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Out of Sight Out of Mind 2020

Out of Sight Out of Mind (OOSOOM) is an annual exhibition that shows artworks made by people who have lived experience of mental health issues.

In 2020, exhibitors and organisers succeeded in bringing the 8th year of the exhibition to fruition despite the challenges of the COVID pandemic.

Artworks by 83 people were shown, both at Summerhall and via an online exhibition on a brand new OOSOOM website.

It’s been such an amazing opportunity to be able to listen to people’s experiences, view their art, and discuss mental health with a great range of people, especially those whose stories we perhaps rarely see or hear


OOSOOM began in 2013 and has always provided a platform for people with lived experience of mental health issues to have their voices heard using the arts. Each year paintings, drawings, film, sculpture, installations and many other media on many topics are shown. The exhibition is organised by a group of people who have lived experience of mental health issues who meet throughout the year to plan and deliver the exhibition.

In March 2020, when the COVID pandemic appeared in all our lives the Planning Group continued to meet online to plan the exhibition, working within whatever guidelines that might be in place at the time. They worked with a web designer to ensure that, even if a physical exhibition could not take place, there would at least be an online exhibition.

By autumn a break in restrictions meant that it was indeed going to be possible. So, after careful consideration amongst all involved, including consulting with those who had submitted their artwork, the exhibition went ahead at Summerhall with COVID measures in place. The online exhibition meant that people who could not attend could also see the work. Also, for the first time the OOSOOM exhibition at Summerhall had a booking system which meant that a reduced number of visitors could enjoy the work in person. The online exhibition had thousands of visitors, many from around the UK and beyond! The online launch gave many of us a chance to celebrate the exhibition ‘together’, which was as always, meaningful and unique, perhaps more so than usual.

The Planning Group are currently working on the 2021 exhibition which will take place in October, at Summerhall and again online. Hopefully in easier circumstances for all.

You can still see OOSOOM 2020 on the website and if you would like to hear details of the 2021 exhibition, get involved in the planning of the exhibition or if you would like to show your artwork in 2022, then please check the website regularly or get in touch.

Find out how to get involved
with this project

Exhibitors, organisers and visitors replies to the question ‘What does it mean to you?’:

I have attended many online meetings during the lockdown and this (the online OOSOOM exhibition launch) was the best – glorious chaos, good humour, kindness, gentleness, informative and joyous.


The chance to be appreciated and have work seen. To be able to express myself in a way that will be interpreted differently by others and just maybe share a similar meaning to what I see and feel.


It has felt harder to connect this year due to the impacts of Covid, so I’m incredibly grateful to have been able to be involved in a project where we have done just that, and worked towards such a positive and important goal. I’m already looking forward to next year!

Emergence by Katie Cloy
Words That Stick by S. Donachie

Find out how to get involved
with this project

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