From outsider to insider

Mental health and inclusion were from mid-October to 19 December 2023 central themes in the thematic programme ‘mental vulnerability’ of the cultural centre the Koppelkerk in Bredevoort. The aim was to reduce the taboo on mental health vulnerability and to make people more active in society and feel more seen and heard. 

Art exhibition ‘Insider art’

An exhibition of so-called Outsider Art formed the centrepiece of the programming from October – December 2021. Outsider Art is art made by people who are not trained as artists, and often stay outside the art world and society because of psychological problems or a mental handicap. At the Koppelkerk they prefer to speak of Insider Art. By speaking of Insider Art we break through the dominant discourse of ‘us’ versus ‘them’ (the outsiders). And the possibility arises to tell their story within the visual arts. In this way, they become part of society and the art world. These people make art that comes straight from the heart. The passion is tangible and a piece of their inner world becomes visible.

The Koppelkerk shows work of ten contemporary outsider artists and two artists – Anton Heyboer (1924-2005) and Wim Izaks (1950-1989) – who are normally not considered Outsider Art, but who, according to the Koppelkerk, do fit into the art movement.  

Lectures, workshops and discussion evenings

In addition to the exhibition, the Koppelkerk organised:

  • Lectures by experts in the field of mental health/psychic vulnerability, such as emeritus professor of psychology Liesbeth Woertman.
  • An art history course on the theme of art and social criticism, including the Outsider Art movement.
  • Interviews with experts by experience. From ordinary people to well-known writers and poets such as Ellen Deckwitz (book ‘Hogere natuurkunde’).
  • A film screening of the classic ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’.
  • Social discussion evenings about the state of the GGZ.
  • Workshops for children and clients of care institution Estinea.

Due to lockdowns and packed schedules thereafter, the lead time of the palette of lectures and talks has been extended through 2023.

Active Health Foundation supported the programme of the Koppelkerk with a financial donation.

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