Preview: Thursday 5 April / 6-8pm / All welcome

Mind the Gap is a group show introducing four projects running across Milton Keynes, each helping to tackle the rise in mental health related issues. In total the exhibition presents the work of over 200 young people.

Smile YMK presents work produced as part of a 12 week arts based programme delivered by Milton Keynes Youth Faculty in partnership with local secondary schools - Radcliffe, MK Academy, Ousedale, White Spires and Bridge Academy West. The project supports the wellbeing of young people hosted in a safe space during school hours and has been designed with youth work principles and values at the forefront of delivery. Over the last 12 months over 120 young people have taken part. The exhibition showcases the challenges faced by young people in today’s emotionally demanding world. Smile YMK does not censor young people’s work but instead uses it as an opportunity to discuss, explore and support issues raised. Some people may find the work challenging to view, however the work is not produced in isolation but with the continued support of qualified and dedicated staff.

In 2017 MK’s Cultural Education Partnership, the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and MK Council Public Health, jointly commissioned Artis and the delivery of a creative project exploring young people’s views on mental health. The You, Me, Together pilot project forms part of the Children and Young Peoples Mental Health and Wellbeing Transformation Programme and engaged 150 children and young people from four schools - Caroline Haslett Primary School, Falconhurst Primary School, Oakgrove School and St. Paul’s Secondary School - to work with an artist and filmmaker and achieve their Arts Award. The project aimed to gain a better understanding of how children and young people in Milton Keynes see mental health, and the language they use to express themselves in reference to mental health related topics. The resulting film included in the exhibition will be used to facilitate further conversations with children and young people. The project is supported by partnership investment from Artswork, MK Council and the CCG.

Room To Move presents the results of an eight week partnership between young people from Radcliffe School, Ousedale School, MK Academy, MÓTUS, MK Youth Faculty’s Smile YMK and MK Gallery. Over the course of the project 14 young people aged 13 to 16 were invited to participate in a ‘dance exchange’. Developed in response to MK’s urban setting the project focused on young people and their ownership of public space, whilst supporting and growing their physical and emotional connection to the local landscape. The exhibition includes a series of photographs taken by Milton Keynes based photographer Andrew Dukes. These works document the programme and the young people’s developing relationship to the spaces they inhabit, acting as a reminder of their continued ownership of Milton Keynes.

The Secret Self(ie) Project (TSSP) is a new 3 year youth programme, initiated by MK Gallery in collaboration with MK Youth Faculty, and launching in summer 2018. The project will include a six week summer programme of artists-led activity working with young people experiencing low level anxiety, stress and depression with a concentration on youth voice, choice and ownership. Building on the legacy of Lost&Found (MK Gallery’s youth-led programme 2007-2014) the project offers young people a safe space in which to build confidence and resilience through the development of programme leadership and ownership. The exhibition includes a short film showcasing the programme and its roots.  TSSP is kindly supported by Children In Need.

Mind the Gap marks April’s Stress Awareness Month.