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New art exhibition ‘Innovation and Transformation’

***New art exhibition***

CoolTan’s new art exhibition is  ‘Innovation and Transformation’ a showcase of new works by CoolTan Arts participants in celebration of World Mental Health Day.

Twenty artists have produced pieces which map advances in medicine, engineering, and technology during the 20th century. From the emergence of the light bulb to the discovery of Penicillin, the artists have explored wide-ranging examples of innovative ideas which have had a lasting and transformative impact.

The mixed media artwork is mounted on A3 boards, mimicking the style of the visually-striking pin-up poster.


Exhibition runs from 16th October 2014 until 16th January 2015. Gallery open Monday to Thursday 10-5:45, Fridays 10-5.

Venue: CoolTan Arts, Third Floor, 224–236 Walworth Road, SE17 1JE

Contact: 020 7701 2696 or email



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Largactyl Shuffle at ‘Flow’

On Saturday 18th October CoolTan Arts Largactyl Shuffle took part in ‘Flow’ Tate Modern’s annual celebration of World Mental Health Day.

The group  ran a guided tour in the 4th floor gallery exploring several artists in Tate’s collection, including Vanessa Bell – her abstract painting and relationship with sister Virginia Woolf, Ellsworth Kelly -  minimimalist artist who had experience of mental distress, Josef Albers and his commitment to colour, and the work of Niki de Saint Phalle and her shot paintings – abstract works of art shot at with her rifle to revel/expose striking forms of colour.
The walk ended back on level 6 at the Flow event, with CoolTan Arts’ own artist and her ‘shooting gallery’. The Flow event involved six local and national arts and mental health organisations including Arts Network , CoolTan Arts, Outside In, Portugal Prints, SlamAdArt and Studio Upstairs.

Below are some images from the day by Photographer Fiona Mcauliffe:


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Review of CoolTan Arts AGM

lr-DSC06478On the 16th September, CoolTan Arts had their Annual General Meeting (AGM) which covered their Annual Report for the past year; future plans and their being bestowed The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

The evening started with a great turnout, packed full of supporters from volunteers past/present, CoolTan staff, participants, friends, London Borough of Southwark……(deep breath)….Hourbank, United St Saviour’s Charity, Southwark Day Centre, St Paul’s Church, MIND, APICU -  which pretty much conveys CoolTan’s diverse members.

Michelle Baharier, our CEO of CoolTan welcomed everyone to the 2014 AGM and introduced Deputy Lieutenant Jenny Beckley to the stage and awarded CoolTan the 2014 Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service; which is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work done in their own communities. CoolTan was given a certificate signed by the Queen and a domed glass crystal…..picture it as a 3D laser crystal with the Queen’s Emblem crown, very snazzy.

DSC06467Sasha who is our Chair of Trustees commenced with a reading of his section of the Annual Report, with CoolTan accountant Keilah presenting the financial report.

Once the annual report was delivered, CoolTan staff carried out a 60 second presentation on their past and future efforts with CoolTan and their cooperative achievements with the volunteers. This was a great approach for the staff to illustrate the impact they’ve had with CoolTan and future goals.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service was not the only award given out, special awards were also given for CoolTan’s dedicated volunteers who were awarded a certificate for 100+ hours of volunteering.

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CoolTan Creative Workshops – Autumn 2014 Schedule

SONY DSCCoolTan are running a new series of FREE 12 week  workshops from the 2nd September 2014. Workshops are open to all people 18+ with experience of mental distress (self defined) who are currently unemployed.

Come along, gain new skills, meet new people and explore your creative side. Friendly and relaxed environment, with small groups and professional tutors.

**Exciting new programme, book your place now**  Call 020 7701 2696 or email

Workshop Dates

Art – Tuesdays 11-1pm – Start 2nd September. Empower yourself through creativity with our unique art workshop. Experiment with different themes and styles, and  explore various art techniques, such as acrylic, watercolours, charcoal etc. Meet like minded people in this small friendly group with a professional and supportive tutor. Suitable for all levels. Embrace the opportunity to exhibit in CoolTan and beyond!

