Tai Chi Class

yin_yangTuesdays 9-10am
£5 per session

Open to all beginners.

You will need to pay for 6 sessions in advance.
It’s not too late to come and learn Tai Chi at CoolTan Arts. Open to all beginners.
Come and learn this ancient, gentle martial art and improve your mental and physical well being.

What is tai chi?
Tai chi, also called tai chi chuan, combines deep breathing and relaxation with slow and gentle movements. Originally developed as a martial art in 13th-century China, tai chi is today practised around the world as a health-promoting exercise.

What are the health benefits of tai chi?

Improved strength, conditioning, coordination, and flexibility
Reduced pain and stiffness
Better balance and lower risk of falls
Enhanced sleep
Greater awareness, calmness, and overall sense of well being

Never done Tai Chi before?
Here’s a video of one of the tutor Michael Jacques sessions.

Please phone 020 7701 2696 to register.

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Largactyl Shuffle Keep Fit Walk Review

CoolTan Arts Largactyl Shuffle held a Keep Fit Walk on Saturday, 18 January, which started at Maudsley Hospital and took us through the green spaces of Camberwell to Burgess Park.

We stopped at Ruskin Park and Myatt’s Fields along the way, where the gardener gave us a tour of their large greenhouse, which has been renovated to enable local people of all ages to grow fruit and vegetables.

The day ended with a brisk walk through Burgess Park, followed by a much-needed coffee at the park cafe.

Images by Andrew Black

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New Product Design Course

CoolTan Arts is starting a new Product Design Course
Tuesdays 1-4pm, 10 weeks, starting  from Tuesday 7th May


This course will give you the opportunity to research and design products for sale at CoolTan.

You will learn how to work using a design brief, carry out research into similar products and potential outlets, develop and refine your ideas, learn new techniques and make product prototypes. Products could include: greetings cards, bags, jewellery, art and craft kits and prints.

This course will give you the skills you need to make and sell your work and could help you progress on to art and design college courses. Your designs may be made into real products to be sold to raise money for CoolTan.

This course is suitable for those with some experience in art and design or textiles. You will need your own sketchbook.

Please contact Course Tutor, Georgina Rodgers, for more details: coolwalksinfo@gmail.com or phone 020 77012696.

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Opportunity to join free artist led workshops

Fridays, 3-5pm at CoolTan Arts

8 Weeks starting on Friday 3rd May

Paula Roush – artist and creator of the Found Photo Foundation will be doing a series of 8 workshops with CoolTan over May/early June which are open to anyone interested in making arts.
Develop your creativity and skills through working with a professional artist, work with photography, visual arts and found objects to create your own work, and see it exhibited in a professionally curated exhibition in June 2013!


Workshops are free and open to anyone.

Please contact Sara Kelly to find out more and sign up:
sara@cooltanarts.org.uk or phone 020 77012696

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CoolTan Art’s at Hackney One Festival

On the 21st July 2012. CoolTan Arts had a stall at the Hackney One festival to launch our ‘Postcard to the World’ project!

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Mad Hatter’s Tea Party Triumph!

On Saturday 16th June, CoolTan Arts held its annual Mad Hatters’ Tea party and Open Day.
Around 50 visitors dropped by to find out about CoolTan’s range of workshops, the Largactyl Shuffle, Self-Advocacy project and volunteering opportunities.

There were four well-attended workshops, two from the Self-Advocacy project – Building your Self Esteem and Getting Heard in the NHS – as well as a poetry taster workshop and an art workshop where participants designed Postcards to the World about the Olympics and what it means to them.

The Mad Hatters’ Tea Party also provided an opportunity for participants, volunteers, staff and the public to come together and discuss possible future activities at CoolTan Arts. Refreshments were available, including some delicious food prepared and served by volunteers.

