How did we get to where we are now?
AIMS Advocacy started
AIMS founded as a independent advocacy service and continues to provide independent one-to-one and group advocacy services to people across North Ayrshire and Arran.
Spanning nearly 8 years, Advocafé brought people together to discuss shared issues and develop self advocacy skills. Activity varied from policy change to visits to creative making.
Flying the Flag for
Partnering with CalMac ferries, AIMS worked with people across North Ayrshire and Arran to build pinhole cameras and produce flags that represent what independent advocacy means to them, flying our flag on the Arran ferry.
AIMS Creative Groups
After consulting with the North Ayrshire mental health community, AIMS formed three creative groups including craft, writing and singing which ran over a period of three years. Making work, going on site visits and exhibiting across central belt, people got the opportunity to explore creativity as an alternative way of getting their voice heard. These groups were supported by the North Ayrshire Participatory Budgeting fund.
Exhibition @ The Portal
To celebrate AIMS' 20th birthday, the AIMS creative groups came together with a retrospective of the creative work they created over the past three years at the Portal in Irvine.
Art as Advocacy Events
Moving towards more focused creative outcomes, AIMS ran a series of 'Art as Advocacy' events, each focusing on how conversation can be translated with specific media. These included printmaking, photography, installation and sculpture.
Working with a small group of people, we created and performed a theatre piece at the Harbour Arts Centre in Irvine, to share local people's lived experience of mental health. Supported by Alliance's Self-Management Fund, AIMS Advocacy and the Involved! group commissioned Mariem Omari and Mark Jeary to write the work with the group.
Community of Philosophical
Community of Philosophical Inquiry (COPI) is a form of structured conversation has always been part of our work, but in 2019 we formalised this using it as a catalyst of creative making.
Bringing together all we have learnt, we decided to use COPI, visual arts and writing to take a multi-disciplinary approach to advocacy art making.
In the COVID-19 pandemic, AIMS continued to work with groups to encourage self advocacy through creativity. We co-produced an online zine illustrating people's lockdown experience.
Following on from the COVID-19 projects, we produced a remote audio-visual work to be displayed as part of the 2021 Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival.