare Haughey MSP, Scottish Minister for Children and Young People.

Keynote Speakers included:

  • Jo Musker-Sherwood has over fifteen years’ experience in the charity sector. As the Founder Director of Hope for the Future, she oversaw the charity’s growth from a small project to a national NGO impacting climate policy at all levels of government. Following an experience of activism-related burnout, Jo turned her attention to researching and developing strategies for emotional and ecological wellbeing. She is a coach in training, and currently researches, writes, mentors, and consults on emotional resilience strategies for those working in the environmental sector. You can find out more about her approach at
  • Ollie Bray is currently Strategic Director at Education Scotland where he overall strategic responsibility for National Improvement Initiatives and Professional Learning and Leadership. This includes major national initiatives including Wellbeing and Equality. Immediately before rejoining Education Scotland he was Global Director: Connecting Play and Education at the LEGO Foundation ( where he led the Foundations work related to education improvement through the use of technology and play.
  • Angela Awuah is founder and director of award-winning social enterprise Mental Health The Arts (MHTA), an early intervention creative arts academy in South London which works with young people on developing creative coping mechanisms using their gifts and talents. She has been a carer for over 10 years for a family member that was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Her background involves campaigning, public speaking and youth-led social action. She has won several youth social entrepreneurship awards and has recently completed a MSc Degree in Public Mental Health.