Film – Tuesdays 11-1pm – Start 2nd September. Learn how to do your own film-making and editing. Use some of the latest cameras and sound microphones to make your own creative piece of work for internet or DVD. Along the way you will gain a good working knowledge of the Final Cut Pro editing programme. No previous experience necessary except basic I.T skills.

Creative Writing – Wednesdays 11-1pm – Start 3rd September. Explore techniques, find inspiration and learn how structure your writing to make it exciting and engaging. Come along, learn, create and enjoy!

WordPress – Thursdays 1:30-3:30pm – Start 4th September.  Be guided step-by-step through the process of how to create a customised mini website, using WordPress, the popular free blogging platform. We’ll be covering the basics of WordPress installation, how to use the WordPress dashboard, how to create and modify menus, content pages and posts, handling digital media, such as images and videos, as well as exploring the many options available to customise the appearance and design. No previous experience necessary except basic I.T skills.

Photoshop – Thursdays 11-1pm – Start 4th September. Learn how to edit and retouch your photography to a professional standard. Use layers, filters, text and drawing tools to create artistic effects.  Gain the skills to cut out and combine images to create collages, posters and artworks. No previous experience necessary except basic I.T skills.

Location: CoolTan Arts, Third Floor, 224-236 Walworth Road, SE17 1JE.

With thanks to our funders:


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CoolTan Council

Picture11CoolTan Arts is looking for willing people to join the CoolTan Arts Council!

Information on CoolTan Council meeting in October:

The CoolTan Council held a second meeting and it was decided that participants who joined us would visit with other groups to raise awareness and ask if anyone else would like to be part of the council.

In order to share what people are doing in the art/poetry/IT/gardening/magazine groups, we wanted to ask for participants from each group to come along and share what they are doing in that group. This would allow everyone to find out what goes on in the other groups at CoolTan Arts.
The next meeting of the CoolTan Council will be held on 23rd October at 4.15pm
We are hoping to gather a group of participants and volunteers who are willing to attend meetings both at CoolTan Arts and externally, to represent the organisation, and have your voices heard in services that exist for you.

If you are interested please speak with Kaya or Tara or email or or call 0207 701 2696.

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CoolWalks – New Dates for 2014

CoolTan are excited to have several new CoolWalks coming up in November and December 2014.
CoolWalks are guided walks for wellbeing, giving participants to opportunity to get to know more about their local area’s history and their local Southwark libraries.

Full details on, or email or twitter @CoolWalks

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CoolTan Arts CoolWalk – Regeneration
Saturday, 27th November 2014
CoolTan Arts CoolWalks invites you to join us on a free guided walk to explore the area’s regenerations, including those of the past, of the present and the plan’s for the area’s future.  Learn new things, make friends, get fit and have fun.  But hurry – blink and you might miss it.

Start: East Street Library, 168-170 Old Kent Road, SE1 5TY
Start Travel Details: Bus: 21, 42, 53, 63, 172, 453
Finish: Imperial War Museum
Finish Travel Details: Tube: Lambeth North, Waterloo or Elephant and Castle, Train: London Waterloo, Waterloo East, or Elephant and Castle, Bus: 12, 148, 159, 109, 344 and 360.

CoolTan Arts CoolWalk – Freedom
Saturday, 13th December 2014 12:30pm
Freedom is built one thought and one hope at a time.  Join CoolTan Arts CoolWalks on a free guided public walk through Camberwell to discover the area’s freedom fighters.  Learn new things, make friends, get fit and have fun.

Start: Camberwell Library, 17-21 Camberwell Church Street, SE5 8TR
Start Travel Details: Bus: 12, 35, 40, 42, 45, 171, 176, 185, 436, 36, 345, 484, Tube: Kennington, Oval or Elephant and Castle, Train: Denmark Hill
Finish: Black Cultural Archives, Brixton
Finish Travel Details: 3-5 minute walk from Brixton tube and rail station, Buses: 2, 3, 35, 37, 45, 59, 109, 118, 133, 159, 196, 250, 333, 415, 432, P4, P5.



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New Referrals Information Session

Are you interested in the arts and would you like to find out more about CoolTan Arts?

  • Are you, or somebody you know, experiencing mental distress?
  • Are you looking for activities to help your recovery?
  • Do you want to break isolation, meet new people and explore your creativity?

