Addiction, Health, Behaviour Change | CGL

Reflecting on the successful Art of Recovery event recently held in Leeds

Illustration of pen on a green background

Reflecting on the successful Art of Recovery event recently held in Leeds

6 October 2015

Art plays a pivotal role in improving the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of individuals through creating opportunities and environments that empower people to recover. 

The idea came from a conversation with a client in the art group I manage at Mabgate Mills – the client felt at a loss regarding the opportunities that were available to him due to being in recovery. The idea was that The Art of Recovery could act as a platform for him and others to showcase their amazing talent.

Essential life skills such as patience, problem solving and risk taking can be acquired and in addition building self-esteem and pride amongst clients who struggle with their self-worth. The art groups that run across West Yorkshire to support, engage, rehabilitate and inspire clients have produced some amazing work.

The Art of Recovery was initiated to showcase this work in 2014 and has grown to include clients of West Yorkshire for 2015.

Art of Recovery


‘The Art of Recovery’ was held at Mabgate Mills in conjunction with the love arts festival on the 4th October. The showcase was open to anyone in the criminal justice system and those who are in recovery or working towards recovery in West Yorkshire.  

Work was exhibited at Mabgate Mills and a celebration of creativity took place with food and festivities. The exhibition enabled families, friends, professionals and the wider community to view the work highlighting the creativity that exists within the recovery community.



The categories for submission were:

Art of Recovery

  • Pencil, charcoal, felt pen and Ink
  • Upcycling/recycling
  • Mixed Media
  • Creative writing
  • Lens based media – including photography and film
  • Judges choice (miscellaneous)

Up to 3 pieces of work could be submitted by each entrant with a prize being awarded for 1st place and runner up from each category. Judges included local artists Poshfruit Creative and Sarah-Jayne Thornton, Leeds DJ Miss Melodie and local photographer Mindy Goose.


Over 60 pieces were submitted from clients accessing services across West Yorkshire from various support agencies which included probation services, community drug teams and criminal justice.

The day’s events included a welcome by Chris Dickinson, Head of Commissioning for Public Health at Leeds City Council, food provided by Leeds Armley junction PAYF café, an acoustic performance from The Art of Recovery band and a mono-printing workshop from local artist Emma Hardaker.

Art of Recovery

Local support

We were delighted to be supported by local companies with some amazing prizes for the entrants that included a photography workshop, outward bounds days, art materials, cakes and shopping vouchers. We are grateful to the following companies who supported the event : Leeds City Council, Nando’s, Pret a manger (Pret a Manger kindly supplied us with popcorn bars and love bars for the event which were given out free via a coca-cola machine) and Discerning images. 

Visit the exhibition

The event was a great success and a bigger and better ‘Art of Recovery’ is already in the pipeline for 2016 with more agencies that would like to be involved. The art work is currently on display at Mabgate Mills until the 30th October 2015 so why not pop along and view the creativity for yourself.