A county event which will see Worcester transformed into a free, fun, art space, featuring elephant-shaped masterpieces, is to challenge visitors’ perceptions about mental health and wellbeing.
Bringing a unique perspective to mental health, a ‘What’s the Elephant in the Room?’ city centre installation will explore the difference we can all make to ourselves and those around us if we take a moment to see things with new eyes.
A collaborative project between St Richard’s Hospice, Worcestershire-based creative communications agency, DRPG, and mental health awareness partner, Onside, the one of a kind holographic community experience will run in conjunction with Worcester’s Big Parade.
An interactive art installation, members of the public will have the chance to become one of 24 virtual ‘community artists’ by creating their very own Worcester’s Big Parade elephant. At the same time, they will share what mental health means to them. Each week, three artists will be chosen from all entries and featured in the installation located within Worcester’s Crowngate Shopping Centre.
Speaking about the initiative, June Patel, Chief Executive of St Richard’s Hospice, said: “We’re really delighted to be partnering with Onside and DRPG as part of Worcester’s Big Parade; an event which is very much about bringing the community together again.
“Mental health is often talked about as the ‘elephant in the room’; one of those enormous subjects that people don’t know quite know how to approach. We hope that by bringing this topic out onto the streets of Worcester we can get people talking and raise awareness of the help and support that’s available to people locally.”
Richard Hingley, Chief Creative Officer, DRPG, said: “We work within the creative industries, which can be incredibly rewarding, but mentally challenging at the same time. The mental health of our entire team is as important as their physical wellbeing and often spotting any changes in a member of our team’s mental health and then saying something is the first step in avoiding such challenges becoming a problem in the future.
“We’re incredibly excited to be sponsoring and creating an installation that helps bring such an important subject to the attention of our wider community, who can all play a positive part in their friends’, family and co-workers’ state of mind.”
The ‘What’s the Elephant in the Room?’ design process will launch this Saturday (19 June 2021) at virtual music festival, Woo Fest, another event where DRPG is using its creative expertise to support St Richard’s Hospice.
More information is available by visiting www.whatstheelephant.co.uk. Here, elephant templates can be downloaded for artists to create their designs physically or digitally, along with a free Elephant in the Room AR app that enables participants to view their artwork in the real world using augmented reality technology on a digital device. Community artists can upload finished artwork along with their name, contact details and a description of their entry. Successful artists, whose work will feature on the city centre installation, will receive a notification explaining when their work of art will appear.
Kate Harvey, Chief Executive, Onside, added: “As an organisation Onside is all about people. We promote good mental health and wellbeing, and support people to lead the very best lives possible. We are therefore delighted to be a partner, with St Richard’s Hospice, in this summer’s amazing Big Parade. This is a fantastic opportunity, particularly after the challenging year we have all experienced, to raise awareness around mental health.
“In collaboration with our partners, as part of the Elephant in the Room initiative, we will be providing information about both how people can improve their own mental health and wellbeing, as well as support others. We will also be offering tips, techniques and ideas to improve mental health, with specialist workers on hand to offer advice, signpost to support and run taster sessions designed to improve wellbeing.
“We are very much looking forward to seeing the community come together to experience this brilliant event whilst, at the same time, contributing to bring about positive change around mental health and wellbeing.”
The ‘What’s the Elephant in the Room?’ arts experience will be available during Worcester’s Big Parade from Monday 12 July to Sunday 5 September.
Worcester’s Big Parade is supported by partners Crowngate, Worcester City Council, Worcester Business Improvement District (BID), the Worcester News and BBC Hereford & Worcester.