Stereo-Hype Festival 2013

Stereo-Hype Festival 2013 took place on 25 and 26 January at Stratford Circus.

It celebrated 10 years of promoting positive mental health and wellbeing, challenge stigma and discrimination. This free two day festival of music, film, drama, comedy, wellbeing workshops and information – had something for all ages.

Watch Stereo-Hype coordinator Sandra Griffiths talking about the festival with Henry Bonsu on Vox Africa.

  1. Photo gallery
  2. Videos from the day
  3. Festival highlights
  4. Mellow and Time to Change
  5. Ten years of Stereohype
  6. Stereohype and Mellow
  7. Why a focus on African and Caribbean communities?
  8. Festival feedback

 STEREO-HYPE festival 2013 flyer: promoting the wellbeing of African and Caribbean communities through art, performance and discussion


Stereo-Hype Festival 2013 photo gallery

Photography by Lee Townsend and Hunduma Bekele

Stereo-Hype Festival 2013; The Stereo-Hype Experience

Videos from the day

Festival highlights included

Black Men on the Couch featuring Herol ‘Bomber’ Graham, British Boxing Champion and Paul Canoville, the first black player to play in a Chelsea F.C. shirt with Rotime Akinsete and Dwight Turner. This concept was devised by Project 20: 20 and was hosted by the UK Council for Psychotherapy.

Time to Change a newly commissioned play by Tony Dallas explored the theme of Belonging, Stigma and Discrimination performed by the Stereo-Hype Players (actors with a lived experience of mental health problems from the local African and Caribbean communities) and young people from NewVic, 6th Form College.

Photographic Exhibition about the African and Caribbean communities in Britain – curated by Errol Francis. The exhibition comprised existing art work and photographs produced by African and Caribbean service users and artists that presented the mental health experiences of African and Caribbean communities and representations of the wider social factors that have shaped that experience. The exhibition included images that promoted images of community responses to African and Caribbean people with mental health problems.

Magical Forest Installation by Tea Dance Little People and Stratford Circus. Tea Dance for Little People is a social enterprise aimed at improving the health and well-being of families with young children through creative play.



  • The Revolving Door

The Revolving Door is a 30-minute film following a young man’s experience of mental health and the problems he encounters. It was written and produced by writers Dan Wilson and Shaun Welch; also known as Aeon and Evoke. This ground-breaking film, which challenges the stigma surrounding mental health issues, was produced with the support of Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust. It was shown for the first time in East London at Stereo-Hype Festival 2013 as part of an hour long interactive workshop.

West Indian Front Room

  •  The festival also featured the West Indian Front Room installation, curated by Dr Michael McMillan to experience attitudes and life in a Caribbean home in the 1960s and 70s.  

Panel discussion

  • Henry Bonsu - facilitator; - Aronda Atkinson - Tony Dallas - Isaac Samuels - Jacqui Dyer


  • The Revolving Door, with Beresford Dawkins,  Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust 
  • Faith as a Tool of Resilience, with Donna Marie Sharpe Exploring the role that faith and spiritual beliefs can play in supporting emotional resilience 
  • 'Everything That You Wanted To Know About Therapy But Were Afraid To Ask! with Rotimi Akinsete and Tricia Collins, Black and Asian Therapist Network 
  • West Indian Front Room, Film and Q&A, with Dr Michael McMillan

Alternative therapies

Local community organisations

Mellow and Time to Change

The Stereo-Hype Festival 2013 is a partnership between Mellow and Time to Change to have a conversation with the African and Caribbean community about mental health stigma and discrimination. It marked the 10th anniversary of the Stereo Hype Programme that has promoted the wellbeing of African and Caribbean communities through art, performance and discussion

Over 500 people attended the Stereo-Hype Festival on Friday 25 and Saturday 26 January 2013 at Stratford Circus in East London. It provided a range of free activities to engage African and Caribbean communities across London. These included African and Caribbean food, music, film, drama, comedy, wellbeing workshops and information.

This Stereo-Hype Festival embraces the social contact model that Time to Change has used at previous events. Visitors to the event meet people with experience of mental health problems. Just by chatting and getting to know each other they challenge prejudice, stigma and discrimination together.

 Each Stereo-Hype event has a theme. The theme for Stereo-Hype Festival 2013 was Belonging: Family, Home and Community.

Ten years of Stereo-Hype

Stereo-Hype, established in 2003 by Mellow, is an event which creates a space to discuss and explore stigma, discrimination and well-being issues within African and Caribbean communities through performance and visual arts.

Stereo-Hype events have been on the whole annual events usually held in October to coincide with World Mental Health Day and Black History Month. Hosted within entertainment venues, these events have over the last 9 years attracted over 2,000 people representing a wide cross section of people from African and Caribbean backgrounds from all age groups, professional backgrounds and members of the public. They have also attracted people from other cultural backgrounds.

In 2005 South Lambeth and Maudsley Mental Health Trust (SLAM) commissioned Mellow to deliver a South London based Stereo-Hype event. In 2008 Stereo-Hype celebrated its 5th anniversary, sponsored by the Greater London Authority at their building.

