Creative Mindfulness

Join Mindfulness Centre Co-Director Dr. Tamara Russell for a very special immersive mindful viewing experience at the National Gallery London, March 16th 2020.

In this lunch-time event the audience will view Rosa Bonheur’s incredible piece The Horse Fair.

Christina Bradstreet from the National Gallery which share some fascinating history of this pioneering artist. With help from the Gallery’s audio team, we have creative an immersive soundscape to allow a whole mind/body engagement with the piece. Tamara will be offering a special guidance to help you step into the painting and absorb it’s many layers of meaning.

Join us monthly in London for Consciousness Hacking London events around London. MCoE is proud to be part of the organizing team for the London group of individuals who want to develop consciousness using the power of technology in wise and mindful ways. We are part of a global community of Conscious Consciousness Hackers. This is not easy task as MUCH of our relating to technology is totally mindless. Furthermore, there is nothing like tech to feed unintentional consequences (even when you think you are doing something helpful). What great training opportunities. We are particularly interested in VR/AR and AI and how to create products that heal rather than harm. Find us on meetup or Facebook.

MCoE Co-Director Tony Langford’s Art+Tech=Nature? event with Sketch and Kinetica Museum was a great success. You can hear the talk and discussion via this link (soundcloud).

Mindful Museum Collaboration with Fernanda Terra (Rio, 2019).

Seeing-I Project with Arebyte Gallery and Mark Farid (London/Austria, 2019).

What Colour is your Dragon? Creative mindfulness for families (London 2019).

(On-going) Creative Pedagogy in Mindfulness Teacher Training  – Brazil Collaboration with Casa do Horto and Iniciativa Mindfulness

The writing on Dr. Tiago Tatton’s sweatshirt says it all about the creative approach adopted in this interdisciplinary team. The students are trained in Brain-wise embodiment mindfulness tools and creative and enacted learning is used to accelerate and deepen the learning.  When we use a neurocognitive framework to inform the pedagogy we can quickly and deeply embed the core principles of mindfulness. Students then find their own way to live this in their life and work. This is a bottom-up principles driven approach that creates life-long learners who will always have room to grow.

Weaving a New Story Takes Part in Arts and Health Week 2018

Arts in Mind – Understanding mental health, the mind and the brain through the arts

Arts in Mind is a week-long festival from 4 -10 June 2018 celebrating innovative collaborations between researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) and the creative and cultural sector. It showcases work that explores new ways to improve wellbeing and facilitate a better understanding of mental health, the brain and the mind.

The festival features over 30 exhibitions, performances, screenings and workshops on topics as diverse as psychological wellbeing in pregnancy to music and images as mood enhancers.

This is an opportunity to immerse yourself in a unique series of one-off experiences. Many of the events are ticketed so be sure to book before they sell out.

The Arts in Mind festival has been produced and delivered by King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), working with the university’s specialist Culture teams, and marks the 20th anniversary of the IoPPN joining King’s.

There is a chance to see a selection of the Weaving a New Story images on display in the SDGP Centre, on the IoPPN Campus, Denmark Hilll. Up until September 3rd 2018.

Experience some of the Weaving a New Story practices at the Sashiko workshop.

Join a Mindful Movement Safari to the Park, led by Dr Tamara Russell

Sew Mindful @ Breathe – Atrium 1 – Guy’s Hospital

Experience an activity to create something beautiful and unique, exploring elements of selfcare and mindfulness. Join Rosie from Cocoon Family support and Tamara who will guide you as you explore the technique of decoupage and shashiko whilst learning about the importance of self-care. Gain understanding of some of the underlying neuroscience behind the activity so you can give those attention networks a good workout! A wonderful quiet, gentle activity, linking creativity, self-care and mindfulness.

Weaving a New Story Exhibition,  Atrium 1, Guy’s Hospital London Bridge (until end of Summer 2018)

Be inspired by the artistic creations of a small group of mum’s with post natal depression. Over-coming fears and doubts, they jumped in to the creative process and a beautiful quilt was the outcome. Find out more about the exhibition here.

It will run until the end of June 2018. We are looking for a new venue to exhibit the quilt at the end of the show – if you have a space, please contact us.


February 3rd  2018 from 2-4pm at the National Gallery, London. 

Be mesmerised by the beauty of Gallen-Kallela’s paintings of Lake Keitele in this special mindfulness and slow-looking workshop.  This is a collaboration between the National Gallery’s Christina Bradstreet and Dr. Tamara Russell, Director of the Mindfulness Centre of Excellence.

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Be guided towards a deeper connection with Gallen-Kallela’s haunting paintings of the Finnish landscape and learn how to find a place of inner calm within the bustling spaces of downtown London and the National Gallery.

Neuroscientist Tamara Russell will guide a variety of mindfulness practice that will open up whole body awareness to these beautiful images. The National Gallery’s Christina Bradstreet will introduce and guide you in an immersive exploration of the paintings, allowing you to really experience the work in a deeper way and connect to the intent of the artist.

Akseli Gallen-Kallela was born in Pori in western Finland on 26 April 1865. As a child he developed a deep love of the Finnish countryside.  From 1878 he enrolled in drawing classes in Helsinki, and like many art students at the time, he continued his training in Paris. Gallen-Kallela maintained an international outlook throughout his career and exhibited widely in the major cities of Europe, for example with Edvard Munch (1863–1944) in Berlin in 1895.

His fame abroad was considerable. Yet he always remained attached to Finland and often returned to paint both the tales and landscapes of its most remote and unspoilt areas.

His Lake Keitele pictures, painted between 1904 and 1906, fuse diverse international trends such as painting outdoors directly in front of the subject, and the decorative abstraction of Symbolism.

