What is Black Mind?
Black Mind is a grassroots art-as-activism organisation that centres on the collective mental health, wellbeing, justice and joy of all Black people in Britain. We use the healing arts to create positive change.
Born from the lived experience of our Founder and Creative Director: Amarachi Rachel. For the first two years, Black Mind was produced in collaboration with Koko Brown. Black Mind creates opportunities for our community by showcasing Black artists within our annual zine BadMind (#BadMindZine), delivering our interactive creative programme of Wellbeing Workshops & Open Spaces, organising collaborative exchanges (Giving Time) and producing culturally & trauma-informed live events that embrace the abundant difference within Black communities in Britain.
Black Mind aims to facilitate sustainable change with accessibility at its core. Our purpose is to build a legacy of care, governance and support that centres Blind, Deaf, Disabled, Neurodivergent, Queer, Low-Income, Sick, Mad and othered Black siblings.
We know that creative engagement and free expression is essential to the collective mental health, wellbeing, justice, and joy of Black people in Britain. We make it happen by intentionally cultivating loving, welcoming and open environments for our community.
We are ready to build life-affirming infrastructure in caring and conscious collaboration with aligned peace activists and healing arts practitioners. We do this by prioritising radical honesty, acceptance, transparency and play.
The Black Mind organisational model is an art-as-activism tree comprising the following six interlinked branches:
Wellbeing Workshops, led by Black artists & facilitators, in a range of artforms, styles & skills.
Welcoming spaces centering Black communities in Britain, that allow us to gather and engage with radical thoughts & discussions.
A wellbeing campaign that reshapes social currency into time, skill & love-based transactions.
A print zine & online space that creatively supports, connects, informs & platforms Black people in Britain about mental health, wellbeing, justice & joy.
An experimental & provocative play, written by Amarachi Rachel Nwokoro, that interrogates the systemic criminalisation of Black people within Mental Health
services in Britain.
A justice & legacy campaign working to abolish all police involvement with Mental Health services through policy change, archiving and art.
(Police, Policy, Psychiatry)
All project work we do is grown on a foundation of the four core pillars which fuel our growth:
Mental health is essentially the state of our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing. It affects how we think, feel, and act. Black people are four times more likely to be detained under the Mental Health Act than White people. With lived experience of UK psychiatric services, our Black-led team resonates with the different systemic and cultural barriers faced by Black people in distress.
Wellbeing can be described as experiencing life positively, feeling good, comfortable, healthy or happy. Being a disability-led Black-run organisation, we recognise that colonial perceptions of health can be oppressive. We know that we are more at risk of dying of Covid-19 and due to financial difficulties, it is often harder for us to access state dispensed healthcare. At Black Mind we hold staff “check in”s daily because building safer, culturally informed wellbeing practice is key to preserving Black wellbeing.
Justice is seen as the condition of a situation being morally correct or fair. We recognise that in a racist world and with a criminal justice system that violates us, the concept of fairness can feel like a fantasy. As Black people, we are tasked with healing the wounds of intergenerational trauma and so Black Mind sees reimagining justice to include remembering our roots to the earth as a key liberation practice. Using indigenous research and creativity, we encourage restoration, transformation and creative disruption of community spaces to prioritise our most overlooked humans and nonhumans. See the Why page for more.
Joy is generally the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good, satisfying or pleasurable. There is something very special about experiencing joy with other Black people. We recognise and celebrate this unapologetically. We are devoted to bringing light, playfulness and pleasure to the work that is racial healing.