Exhibition at Gallery Gachet: Beauty of Life In Psychosis

An exhibition featuring work by young artists with lived experience of hearing voices, seeing visions, other unique perceptions, and/or psychosis will be opening tomorrow, May 13th, at Gallery Gachet in Vancouver. The exhibition is based on a peer-led project originally known as the Hearing Voices Art and Storytelling Workshop and later as Beauty of Life In Psychosis (BLIP), which brought people together to create art about their experiences. A catered opening reception will be held from 6-8 pm – no tickets are required. The gallery is also hosting a public event May 20th where community members are invited to drop in between 2-6 pm to add to several collaborative canvases that will be displayed in the gallery. More information about the exhibition is available below.

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Submission: Three artworks by Joan

Abstract Painting, n.d.

Today’s blog post features three artworks by Joan, who has lived in the Comox Valley for the past two years and finds creative practice to be a key part of mental health. For Joan, self-expression through art is valuable – but so is the way it connects us to others through a sense of recognition and mutual understanding. Joan writes, “To me altered states, hearing voices, visions… have much more purpose than a diagnostic label.”

These three works evoke a stark and powerful sense of place. As the viewer (or listener), you are transported for a moment to another world: one that is abstracted, shattered, or out on the open sea. At the same time, Joan delivers a message of hope: “I am up. I am breathing. The sun isn’t up yet, but I’m sure it will rise also.”

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Call for submissions: Art, poetry, essays, and more

Do you have an article, work of art, poem, autobiographical essay, or other work related to your experience of hearing voices that you’d like us to share on the BC Hearing Voices Network blog? We’d love to hear from you! Anyone who self-identifies as having experienced voices, visions, unique beliefs, other unusual sensory experiences or extreme states, and/or psychosis is invited to submit art, short written works (approximately 1000 words), or other visual, audio, or videographic works. Please note that submissions will be reviewed by the blog administrator, and we may choose not to publish a submission if the content is excessively graphic, hateful or discriminatory (for example, if it contains racist or homophobic comments), contains identifying/private information about other people, or is otherwise inappropriate.

Works can be submitted via email to admin@bchvn.ca with the subject line “Blog Submission”. Please also include the following information:

  • How would you like to be credited for your work? You can choose to provide your full name, first name, a pseudonym, or to remain anonymous.
  • In a few words, how would you describe your work? For example, “autobiographical essay,” “abstract painting,” “mixed media,” “experimental,” “humorous,” “non-fiction,” or “short story” are possible ways you might describe your submission.
  • Is there anything you would like people to know about you? If you like, you can provide a short bio. For example, “Tom is a visual artist living in Vancouver with his two cats. Most of his work is in acrylic, but recently he has been experimenting with collage.”

For any other questions, please contact admin@bchvn.ca. Please note that it may take several days to respond to your email.

Site Updates and Art Opportunity for Youth

First, a brief site update: the BC Hearing Voices Network website is in the process of switching administrators this month, and you may notice changes to group information pages, site layout, etc over the next few weeks. This shouldn’t impact any groups that are currently running! We’re just in the process of bringing the website up to date to reflect what’s actually going on around BC. For now, any questions about the BCHVN, Hearing Voices groups in BC, or the website itself can be directed to Rory Higgs at rhiggs@foundrybc.ca. Please note that it might take a little while for us to get back to you during this transitional period. We appreciate your patience!

Second, an update on opportunities in the community: Foundry and the Consumer Initiative Fund will be offering a series of virtual art groups starting in February for young people ages 12-24 who live anywhere in BC and who identify as experiencing voices, visions, unique beliefs, and/or psychosis. Participants will be provided with supplies from The Paint Spot valued at $125, and each group cohort will be six sessions long, with sessions held every other Wednesday from 5:30-7:00 pm. Sessions will take place over Zoom and consist of a combination of guided creative exercises, discussion, and free creating time, as well as participation in a collaborative art project and (optionally) the opportunity to have your work exhibited online. The group will. be peer-led, meaning that the facilitators are not clinicians, but people who identify as having personal experience of voices, visions, unique beliefs, and/or psychosis.

To learn more, or to register for the group, check out the Groups & Workshops for Young People page on the Foundry website: https://foundrybc.ca/virtual/youth-groups/

Or, view the Spotlight on Mental Health posting: https://www.spotlightonmentalhealth.com/consumer-initiative-fund-cif/

For any additional questions, please contact the group facilitators, Rory Higgs (rhiggs@foundrybc.ca) and Anne Liao (aliao@foundrybc.ca).

Hearing Voices: Art & Storytelling Workshop, in Vancouver

Rory's story telling workshop flyer

Individuals who identify as hearing voices, seeing visions, having other unusual perceptions or beliefs, and/or living with psychosis are invited to participate in a six week program where they will create and discuss stories told through art and writing. The program will explore how lived experience can inspire works of fiction, as well as how creative self-expression and the art of storytelling can help us to make sense of our experiences. Participants will have the opportunity to experiment with a variety of processes and mediums, as well as to discuss the creative process in a safe, supportive group of peers, and encouraged to build their own creative practice outside of sessions. 

The program will incorporate principles from the Hearing Voices movement, namely, that we are all experts on our own lives, and that our individual stories and interpretations of our experiences are valuable. The program takes the stance that everyone has something valuable to contribute to the world of the arts, and that this is rooted in our uniqueness as people – including experiences such as hearing voices or seeing visions. 

All art supplies will be provided, including a sketchbook, but participants are welcome to bring any additional materials they would like to use. You do not need to be a client of mental health services. 

For more information, email hearingvoicesworkshop@outlook.com or call Rory Higgs at 778-689-1626. To register online, visit: https://forms.gle/12z9FDHFHfB3Zh2H8


Art and Thoughts on Extreme States and Unusual Experiences – by Ronda E. Richardson

First Image

There is important information contained in extreme states and experiences. I am beginning to find meaning in it, but for many years I refused to listen. I silenced my monsters with bullying and medication. Turns out my angriest pieces were also the most hurt. With the Hearing Voices Network I found a safe place to embrace every part of me including the disgruntled voice inside my head.

Caught Red Handed - meant to be second image


I see extreme states in full color. Pink is the color of euphoria. I often felt I had been caught pink handed when a medical professional noticed the energy I was attempting to hide. The response to it was often panicked and punishing. When I attended the HVN Facilitator training it was the first time I was able to talk about my experiences without feeling afraid or guilty.

Ronda's Image

Ronda E. Richardson is an Artist and Writer looking to bring awareness to the stories of people often made invisible by diagnosis and trauma. Between forced treatment as a teenager and diagnosis at 26, she worked in long-term care and with Emergency Medical Services. She was training to become a Paramedic and worked with children who needed extra support to succeed in a world that was not built for their gifts and challenges.