The deadline for the British Safety Council multimedia poster competition Images of wellbeing is approaching.
There is a mindfulness technique which asks you to look closely at an object and notice that in looking your awareness undergoes subtle changes.
The idea is that by becoming more aware of what is in front of you, worries or anxious thoughts – hostage to events in the past or racing ahead towards the future – you will gain some space to relax, become more focused on the present and loosen any negative associations.
Generally, such visualisation techniques can boost your sense of wellbeing.
The more visually interesting the object, the more the observing mind has to work on. Whether it’s shape, texture, tone or colour, an object can be a great spur to both concentration and mental absorption.
Natural objects like trees or rivers offer a huge variety of visual stimuli to encourage such thinking. Of course, for most of us at most times, such contemplation in the presence of nature is not on offer.
We beaver away at desks with minimal natural light, sitting for extended periods and surrounded by chunks of plastic and wires, marooned in a sea of discarded post-it notes, hectoring voices and the incessant tapping of keyboards. Not an environment to really make you feel good.
But what applies to an object can also apply to an image. A piece of design or art – with the added potential of text – can use the attributes of an object to give the mind a welcome workout. Images offer loads of potential for enhancing wellbeing. And it hangs on your wall.
This ‘restorative’ power of images has been recognised by government. The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing was formed in 2014 and aims to improve awareness of the benefits that the arts can bring to health and wellbeing. Their report shows that engagement in art helps overcome anxiety, depression and stress at work.
Another campaign, Paintings in Hospitals, starts from the premise that ‘our surroundings have an impact on the way we think and feel. Art can transform cold, clinical environments into welcoming public spaces that encourage, enrich and empower everyone who uses them.’
The evidence seems clear. ‘Images of wellbeing’, our poster competition, is looking for moving image posters as well as static, which adds a fascinating new dimension to the potential of images to enhance wellbeing.
With movement we can start exploring images as they reveal over time, the poster can play with narrative and tap into story-telling techniques such as building tension, the slow reveal of information, the use of point of view, shifts in tone – all adding up to make an image memorable.
Our desire for a positive sense of wellbeing might be as old as the hills. Let’s see what modern technology can do to encourage it.
‘Images of wellbeing’ poster competition details:
- Submit a static or animated poster in a digital format
- Entries are accepted from individuals or teams
- Deadline 19 October 2018
- Shortlisted entries will be displayed in an exhibition.
More about the competition at: britsafe.org/campaigns-policy/competition-images-of-wellbeing
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