This site now acts as an archive only. For the latest news, opinion, blogs and listings on disability arts and culture visit

Disability Arts Online

> > > News: CoolTan Arts walk with Arthur Smith in celebration of World Mental Health Day 2011
comedian arthur smith pictured with a group of people, setting off on a walk to celebrate world mental health day

Arthur Smith, Sponsored Walk Patron - setting walkers off on their way with a few words of support

Cooltan's BIG Largactyl Shuffle celebrated World Mental Health Day 2011 and explored the history of the NHS 'from cradle to grave'.

On Saturday 15th October more than 90 CoolTan Arts participants, volunteers, supporters and patrons gathered outside south-east London's Maudsley Hospital in Camberwell to begin their 'monumental' sponsored walk to London's Tate Modern at Bankside.

Mental health and arts charity CoolTan Arts offers a full creative programme, from visual arts and sculpture to film-making and pod-casting, as well as self-advocacy sessions. The organisation's patrons include artist Maggi Hambling and author Ali Smith.

Comedian and broadcaster Arthur Smith became patron of the 2011 event, joining participants for CoolTan's fun, guided cultural walk celebrating mental and physical well-being. 

Deputy Mayor of Southwark Cllr Althea Smith and Cabinet member for Health & Adult Social Care Cllr Dora Dixon Fyle opened proceedings. Highlights of the day included a unique tree-planting ceremony on Camberwell Green, when a gingko tree was planted as a living sculpture, made possible with funding from the Cleaner Greener Safer initiative, awarded by Southwark Council.

CoolTan Arts CEO Michelle Baharier said:

“CoolTan are very proud to have this unique commission on Camberwell Green, both as a legacy for our organisation and a reminder to keep mental health on the agenda”. During the tree-planting ceremony, Cllr Dixon-Fyle said: “Keep CoolTan in the frame: that’s exactly what we’re going to do”.

The walk was staged as a fundraiser against crippling NHS cuts, with staff, volunteers, participants and patrons raising £6225 in aid of the charity. The day was a huge success with fun, poetry, history and creative talks along the way.

The event culminated in a film screening, refreshments and socialising at Tate Modern, with home-made cakes on offer and an impromptu performance from participant Julius Xavier, who presented his new song, 'Personalisation is for us!'

Chair of CoolTan Arts trustees Asmos Phillips expressed heartfelt thanks to all who contributed to CoolTan's Sponsored Shuffle by organising, fundraising and participating. He said: "The superb weather and unique camaraderie created by this year’s Sponsored Shuffle made the day thoroughly uplifting and enlightening. I'd like to wholeheartedly welcome everyone back for next year’s walk!”

Find out more about Cooltan Arts at