About Balmy Army: The Exhibition


This is Kao, from Balmy Army.

Let me explain…

Are you mentally unstable?

Well look no further.

Are you not? That’s okay, it’s in your best interests as an ally to keep reading.

Join us this summer as Balmy Army take over Contact to share placards, check ins and videos from our first year, celebrate and call for real change to mental health ‘care’ for young people.

Who are Balmy Army?

To date Balmy Army has been made by 80 young people from Greater Manchester, with the vacuum cleaner, Kevin Edward Turner, Lizzie Chapman, Toni-Dee, Caz Hughes, Evyn Seaton-Mooney, Rory Aaron, Rosalyne Norford, Gráinne Flynn, Cara Looij, Sascha Gilmour, Charlie Clark, HOME, Factory International, Contact, 42nd Street, Gorse Hill Studios and the Hope and Horizon Wards at Fairfield Hospital.

Special shout out to Lucy and Lisa from HOME – the best.

Launch Event - Thursday 25th July 2024

To celebrate ourselves and each other we are doing a little zero pressure launch event at Contact at 7pm on Thursday 25 July. You can see the things we made and some of us may share some new things we’ve been working on. The event will be kinda super non-pressure and more like a rehearsal, don’t expect a fancy show or anything. But if not fancy and zero pressure is your thing…

- ok babes. For real now. When you've been through stuff, crazy stuff, those memories are really intense and painful. WE GET YOU. So we take that stuff super serious. Balmy Army is about young people’s mental health, and we do lots of trigger warnings before sharing stuff. It’s impossible for us to list everything here as we are still making what we will share, but we promise we will list them on the evening and give people time to remove themselves. We will encourage people to not cause harm to themselves or others. Harm reduction all day long.

Other things to help.

  • There will be a separate space to go into to chill, disassociate, doom scroll etc

  • There will be one of 42nd Street’s mental health professionals around for chats (love to 42nd Street)

  • There will be snacks and fidget toys and ear defenders and it’s ok to stim and pace. You are with your people.

So, how can I see the exhibition?

Easy... you just walk in, whenever works for you! Contact is open to the public from 10:00 (Tuesday to Saturday) throughout the day.

Full disclosure, our closing time does depend on what else we have going on... but our friendly Duty Management team will always be happy to let you know. Give them a buzz on 07970094069 and the knowledge shall be yours!

Our random bits of cardboard with scribbles on (aka our art) are actually deep if you read them. Some are a bit messy, some are not all there, some are broken, some are kind of ugly but it’s ok - so are we.

We are Balmy Army, an art, activism and mutual care project for young people who are a bit mental, and have some experiences of systems, whether that be being offered a cup of tea from an absolutely clueless and underpaid nurse, a back and forth ping pong match with CAHMS and some of our friends staying at Fairfield hospital (love to all those who are inpatients right now)

Our placards are from our march in 2023 at Manchester International Festival (I know right, fancy). We walked through the streets, chanting, dancing and shouting, “Our young people are distressed, please fund the NHS”. You know, just daily thoughts.

Anyways, the lovely folks at Contact have been super kind and are supporting Balmy Army for the next year and beyond. So this ‘exhibition’ (lol) is also an invitation to you, all of Manchester’s wonky folks, all the sad bunnies, all the anxious ones, the messy, those who are pissed-off about young people’s mental health and want to be noisy, kind, silly and ragey in building something less meh. Get in touch - pissedoffpeople@balmy.army

Dates & times