What is Balmy Army anyway?

Balmy Army isn’t a model of working in mental health, but what is it?

Between October 2022 and July 2023, over 80 young people and 10 artists and activists made a process around mental health care and support called Balmy Army. All of those involved had various lived experience of mental health struggles. The art, actions and mutual care that evolved in this process was shared during Manchester International Festival 2023 and an exhibition at HOME over the following months.

How can we find a way of talking about what’s come out of this process – the vibes, the tools, the light bulb moments, the mistakes? And what can that offer the mental health strategies in Greater Manchester? Come and help us unpack the Balmy Army approach and hear what we’ve learnt from young people’s art, activism and mutual care.

This will be an informal event involving sharing of critical reflections and conversations and is designed for disability activists, researchers, young people, disability organisations, artists, partners and mental health workers.

Led by Tara Brown and Nicky Sim, Balmy Army’s critical friends, alongside lead artist, the vacuum cleaner, and organisers of Balmy Army.

This event will be open for people to drop in to but will have a reasonable capacity limit for the speakers to be heard. If you would like to guarantee your place or seating to avoid disappointment, please register your interest and access requirements here https://forms.office.com/e/n2xq4DpUMA.


Balmy Army is a project made by people with lived experience of mental health struggles. You can expect content including all kinds of mental health and intersecting experiences.

Suitable for ages 14+.

Please note this event is happening during an Open Day at HOME so it is likely that the building will be busier than usual. Ear defenders and a quieter space will be available during the event.