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New cultural programme launches in support of Londoners’ mental health and wellbeing

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Bringing together London’s world-class arts, culture and heritage across the Square Mile, the City of London Corporation is announcing a new digital cultural season.

Launching during Mental Health Awareness Week (18 – 24 May 2020), the free programme will feature an inspiring, positive and thoughtful mix of archive and contemporary digital content including podcasts, playlists, artworks, photography, films, talks and museum collections.

Our City Together is being delivered in collaboration with THRIVE LDN and in partnership with a number of major cultural organisations including the Barbican Centre, Museum of London, Guildhall Art Gallery and London Symphony Orchestra.

Curated around a series of themes linked to the City of London’s 2,000 years of rich heritage, the programme will open with the theme of “Kindness” for Mental Health Awareness Week. There will be a new focus each fortnight, tying in with a programme of upcoming digital interactive and spectator events in Summer 2020.

The season will kick off with a virtual panel discussion focusing on the important roles creativity and culture play in wellbeing and mental health, an event organised by Thrive LDN as part of their activities for both Mental Health Awareness Week and Creativity & Wellbeing Week .

Fearne Cotton, Broadcaster, Author and founder of Happy Place, said:

“As a proud Londoner, I think Our City Together is a great initiative to help find inspiration through London’s world class arts and culture as well as supporting Londoners’ mental health during this extraordinary time. This current situation reminds us of the importance of finding positivity, playfulness and joy in the everyday and that, we will get through this together. Let’s be kind to ourselves, and each other .”

In support of Our City Together and Mental Health Awareness Week, artist and broadcaster Grayson Perry said:

“The people who get the most out of art are the people who do it. It doesn’t matter if you’re any good or not. What matters is the time spent doing it: concentrating…and losing yourself.”

Lord Mayor of London, William Russell said about the programme:

“We are looking forward to working with our key cultural partners to bring ‘Our City Together’ to life. During these difficult times, we should reflect positively upon London’s resilience in the face of past challenges and now, in the present moment, be reassured that we can draw some strength from engaging in arts and culture .”

Dan Barrett, Director, of Thrive LDN, said:

“Engagement in arts, cultural and creative activities has been proven to have a positive effect on people’s mental health and wellbeing. I am delighted that Thrive LDN has joined this fantastic partnership with the City of London Corporation to showcase the City of London’s rich cultural offer from home during these challenging times, and to help take us one step closer to London being the happiest, healthiest city in the world.”

Sir Nicholas Kenyon, Managing Director at the Barbican, said:

“Exploring new ways to connect to the arts and to each other has become key during these difficult times. Having access and experiencing creativity and culture can be a valuable way to support our health and well-being. We’re all finding ourselves in completely new territory, but by joining forces and working collaboratively, we can create exciting new connections with people, artists and communities.”

Programme highlights include:

● A virtual panel on the positive impact of arts and culture on mental health chaired by Mike Clewley, Head of Cultural and Visitor Strategy at the City of London Corporation, on Tuesday 19 May at 2.30-3.30pm (watch here )

● A four-part special podcast series from the Barbican Centre and Stephen Fry, exploring Beethoven, music, mental health and how art has the power for change

● A short film from London Symphony Orchestra by composer Mark-Anthony Turnage about the importance of creativity in overcoming grief

● Celebrating London’s resilience on Historic England’s London History Day , on 31 May.

● Stories of kindness from history told through objects from the Museum of London’s collection

● Content from the Guildhall Yard photography exhibition Let’s Talk , a series of portraits inviting conversations about mental health

● As well as some light-hearted relief from the Londinium Today news team, live yoga classes from Tower Bridge and further artistic and historical curiosities from our partners Keats House, City of London Police Museum, Billingsgate Roman House and Baths, Guildhall Art Gallery, London Metropolitan Archives, Open Spaces and City Gardens, Sculpture in the City and Culture Mile.


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