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Dr Langley Brown

Arts for Health Research Fellow

Langley Brown is an artist, writer and researcher and has worked in the field generally known as 'arts and health' since 1978 when he joined the pioneering Hospital Arts Team (now Lime) at Manchester's St Mary's Hospital.

In 1986 he co-founded Start (Manchester), an arts centre where users of Manchester's mental health services worked with artists, musicians and makers. He was Director of Start for ten years, helping establish related projects in Salford, Oldham and Stockport, and advising on setting up similar schemes around the UK. Several of these schemes, including Start in Manchester and Salford, now incorporate 'green' strands such as landscape work, horticulture, conservation and sustainability.

Langley was a founder member of the steering group for i am (inspired arts movement), the 1990s uk national forum which held two seminal conferences (1996,1999) celebrating the pioneer years of arts and mental health work and inspiring further development in the field of non-therapy arts practice.

After representing the UK at the final conference in UNESCO's ten-year Art in Hospital project, as a coda to this series he devised the culturally-focused thematic programme for the 1999 World Symposium on Culture, Health and the Arts hosted by Arts for Health at Manchester Metropolitan University.

In the 2000s he was a director of Bridgehead Arts, a Derbyshire company in which practitioners spanning a range of artforms developed collaborations arising from a series of investigations (CoLabs) of the human senses as the foundations of the arts. The company's action research phase was evaluated by Professor John Hyatt and Ruth Brown. Collaborations arising from Bridgehead included excursions into acting as a member of Buxton's fragiletheatre, and, with puppet maker the late Chris Agnew and as a member of Aidan Shingler and the Antidotes, touring Only Smarties have the Answer, a performance work devised by Aidan to expose abuses within the psychiatric system.

In 2006 Langley received his doctorate from Manchester Metropolitan University for his study Is Art Therapy? Art for mental health at the millennium; part personal ethnography and part exploration of the relationship between the clinical discipline of Art Therapy and non-therapy arts practice in the mental health (aka illness) domain.

He returned to MMU in 2010 to rescue and develop the Arts for Health Archive as a resource for research and practice. In 2011/12 he conducted a pilot project in which History of Art and Design undergraduates drew on the Archive to resuscitate the fabric and spirit of Head for the Hills, an art/environ/mental health project of the 1980s, and to pose questions as to how this historical project might be relevant today and inform contemporary practice.

Langley lives in Buxton with his wife Adrienne (onetime Director of Stockport Arts & Health). They have two children and a growing gang of grandchildren.


Arts for Health Archive (2010+)

Developing the Arts for Health Archive, rescued from decay in 2010 and housed at MIRIAD since 2011. The aim is to establish ARTLINES as a core archive of the global arts and health movement, its parallels and precursors. Details…

Ashgate Project (in progress, for completion 2014)

Collaboration with Adrienne Brown to research and make a mixed media triptych and a series of satellite artworks for Ashgate Hospice, Chesterfield. Inspired by the life and work of our friend and colleague Alison Creed (1947-2012), and following and drawing upon a programme of participatory consultations with the Creed family and with patients and staff of the Hospice. Details…

Dear Dead Dad... (a defence of uncertainty?) (in the fridge)

Is anxiety our natural state? A transgenerational project to research and compile an auto-ethnographic mixed media project comprising and emerging from documents, artefacts, and imagined dialogue connecting a deceased father's contemporary account of experience as a prisoner of war in North Africa and Europe, and a son born in the immediate aftermath of the Nazi war, growing up and raising a family and aspiring to be an artist in the 'Bomb Culture' of the cold war, up to and beyond the twin towers and into an age of proliferating uncertainty. . Details…



Brown, L., 2014. Arts and Health Archives, Manchester Histories Festival, Manchester Town Hall, March 2014.

Arts for Health Archive: Head for the Hills fileHead for the Hills: images from the Arts for Health Archive

Brown, L., Proctor, S., Wheeler, E., Day, C., Thornton, H., 2012. Head for the Hills#2, Moorland Centre, Edale, Derbyshire, 21 April - 31 May 2012.

Brown, L., Proctor, S., Wheeler, E., Day, C., Thornton, H., 2012. Head for the Hills#2: a work in progress, Manchester Histories Festival, Manchester Town Hall, 3/4 March 2012.

Brown, L., 2012. Langley Brown, Derbyshire Open Arts: Whitworth Centre, Darley Dale, 2-5 June 2012.

Brown, L., Proctor, S., Wheeler, E., Day, C., 2012. Langley Brown and Friends Head for the Hills, Buxton Art Trail, 7/8 July 2012.

Brown, L., 2011. Marking Time, Buxton Festival Fringe, July 2011.

Brown, L., Brown, A., 2010. MIRRORFRAGMENTECHO, Buxton Art Trail (BAT), Buxton Festival Fringe, July 2010.