Stereo-Hype and Mellow

The Stereo-Hype Festival 2013 is based upon the popular Stereo-Hype events conceived and delivered by Mellow to raise awareness and challenge the negative stereotypes and stigma that African and Caribbean people with/vulnerable to mental health difficulties face.

Mellow was established in 2000 to improve the experience of African and Caribbean and other people with mental health problems, and promote wellbeing within the community in East London. The programme is now based at Social Action for Health an East London based charity.

If you would like more information about future Stereo Hype Festivals and events please contact:

For more information about Mellow please contact: or visit:

Why a Focus on African and Caribbean communities?

Time to Change is working to address stigma and discrimination among Black and Minority Ethnic communities throughout all our work, including two dedicated posts and community based projects funded through our grants scheme.

Ten reasons why Stereo-Hype Festival 2013 engaged African and Caribbean people

  1. African and Caribbean people living in the UK have lower rates of common mental disorders than other ethnic groups but are more likely to be diagnosed with severe mental illness.
  2. African and Caribbean people are three to five times more likely than any other group to be diagnosed and admitted to hospital for schizophrenia.
  3. There are plenty of theories around this and there is currently much research looking at the mental health of our population and how it could be improved.
  4. There has been less attention paid to mental health stigma and discrimination that African and Caribbean people experience within their community and in wider society.
  5. African and Caribbean people with a lived experience of mental health problems can experience ’double stigma’. This refers to mental health related stigma and stigma related to racial discrimination.
  6. The Stereo-Hype Festival aims to change the negative ‘hype’ around black mental health through an interactive platform, with service users at its heart, to stimulate an informed discussion for change.
  7. The Stereo-Hype Festival will promote the idea that belonging to a group, family or community can have a positive impact on mental wellbeing and can contribute to recovery.
  8. Feeling close to, and valued by, other people is a fundamental human need and one that contributes to functioning well in the world
  9. Mental Health stigma and discrimination can act as a barrier to developing and maintaining relationships and a sense of belonging with family and within community and society as a whole
  10. Stereo-Hype wants to create opportunities where African and Caribbean communities have a conversation about mental health problems and more actively engage in the campaign to tackle stigma and discrimination in their community

Stereo Hype Festival 2013 feedback - from those who came along

What, if anything, did you particularly like about this event?

Variety of activities

It is a way of getting our voice heard

Well structured, well planned

Showed that voice for mental health is being built, but more people needed to help do more


I liked the performances which I thought were excellent. I also thought the alternative therapy section was excellent as well



I liked warm and welcoming attitude of the volunteers and the variety of the performances and discussion

Well being; therapies; Drama; West Indian Front Room

Lots of things going on, a good "buzz", appealing to all ages and personal circumstances, a mix of specific events and "drop-in" stalls etc

I found Isaac's testimony profoundly moving and informative as his strength and dignity in being so open about the extent of his problems - 'I've been constantly ill and have had many pathways to care' - in such a relaxed manner was very inspiring. The contrast between how he came across - confident, relaxed, articulate, intelligent and emotionally intelligent and self-aware - and the content of what he was saying - 'I've been constantly ill' - suggested that things may be a lot more nuanced and complicated than the simplistic recovery model. Maybe you can be very 'well' and very 'ill' at the same time

Enjoyed the craft stall made a flower it was therapeutic and you had something at end

There was a buzz from all those attending, a lot of positive energy around. It was great!

I liked just seeing so many people around who were willing just to say hello to a stranger and talk/listen to them. I very much enjoyed the session with Black Men on the Couch and hearing how others dealt with their problems and what happened once they accepted that something was wrong. I also liked hearing how others are just getting on and doing "normal" everyday things

The open forum the guest speakers were brave enough to share their most intimate issues 

I especially liked the performances e.g. the play and the spoken word artists that really did tackle the issues in a great way

And how could it be improved?



It wasn't clear to me till I got there what it was going to be like, and it sometimes felt as if the mental health agenda was being "smuggled in" under cover of other activities. But perhaps this was necessary...

I think it was a mistake to leave the last guy to the end (Akala on Saturday). Although I didn't totally agree with everything he said, it sounded like he had a lot of important and intelligent things to say.

If there was more for children would have stayed longer and got massage. I was interested in West Indian front room talk but missed it cause my daughter had nothing to occupy her once we visited face painting and made a flower

I liked the Black Men on the Couch session but would prefer fewer celebrities. All people suffer I do understand but next time, invite some lesser known people to sit on the couch. It might just help a few unwilling people to think about what's going on for them


Media Coverage


BBC Manchester Radio - The People

The Voice

Mental Health Today 

Newham Recorder 

Vox Africa

The Guardian

Reprezent Radio (107.3FM)

Afiya Trust

OBV online

The Voice

Post event

BBC Radio Manchester

The People

Newham Recorder

Mental Health Today

We would like to thank all the participants, attendees, volunteers and suppliers who supported Stereo-Hype Festival 2013 including Joy Francis, The Creative Collective, Ochee Design, Loud Minority, Bon Manje (Catering) and Urban Printers 



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