Declaration - a new health and human rights festival

Declaration Festival

Declaration is a new health and human rights festival that will take place in Glasgow next month from the 3 – 6 March. Festival manager, Gail Aldam, tells us more. 

Declaration is an exciting new partnership between the Mental Health Foundation, Health Scotland, the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE) and the Centre for Health Policy at the University of Strathclyde. As leading health organisations in Scotland, with human rights at the very core of the work that we do, we felt that this was the right time to come together to explore health and human rights and engage audiences in a new and unique way. 

Taking its name from the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the festival is made up of 30 events, each one a response or interpretation to an article in the Declaration. We are bringing together leading organisations, artists, academics, activists to interpret the articles and the right to health in their own way, allowing audiences to contribute to the debate and discussion along the way.

Events are programmed by the team behind our Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival, managed by Arts Lead, Andrew Eaton-Lewis and Film Curator, Richard Warden. We are delighted to have input from a huge range of contributors, including: See Me; Freedom From Torture; Psychologists Against Austerity; TYCI; and Interfaith Scotland. We also have poets Jenny Lindsay and Rachel McCrumb; visual artist Josie Vallely; architect Jude Barber and novelist Louise Welsh. Activist and member of the Mental Health Foundation team, Amal Azzudin, also leads one session; and trans queer disabled artist, activist and lawyer, Nathan Gale, is heading up an event. Journalists Joyce McMillan and Alex Massie will also join us, as well as a very exciting special guest Kate Pickett, co-author of The Spirit Level. Check out our programme at for a full range of speakers and topics for the long weekend.

Each event across the weekend is unique and exciting, but below I have tried to pick my top 3 highlights:


A special screening of ‘The Divide’, a film based on international best-seller ‘The Spirit Level’ by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, The film is coming to Declaration as a special preview and after it we will hear responses from a panel; chaired by Hannah McGill; including top political journalists Joyce McMillan (the Scotsman) and Alex Massie (the Spectator), plus Professor Kate Pickett, co-author of The Spirit Level and Neil Quinn from the Centre for Health Policy at the University of Strathclyde.


Glasgow-based women’s collective TYCI teams up with Declaration to explore and explode Article 3 through the lens of gender and the implications for women’s physical and mental health. TYCI will take over the Friday night of the festival with a reflective and raucous live event, bringing together readings, film, performance, workshops and music, and inviting women to respond and assert. TYCI and Wise Women are also presenting a free personal safety workshop for women. Any woman can feel at risk of - or experience - abuse and crime in her home, on the street, on public transport or at work and this event will teach simple but effective techniques and shock tactics that will help you identify, avoid and escape potentially dangerous situations.


What’s it like living as an asylum seeker in Scotland at a time when much of the media has been stirring up hatred and resentment towards you? For this event, Amal Azzudin of the Mental Health Foundation, who has been speaking up for asylum seekers’ rights since she co-founded the Glasgow Girls campaign as a schoolgirl in Drumchapel, brings together three generations of asylum seekers in Scotland to share experiences, tell stories, and reflect on their experiences – including on the impact of prejudice on health. Amal will also be involved in Article 9: Ban on Arbitrary Detention.

For a full list of events and regular updates and announcements visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.