Brain Injury Matters: Unexpected Happenings

Fri 7 January – Friday 28 January 2022

Flax Gallery: Theatre at The Mill

Free Exhibition: No booking required

Time: 10am – 5pm

Unexpected Happenings is an exhibition of drawings, paintings, mixed media and photography created during the pandemic on Zoom through weekly workshops with adults who have an acquired brain injury.

The pandemic made Brain Injury Matters participants feel isolated, cut off and disconnected from each other, family and friends and society. At times there seemed to be no end in sight…

Each week different media were explored with new and unexpected talents discovered.

With pride and confidence the participants are delighted with the opportunity to exhibit a selection of their art works at the Flax Gallery in January 2022.

The sessions delivered by the Brain Injury Matters Arts and Wellbeing Service (Studio) was made possible by funding from The Community Foundation – Coronavirus Community Fund.

Brain Injury Matters (NI) is an independent regional charity established in 2013 to support, promote and empower those living with an ABI. As well as delivering a range of children’s, youth and adult services at home and community settings, Brain Injury Matters seeks to raise public awareness of ABI and to develop the creative and artistic potential of those with ABI not only for their own benefit, but for the enrichment of society.

Acquired Brain Injury – An ABI is damage to the brain which occurs after birth and is not related to congenital or degenerative disease. ABIs can be caused by vascular problems such as a stroke (clot or bleed), brain tumours, infections (meningitis), hypoxia (drug overdose, near drowning), metabolic disorders, poisoning (carbon monoxide), or from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) where larges forces impact the brain (road traffic accident, assault, sporting injury or fall).

Symptoms, problems, needs, and challenges – An ABI can be life-altering, sometimes with significant long-term cognitive, behavioural, physical, psychological, emotional, and social consequences. Depending on the nature and location of the injury people with ABI can have a range of problems such as:

  • Cognitive – memory, attention, concentration, organising, perception, problem-solving, insight, self-monitoring, safety awareness, social judgment/interactions, and communication.
  • Physical – Walking, physical appearance, sleep problems, fatigue, pain, headaches, dizziness, nausea, balance, coordination, vision, hearing, taste, and smell.
  • Behavioural and Emotional – Emotional lability, poor initiation, mood change, adjustment problems, aggressive outbursts, disinhibition, poor motivation, anxiety, and depression.

These problems can affect a person’s ability to perform activities of daily life and general quality of life. It can impact self-confidence, self-image, self-esteem, and self-worth. Many survivors of ABI experience dramatic and permanent changes in educational and employment prospects, their role within family life, engagement with friends, leisure activities, hobbies and pastimes, their communities, and wider society. The problems and disabilities are often not visible and being invisible, this can present additional challenges for the person, their families, friends, teachers, and as they engage with others in their communities.

United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – The purpose of the UNCRPD (to which the UK is a signatory) is “to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity. Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.”

This exhibition is an exemplar of ‘Article 30 – Participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport’ by enabling: “…persons with disabilities to have the opportunity to develop and utilize their creative, artistic and intellectual potential, not only for their own benefit, but also for the enrichment of society.

Further, it will help fulfil ‘Article 8 – Awareness raising’, where “States Parties undertake…:

  • To raise awareness throughout society… regarding persons with disabilities, and to foster respect for the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities;
  • To combat stereotypes [and] prejudices relating to persons with disabilities…in all areas of life
  • To promote awareness of the capabilities and contributions of persons with disabilities.”

Please see booklet here

Please note this exhibition is open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm