From January 2008 to March 2009, I worked as a Lead Artist on a 12 month programme of activities in collaboration with Helix Arts, Tyneside Cyrenians and Trading Places. This project had the purpose to serve as a mechanism for tackling mental health issues directly by engaging service users in activities which enable them to explore issues of status and self-esteem, and associated problems with drug and alcohol misuse, through a creative process.
During these sessions, a number of art works have been produced by the participants such as photographs, around the theme of social exclusion, taken using SLR (Single Lens Reflex) cameras. These were then exhibited at Crisis Skylight for two weeks in May 2008.
Following this process, with the Creative Writer Bob Beagrie the participants have been involved in creative writing activities based on the photographs taken during the first part of the project in order to create a book called 'A Day In Our Lives', to be published in January 2009, which they have partly designed with the Designer Joe White.
As a normal way to progress, together with the participants we wrote the script for a short film titled 'Social Resurrection' which would tackle issues around homelessness and its stigma. The participants have then taken part in four days of film production and three sessions with the musician Alex Tustin to create the sound track of the film. The film was shown at Dance City along with the rest of the work produced by participants.
Finally, a multi-media exhibition of the work, including photographs, text on windows, on the wall and on the floor, sound, the book and the film 'Social Resurrection', was held at Dance City in April and May 2009.