A note on our timescale.

We want to do this project in a safe and sustainable way. For Hannah and James (both disabled people) this means working towards reducing stress, being paid and giving space and support to the range challenges we face, both practical and emotional. Such a large ambition will take time, and we think this is a good thing.

Phase 1. Research. 2014.

Our process began in 2014 with a series of Madlove workshop in England and mainland Europe, supported by Unlimited. These workshops brought together a range of people with and without experiences of mental health to consider questions like:

‘What does good mental health care feel like?’

and

‘What does good mental health look, taste, sound, touch and feel like to touch?’

You can read about the workshops here.

Workshops happened at Southbank Centre (London), Fierce Festival (Birmingham), Nottingham Contemporary, NAGAS (Newcastle), FACT (Liverpool), Riga Mental Health Hospital (with Homo Novus), The Prague Quadrennial, Gessnerallee (Zurich).

Read a review of the workshop.

In conjunction with this numerous artist talks about the project happened internationally.

Phase 2. Beta testing. 2015.

Working with designers Benjamin Koslowski and James Christian (Projects Office) we installed a beta (test) version of Madlove at FACT’s exhibtion Group Therapy: Mental distress in a digital age. This was supported by a Wellcome Trust People’s Award and the British Pyschological Society.

For 3 months Madlove was opened to test design ideas, to support activities and to reflect on our research to date. Over 300 people actively used the space during this period.

View images of the installation here.

You can read about Madlove at FACT here, and watch a short film about it here.

Madlove received a commendation from the Design in Mental Health Awards 2015.

Phase 3. Deepening our research. 2016.

Reflecting on the beta version of Madlove, and with support from the Arts Council of England, we ran 9 further workshops in a range of hospitals in England (and Ghent, Belgium). From high and medium secure hospitals through to inner city acute wards we considered the needs of people who required high levels of support, as well as the needs of the BAME community. We were joined on tour by illustrator Rosemary Cunningham.

Phase 4. Research presentation and proposal for a utopian asylum.

During Autumn of 2016 we presented the accumulation of our research since 2014, and a model of a good mental health landscape at Wellcome Collection’s exhibition Bedlam: the asylum and beyond. The research is presented through Rosemary’s illustration of our process. Our designer’s James and Benjamin created a untraditional model of that features a range of spaces, places and activities.

To end with the gallery audience were invited to consider their own mental health by making a Madlove Pocket Asylum.

Bedlam: the asylum and beyond. Wellcome Collection, London. 15 September 2016 – 15 January 2017.

View images of the installation and model here.

Phase 5. 2017 Onwards.

We are continuing to work with numerous NHS partners in providing research and designs for mental health hospitals (more on this soon). We will make further announcements via our mailing list.