All in all, it was a great day for catching up with old friends and making new ones. One visitor said, “I think this project is extremely useful and important to those that use it”, while another was pleased to find “a safe and caring place to come to if I want to.” A participant in the Self Esteem workshop said, “It’s great to learn new skills in such a supportive atmosphere,” while a participant in the poetry group said, “It has given me a great boost, I have not been to such a good group for years,” and described the event as a whole as “marvellous, like an oasis.”

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Review for CoolTan Arts Community Legacy Walk-29th May 2012

Cooltan health walk trainingWalking is always good for talking. Being rhythmic, it sparks off ideas and makes space for shared thoughts to sit ‘in the air’.

On Tuesday, 8 to 10 of us met outside Hackney Museum on a gloriously sunny May afternoon, to get to know the area and each other. We embarked on a potted tour of Hackney and Hackney Wick, guided by local residents. Along the way, we stopped when people had stories about particular buildings, from old churches and psychiatric hospitals, to bridge sculptures and snazzy new Olympic venues.

We had lunch in the grounds of Homerton hospital, a grassy area set aside from the main road, with benches and trees to prop up against. Someone explained that Homerton is to be the official Olympics hospital but claims it will not require additional resources for this! So we saluted the building good luck and continued along back streets to the canalside. Bright wild flowers lined the paths. The canal was serene (though not enough for a dip), and we walked by its side for a while, identifying what could and could not be foraged amongst the summer blooms.

Turning back into the town, one memorable sight for me was the original Hackney Hospital (1750-1995), a grand building, with distinctive red brick arches lining the tops of the large windows. Originally a workhouse, someone said that it was here that the first Patients’ Union, of hospital patients demanding their rights, emerged in the 1970s. With the building soon to be restored by the local mental health trust, I found myself wondering about its multiple personalities over the years, as a site for incarceration, liberation, coercion and resistance all in one.

One of the last places we came to was Victoria Park. Someone explained that this was an arboretum for explorers of the British Empire, bringing back seeds and saplings from their travels. According to someone else, the park used to be a rallying point for political activists of all persuasions, much like the more well-known Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park. A meandering stroll through the park ended with drinks in an adjacent pub.

I was struck by how the conversations I had had during the day had different paces, much like walking itself. It was easy to slip between walking and talking paces  – to walk fast and talk slow or to talk fast and walk slow, to talk all the time, to simply walk, together yet in silence. It made for a relaxing and inclusive way to discover new places and hear good stories. With others in the group, I talked about artistic practices involving older persons, photography and disability rights, an up-and-coming disability theatre company, cool ways of getting married and even aspects of organizing fashion shows. In the end, we walked and talked for five hours, a fantastic way to spend the day.

Tehseen Noorani.

[Gallery not found]

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Get involved with CoolTan Arts Community Legacy walks

Opportunity to get involved with CoolTan Arts Community Legacy walks

Run in partnership with Centre for Better Health and Hackney Museum.

Interested in Volunteering and gaining new skills? Love walking?

  • Want to explore and re-discover East London?
  • We welcome disabled volunteers, all walks are accessible.
  • Want to help uncover hidden histories?

Then this project is for you!

CALargactylShuffleOpenWeekend2201100009Join us to celebrate the legacy of 2012, re-discover the area, uncover green spaces, and share your stories old and new that reflect Olympic and Paralympic values

Take advantage of free Accredited and non-accredited training: Walk Leader Training, First Aid, Mental Health First Aid, Public Speaking and Story-telling. You can also try your hand at research, photography, stewarding and administration.

Join this fun and sociable project, make friends and be part of the 2012 Community Legacy.

Meetings and taster walks are held every Tuesday 12noon – 3pm in locations around Hackney.

To get involved or find out more, contact clara@cooltanarts.org.uk, or ring CoolTan Arts on 0207 701 2696.

Or if you prefer, join a walk! The first will be on Saturday 31st March, meeting 12 noon outside Hackney Museum. Our friendly CoolTan guides will be there to help you. Please bring a packed lunch and drinks, wear suitable clothes and sensible footwear. Walks last around 3 hours and finish at the Olympic park.