Come along to CoolTan Arts New Referrals Information Session:

Wednesday 24th September 2014, 1-3pm
at CoolTan Arts, Third Floor, 224 – 226 Walworth Road, London SE17 1JE

Drop in any time between 1 and 3pm to find out about our current workshop programme, Self-Advocacy Skills Training and more!At 1:30 there will be a talk about workshops currently running, eligibility for those courses, and the registration and referral process, followed by a Q&A session. For more information, please contact Karen Unrue: or tel: 0207 701 2696
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Largactyl Shuffle Garden Walk – a Review

On Saturday 19th July CoolTan Arts Largactyl Shuffle led a ‘Garden Walk’ from Maudsley Hospital to Myatts Fields, exploring the fascinating social history of Camberwell’s best loved green spaces.  Walker Jonathan Polkest took these photos and wrote the below review:

Here are some images from the Largactyl Shuffle Garden Walk which was excellent (my aubergine plant from Myatts Field Park bears witness to this).

The photos “illustrate” parts of our walk from Maudsley Hospital through Ruskin Park, the weather was peculiar, raining occasionally with little or no cloud, as featured in the photograph of the group speaking to some volunteers at the Loughborough Junction (Farm) horticultural project (truly inspiring).

We sampled their salad vegetables and gained tips on growing ‘your own’ and then visited Myatts Field Park, in particular, the horticultural greenhouse with the inspirational Fabrice.

We ended our walk in the bandstand of Myatts Garden with a very interesting perspective of Vera Brittain’s Testament of Youth, on the site of a massive Field Hospital, I photographed it in black and white, re evoking its pastoral history. Many thanks to Lu and to all the peripatetic drifters for an inspirational day.





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NEW: Feel Good Food Fridays

Feel Good Food Friday-lrCome along to CoolTan Arts on a Friday afternoon to sample the delights of our kitchen!
We are now offering a lunchtime menu of tasty and healthy soups, mains, salads and more.

Feel Good Food Fridays will take place every week between 1pm and 2pm and is open to the public. The price for a plate of food is £3 suggested donation.

You can pop in, get a lunch, look around the gallery exhibition and catch up on all the latest CoolTan news!

Please let us know in advance if you would like to have lunch. Contact Olivia on 020 7701 2696 or email

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Showcase Smoothie at CoolTan Arts – a Review

CoolTan Arts were thrilled to have a visit recently  from Showcase  Smoothie  for a performance of  urban music and spoken word.  CoolTan volunteer Ereomala Atigolo attended the event:

Lyrical, entertaining, passion, beats, vocal beauty, raw and honest; this is the description of a Showcase Smoothie performance!

On the 17th July 2014, CoolTan Arts had a get together with Showcase Smoothie – a major new literature and music based project, led by Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT) and partnered by a range of arts, health and educationally based organisations. The aim of the project is to showcase the talents of people with experience of mental health problems, and has a particular focus on young black men.

During their visit, they bestowed us with a 30 minute performance, showcasing a calibre of diverse performers of various ages. CoolTan’s gallery space was packed, full of an eagerly waiting audience; listening to the background beats of the sound system, before each of the performers walked on stage. With each performer approaching the stage, each one had their own style and story that they delivered through rap lyrics, singing and spoken words. The audience was clapping, participating and being captivated by the lyrical and vocal sounds of Smoothie.

I asked Sasha Dee who is a CoolTan trustee and also a participant in the poetry workshop about the event, he said “People should come to these kind of performances because of the topics; the presentation is so cool that it is accessible for all kinds of people. Even if people are not fans of poetry, give it a chance and it will change your preconception of the event”.

The showcase even had a featured musician that added a layer and richness to one of the artist’s performance; by playing a Tabla which is a membranophone percussion instrument (similar to bongos).

We even had our very own Jill Newman, who is our Cooking Club Manager, who did an impromptu performance of an Indian classical dance, called Kathak with the Tabla player.

As spectator you can see that the project provided these performers with confidence and a method to convey themselves in a creative way.

You can find out more about the project at:

Review and photos by Ereomala Atigolo.