Gallen-Kallela’s visit to the Lake was to rest and recuperate following illness. This is a reminder of how beneficial it is to spend time in nature.  Psychological and neuroscientific research is helping us to recognize the benefit of looking at pictures of  nature for our well-being, mental health, and can even restore our attentional focus when it becomes fatigued and ease the effort of commencing a mindfulness practice.  This is a reminder to find a park near you and get out there and start to pay attention, on purpose, moment by moment and without judging to all you can see. Nature supports us in our mindfulness training and practice. As does creativity.

Join us at this event if you want to see the power of nature and creativity together to support your mind.

Sign up to the Mindfulness Centre of Excellence mailing list to find out more about upcoming Creative Mindfulness events, including the Weaving a New Story Show in Atrium 1 of Guy’s Hospital – going up mid Feb until end of June 2018.

No experience necessary. The session includes some basic meditation practice, suitable for beginners.

Tickets can be booked here.


We have now finished the Weaving a New Story  Pilot project (Summer 2017).  You can watch a short film “Where it all started” or read an update on the work here. Two MSc Dissertations have evaluated the quantitative and qualitative changes in a small group of mums with post natal depression (PND) after they engaged in a creative mindfulness group. A very rich narrative emerged from the group as to how they felt they can be best supported in this challenging time.

Here is Tamara talking about the @sewindful methodology and Liz sharing her insights from this mindful textiles intervention. Although the activity is creative, the guidance and exercises are designed to tap into core brain networks that we need to “work out” when training in mindfulness.  Focused attention can be enhanced by different types of stiches and even different lengths of thread. Mind wandering can be monitored (more safely) in relation to the sewing activity, but around themes that are highly relevant to post natal depression (judging, rumination, comparison etc). Find out more about how we explored “Getting it Wrong” in this short video.

Tame and Train the Mind

The final quilt produced by the group and the artworks (photography by Deborah Besana) will go on display in Atrium 1 of Guy’s Hospital (London Bridge) from January 2018 to June 2018 with the support of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity

A big thank you to the @sewmindful team and our sponsors, the King’s Cultural Institute, Clinical Partners, the Mindfulness Centre of Excellence, and Cocoon Family Support.

Even my wrong’s not right

Weaving a new story: a project investigating how mindful textile work can support mothers with post-natal depression is a 2017 project for the Mindfulness. Centre. Working with funding from King’s Cultural Institute, support from Cocoon and two enthusiastic Master’s students from King’s College London, this 10-week intervention aims to use the creative arts as a way to train mindfulness, transform stories about post natal depression.

We had a great show of works at King’s Waterloo Campus, inviting mum’s and their families and friends to attend and share the inspiring work.  The quilt has now been framed in an amazing Perspex box, making it possible for us to showcase it in the public space of Atrium 1 at Guy’s hospital. There will be QR interactive codes as part of the exhibition to allow passers by to experience some the practices that were taught in the group, including the Transitional Pause.  We have planned a number of workshop activities over the six months of the show ….watch this space.

Liz Finegold is the textiles/artistic lead on the project. Her work looks at how women can be supported to self-manage mental health challenges via creative endeavours (textiles, painting, sewing, craft etc).  Mindfulness is the thread of the work, using the creative endeavour to explicitly explore mind and body states to increase awareness.

Follow us on Twitter @sewmindful

The Core Team Behind Weaving a new Story.

dance mindfulness in a circleDance Mindfulness: The Mindfulness Centre of Excellence is working with a number of collaborators to explore a dance project based on mindfulness. The scientific question is about embodiment – how we can use the body as part of the pedagogy of mindfulness. We are asking, can the way the body moves be used to help us understand the way the mind moves under conditions of mindfulness and mindlessness? Furthermore, can the movement of others bodies, and the corresponding activation of our mirror neuron system, help us to understand better what we are attempting to detect when we explore movement of mind? The early work of this project has been conducted in collaboration with composer Matt Travis, Dance United, Vivartista and Artful Badger as well as colleagues from Brazil – Taigo Tatton, Matteus Romero and Clarissa Oliveira Alminhana.

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Enacted learning in Brazil 2016 with partners Casa Do Horto.

Learning from movement, sound and posture about the triple network of the brain that supports our mindfulness learning. How does the body move to represent the saliance network?

Making short plays of the mind as a way to learn. It was so engaging, fun, playful and the learning experience memorable and deep.  There are more ways to learn mindfulness than sitting on a cushion ….

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Image of a Dance Mindfulness Workshop
Image of a Dance Mindfulness Workshop

We  held three workshops over the summer of 2014 where we  explored the external, behavioural habits that take us over in our day to day life, as well as internal habits and emotions. We are grateful to Dance United for the use of their studio and wise advice and guidance. Those who took part in the workshop indicated that they found it very helpful to really enact their habits. This gave them a new insight. One participant reported that she felt completely different in her body after the workshop and had been able to see, very clearly the difference between how the mind moves and reacts when being mindful, as compared to when she was reacting and being mindless. One quote that comes up when working with embodied learning is that…

“When you embody the learning you begin to realise what you don’t understand…and ask questions.”

…and this is exactly what has been happening. In the process of beginning to work on this project we have come to understand that the experience within the performance is quite profound but also different to what we want to convey. We are experimenting with a workshop model (which will allow individuals to really move the body and experience mindfulness through the body) as well as the performance aspect – where body movement will convey the concepts that we hope will help people to understand more what they are observing and learning as they practice mindfulness. In the meantime, keep an eye on the Facebook page for our upcoming workshops.