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Press Release: CoolTan Arts Largactyl Shuffle LGBT History Walk

Date: Saturday 18th February 2012
Starting: Maudsley Hospital, Denmark Hill, SE5 8AZ
Times: 12noon – 4:30pm
Cost: free/voluntary donation

lgbtq posterfinalJoin us for a guided walk on through the streets and green spaces of Camberwell and Borough, ending at Cross Bones Cemetery.

En route we will stop for short talks celebrating past and contemporary LGBT locals, ballads of C18th Transgender lads, famous Southwark LGBT artistes, readings  from an original ‘Fairy Story’ illustrating the relationship between Mental Health and the LGBT community & much more.

There are also ‘Alternative Sports’ for all ages: A ‘Voguing’ workshop,’ Kicking the Bigots Out’ Football on Camberwell Green, the launch of positive slogan balloons,  Hop Scotch, Skipping, Disco Street Dancing, Polari, and  treasure hunts!!

The walk welcomes adults and children of our local LGBT families and all who celebrate LGBT History Month to join us for talks, games and frolics.

Please meet outside the main entrance to The Maudsley Hospital, Denmark Hill, SE5 at 11.30am. The walk will start at 12.00 and end at approx 4.30pm at Cross Bones cemetery. Please wear comfortable shoes and bring your own water. There will be a refreshments stop at CoolTan Arts.

For more details, email/call suzie@cooltanarts.org.uk 020 7701 2696
All contributions are much appreciated – www.justgiving.com/cooltanarts

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Alternative Fashion week coming up for CoolTan Arts Textile group

CoolTan Arts is delighted to announce that once again our fantastic Textile group have got a place at the catwalk show in Alternative Fashion week.

cooltan-arts-fashion-showCoolTan Arts at Alternative Fashion Week 2010

Held at Spitalfields market in East London April 16th – 20th, these catwalk shows showcase the best and brightest of emerging fashion talent. CoolTan Arts Textile group’s theme of ‘rags tags and a velvet gown’, inspired by Dickens and Victorian dress, promises to be a highlight, with our  unique, up- cycled, batiked and bedazzled  garments.

CoolTan Arts is one of only 70 designers selected to show, out of thousands of entries.

Your chance to get involved …


Volunteers needed!
Would you like to gain a unique experience with a lively, independent arts organisation? Are you a skilled textile tutor who can help our participants turn their creative ideas into stunning fashion designs? We’d love to hear from you!

Join the workshop!
CoolTan Arts is run by and for people with mental distress. Would you like to learn new skills, meet new people and improve your mental well-being in a supportive atmosphere? Whether you have a Personal Budget or are self-funding, this is your opportunity to develop your ideas and showcase your designs at this high-profile fashion event.

Textiles Workshop Fridays 2pm – 4pm

Contact clara@cooltanarts.org.uk, or ring 0207 701 2696 to find out more and sign up.

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Outside In Portfolio Day

Graeme Newton - Untitled (green)The Outside In Portfolio Day on January 20th was a great success. CoolTan Arts volunteers worked together with volunteers and staff from Pallant House Gallery to help 14 participants create online portfolios of their artwork. Some of the work is also being submitted for a London-wide competition and a national competition with the chance to be shown at the Pallant House Gallery in Chichester and the Cafe Gallery Project in Southwark Park. The portfolios created can all be seen on Outside In’s website here

If you missed the Portfolio Day, it’s not too late to create an on-line gallery or enter the competitions. Full details can be found on the Outside In website or you can pop into CoolTan Arts, where we have step-by-step guides and further information to guide you. Outside In aims to bring work by marginalised and outsider artists to a wider public.

(image: Graeme Newton: Untitled (green) from his Outside In portfolio)

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Funding Celebration Event Tuesday 31st January 4-5.30pm at CoolTan Arts

Come and Celebrate Your Success!