Brown, L., Brown, A., 2009. Planet Domestos - and Beyond!, Buxton Festival Fringe, July 2009.


Head for the Hills: exhibition at Moorland Centre, Edale, April 2012

Brown, L., Proctor, S., Wheeler, E., 2012. 'Head for the Hills', reduced scale version of mosaic mural made 1986, demolished 2006, currently at Arts for Health Archive, MIRIAD; exhibited at celebrations of the 80th anniversary of the Kinder Scout Mass Trespass, Moorland Centre, Edale, Derbyshire, 21 April - 31 May 2012.


Professor Oedipus Punch

Shingler, A., Agnew, C., Brown, L., 2006. 'Only Smarties Have the Answer', touring, including Manchester (Green Room), Oldham, Buxton Fringe, 2006-08.

fragiletheatre: Grady, H., Small, C., Brown, L., 2006. 'Who's a Big Boy, Then?', 1. Palace Hotel, Buxton (for Derbyshire Domestic Abuse Reduction partnership) ; 2. Buxton Fringe (extended version), 1. 2006; 2: 2007.


Brown, L., Story, R., 2004. 'Pathways: an evaluation of the Pilot Phase for a project using the arts to promote well-being and creative neighbourhood renewal', Lime, Manchester.

issues in arts and mental health

Brown, L., 2000. 'i amDirectory: the UK Directory of the Forum for the Arts in Mental Health', mind the... gap, Bradford.

Brown, L., 1999. 'The Art of Mental Health: the arts and mental health in Trafford', Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council and Arts for Health, Manchester Metropolitan University.

Brown, L., Thomas, S., 1994. 'Art & Soul & the Cold Blue Walls', Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council and Start Manchester.

Book Chapters

Brown, L., 2012. 'Is Art Therapy?'. In Stickley, T. (eds.) Qualitative Research in Arts and Mental Health: Contexts, Meanings and Evidence, 2, 22-41, PCCS Books, Ross-on-Wye.

Brown, L., 1998. 'National Report of Great Britain'. In Tautz, H. (eds.) The Seed is Sown: 10 Years of ‘Arts in Hospital', UNESCO, Paris.

Brown, L., 1996. 'START: The Arts in Mental Health'. In Kaye, C., Blee, T. (eds.) The Arts in Health Care: A Palette of Possibilities, London, Jessica Kingsley.

Journal Articles

Brown, L., 2012. 'Politics, Identity, and a Career in Arts and Health', Arte y Políticas de Identidad, 4, 79-106.

Colgan, S., Bridges, K., Brown, L., Faragher, B., 1991. 'A tentative start: evaluation of alternative forms of care for chronic users of psychiatric services', Psychiatric Bulletin, 15, 596-598.


Brown, L., 2013. 'ARTLINES', Culture, Health and Wellbeing, Bristol, June 2013, in

Brown, L., 2012. 'Head for the Hills', Manchester Histories Festival, Friends Meeting House, Manchester, March 2012.

Brown, L., 2011. 'Around the Beneath the Beyond: the Surreal in the History of Art and Mind', What Lies Beneath?, Pool Arts, Manchester, 9 May 2011.

Brown, L., Burgess, P., 2011. 'Changing Mindsets: [a miscellany of] realities of artists’ engagement for mental health and wellbeing', UnConference, Manchester Metropolitan University, All Saints, 20 Oct 2011, in Arts for Health blog,

Scher, P., Brown, L., 2011. 'From Art to Arts for Health', From the Cradle to the Grave: Reciprocity and Exchange in the Making of Medicine and the Modern Arts, University of Exeter, 14 April 2011.

Brown, L., 2008. 'The Health of the Artist and of the Art', Equipping people to work in the arts and mental health, University of Nottingham, 14 November 2008.

Agnew, D., Agnew, C., Brooke-Taylor, M., Brown, L, Durdey, P., Small, C., Grady, H., Schouten, J., Shingler, A, 2004. 'Bridgehead', Bridgehead [Arts] Launch Event, Hope Valley Centre, Edale, Derbyshire, 9 July 2004.

Brown, L., Tolan, P., 2003. ''i am' (uk arts in mental health forum)', Turning the Tide, University College, Fallmouth.

Brown, L., 2003. 'What's Art? Why? Whyever Not?', Inspired Arts in Mental Health, Grange Arts Centre, Oldham, 19 February 2003.

Brown, L., 2002. 'What Issues? (bless you!)', A Breath of Fresh Air, Blackpool, 2 October 2002.

Shingler, A., Brown, L., Durdey, P., 1999. 'Cry for Sanctuary: generating creative and practical options for change for people in emotional crisis', i am Live!, Stanford Hall, Loughborough, in i am Live! report.