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Out Now – New Issue of CoolFruit: The CoolTan Arts Review

Following the success of last year’s pilot, we are pleased to announce that Issue 1 of CoolFruit, Spring june_coolfruit_coverinto Summer, is now available.

Click here to read

Packed with artwork, poetry, recipes, artist’s profiles and lively articles to inform, delight and guide you smoothly from Spring into Summer.

Read about exciting CoolTan projects and get the insider’s view with articles by CoolTan participants and volunteers. Learn about the CoolTan Arts Largactyl Shuffle as well as CoolTan’s new Artangel collaboration At the Crossroads with Vincent. Consider the issues around deportation and its effects on mental health. Be informed and demystified about the ESA process and be delighted by a whole selection of articles to take you exploring on a path to mental wellbeing.

We hope you will enjoy reading this issue as much as we have enjoyed creating it!

Happy reading!

To make sure you’re on our mailing list and get a link to future issues as soon as they are available, please contact

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Mad Hatters Tea Party – A Review

mh6We had a wonderful time at the Mad Hatters Tea Party at CoolTan Arts  on Saturday, 14th June, which was attended by over 40 people and gave everyone the opportunity to have fun, try out new things and enjoy a taster of our work.

There were four free workshops, the presentation of special certificates to our volunteers, and an opportunity to have a private viewing of our new exhibition, Summertime Blues. The theme of the exhibition was ‘anxiety & summer’ and all the artwork was created by CoolTan participants in our creative workshops. The exhibition will be open from 11th June-11th August but this event marked its official opening.

The free workshops that people could  join included Food and Mood, where they made ice lollies with mood enhancing ingredients, Understanding ‘Panic Attacks’,   Postcard Art – ‘A Message 2U’ and Anxious to Get Painting, where participants painted the table and chairs to create a  Mad Hatters’ inspired scene.

The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party was  part of the Anxiety Arts Festival London 2014, which rans throughout June in London venues. The Festival challenges the stigma and discrimination that surround mental health by looking at the creative and productive force of anxiety, and showcases an exciting programme of art, film, performance, music, dance, theatre and talks

Here are some images of the exhibition Summertime Blues

Here are some images from the day

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Summer Solstice Midnight Walk 2014 – A Review

About 130 walkers gathered for our Summer Solstice Midnight Walk on the 21st June when we enjoyed a moonlit stroll from Tate Modern to Maudsley Hospital, as part of the Anxiety 2014 Festival.

We stopped at the Crossbones Cemetery on Redcross Way, to hear about its history as an unconsecrated burial site; the Borough, for an activity about night working; and the centre of the Elephant and Castle roundabout to create surreal living sculptures, before enjoying some coffee, cake and poetry at CoolTan Arts.

Our final two talks were about psychogeography at Burgess Park and surrealism and mental health at Camberwell Green, before we finished the walk with hot drinks at Maudsley Hospital.

Photography by Andrea Abril, André Batista, Andrew Black, Rik Sanders, Emma Thatcher and Michelle Baharier.
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CoolTan Arts at Waterloo Festival – A Review

CoolTan Arts were thrilled to be part of this years Waterloo Festival, participating with a poetry performance and an art exhibition!

CoolTan Poets and Southbank Sinfonia

On Thursday 26th June CoolTan Poets collaborated with Southbank Sinfonia Orchestra on an  amazing hour long performance at St John’s Church Waterloo. Both groups have worked together over the last few months to create this celebration of words and music, looking at the theme of WW1. A video of the performance will be available soon so watch this space!

Here are some images of the day:

World at War: Fragments.

Our art exhibition Fragments was created in response to the music of the Southbank Sinfonia Orchestra and was installed in St John’s Chruch for the duration of the Waterloo Festival (June 26th t0 July 1st). CoolTan artists explored the connection between warfare and mental distress.

 Fragments was a multifaceted portrayal of warfare, using the creative imagination to look at World War 1 and other conflicts.

The artworks gave glimpses into a myriad of worlds and voices, gaining strength in the overcoming of isolation, marginalisation and woundedness and the human spirit’s ability to rise above adversity. All artwork had been made in weekly workshops at CoolTan Arts.

Here are some images of the exhibition:

For more information about the Waterloo Festival please see the website:

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