Help us celebrate a great start to the New Year! You are invited as a current/past participant or volunteer at CoolTan Arts to join us and hear about some great funding news for the organisation.

Come and find out about the exciting new projects that 2012 has to offer. There will be food and drink and a chance to enrol for upcoming workshops, events, walks and fashion shows!

Come and celebrate your achievements!

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CoolTan Arts Business Plan Consultation Event – Tuesday 31st January 2 – 4pm

Come and give us your opinions on the direction of CoolTan Arts!

Feed into the CoolTan Arts Business Plan for 2012 – 2015

what do you want to see more of? What should we do less of? This is your chance to formally feed into the CoolTan Arts Business Plan and strategy for the next 3 years! Come and join other participants, volunteers, staff and Trustees in a discussion hosted by Ian Beever.

For more information, contact jenny@cooltanarts.org.uk.

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Film making, Podcasting and LGBT Animation

CT Ecotec Poster_for_email
These 3 workshops are FREE and open to anyone, if you have a Personal Budget or not.

Learn new skills and help others learn about the personalisation process.
Don’t know what that is? It doesn’t matter, you can find out as part of the group. Tried to get a personal budget? Great! We’d love to hear from you.

Film making
Fridays 11am – 3pm
Lunch provided

Our group of friendly volunteers are making a creative documentary film about different experiences of trying to get a personal budget, both good and bad. Help organise interviews, learn to use a camera to film, edit the film and plan a documentary. The final film will be screened at CoolTan events and film festivals. Open to all skill levels from beginners to expert.

Thursdays 4pm – 6pm
Learn all about sound recording and editing on the computer, using tascams (like tape recorders). We are making 100 creative podcasts to explore different experiences of trying to get a personal budget, both good and bad. Podcasts will go on our website.

LGBT animation
Thursdays 11am – 1pm

Learn animation skills as you help make film that will be shown across the world! We have a friendly core group of volunteers, but we would love to have more. All skill levels and experience welcome, even if you’ve never done film making before. The film will explore the experiences of members of the LGBT community going through the personalisation process.

 Sign up now! Contact Clara on 0207 701 2696 or email clara@cooltanarts.org.uk

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CoolTan Arts Christmas Party 2011

The CoolTan Arts Christmas Party took place on December 20th 2011. It provided an opportunity for participants, volunteers, staff, trustees, family and friends to come together and celebrate the festive season.

The Deputy Mayor of Lambeth, Cllr. Clive Bennett, began proceedings by congratulating CoolTan Arts on its valuable work and listening to the concerns of staff, volunteers and participants.

There was music, dancing and karaoke, along with a wonderful selection of food and drink. Volunteers each received a gift, generously donated by Team London Bridge, and celebrations continued long into the night.

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Asia’s Leaving Party at CoolTan Arts

Just a few photos from Asia’s Leaving party at CoolTan Arts.

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Carnegie Library Exhibition 2011

CoolTan Arts art exhibiton at Carnegie Library took place 0n the 16th November 2011. There was poetry readings from CoolTan Arts poets and artwork showcasing  mixed media, collage, painting, drawing, sculpture and batik.

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Come to CoolTan’s

Christmas Party

Tuesday 20th of December

6-10pm at CoolTan

All are welcome so come along and help us celebrate. There will be refreshments, music, karaoke and merriment.

Guests are asked to bring along a plate of food to share and a £1 gift to exchange under the tree.

CoolTan Arts, Unit B. 237 Walworth Road, SE17 1 RL

RSVP suzie@cooltanarts.org.uk Or: 0207 701 2696

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Sponsored Walk 2011

Thank you to everyone who joined us on our BIG Largactyl Shuffle Walk. We received very positive feedback about the walk.

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Southwark News Article about our Largactyl Shuffle sponsored walk

Comedian takes part in charity’s walk
Southwark News, 13 October 2011
Article highlighting comedian Arthur Smith’s involvement in the Sponsored Walk 2011.

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