Dwell Time is an award winning, not-for-profit arts publication reflecting on mental wellbeing. Produced and curated by Alice Bradshaw, Vanessa Haley & Lenny Szrama, founded in 2018.


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I wrote some notes for my talk at the Love Arts event yesterday and although I didn’t read this verbatim it’s the basis of what I said:


Love Arts

My attitude is that everyone has mental health just like physical health and that can be in good shape or not at any given time. We are living in times of collective trauma due to the Covid-19 pandemic and this is known to have significant impact on the global population, with people already at risk of mental illness due to various socio-economic factors in a much more vulnerable position. The Covid Social Study results show clearly that suicide rates are up as a direct impact of the pandemic and lockdown. https://www.covidsocialstudy.org/results Artists have been one of the disproportionately unsupported groups of practitioners by this government, whilst simultaneously working tirelessly to support communities, each other and themselves.

In a recent Doctors Without Borders webinar on mental health, Sanne Kaelen spoke of the moral dilemma of quantity and quality of life. “We neglected the mental health of the public at the start of the pandemic preserving life but now we must protect the physical and mental health of people. We are in a mental health pandemic.”

We are in a mental health pandemic. We are seeing mental illness and suicide rates go up https://www.samaritans.org/about-samaritans/research-policy/understanding-our-callers-during-covid-19-pandemic/what-do-we-know-about-coronavirus-and-suicide-risk/


The already underfunded and under-resourced mental health support services in the UK, who were already under extreme pressure with long waiting lists, are now in precarious situation with the most vulnerable at greater risk. Social prescribing was growing increasing support and evidence pre-covid and as part of a holistic, early intervention and person-centre approach, this is where I advocate the arts can have a huge value in health outcome in a mental health pandemic.

As an artist I find my making practice is fundamental to my mental wellbeing and over lockdown I did lots of drawing and writing as part of my own coping strategy. Sharing practice is also important to me and peer support is something I value greatly and will talk about shortly. As a curator I co-run an arts publication reflecting on mental well-being, Dwell Time Press, which platforms and supports artists and the community through publications, workshops, podcasts and interviews. I’m also on the board of the Yorkshire Visual Arts Network and I also sit on the Equality & Diversity Working Group which strategically and operationally affects positive change in equality, diversity and wellbeing in the visual arts sector regionally. We know that in these precarious and vulnerable times that care and especially self-care are paramount and YVAN is currently involved in a reading group on radical care facilitated by Sarah Smizz which is open to anyone interested. [email protected]

So to talk about specific projects I run:

Art Lab: is Artists’ Presentations & Critical Dialogue, First Monday evening of the month at 8pm. It’s a monthly meet-up for artists and art practitioners to discuss their work, concurrent ideas and critical thinking. It’s open to anyone who would like to attend and contribute constructively. The format is two presentations by artists / practitioners about their work / ideas / interests: 20-30 minute presentations followed by Q&A. We welcome all art practitioners at any stage in their career and operates a safe space policy. I record the sessions via zoom and upload them to the facebook group for people who cannot make the live session too. If anyone would like to present just let me know. The next session is actually on a Tuesday as I triple booked myself: Tuesday 3 November 8pm via zoom.


Dwell Time: is arts publication reflecting on mental wellbeing which I co-founded and co-run with Vanessa Haley and Lenny Szrama. Vanessa and I’s close friend died by suicide in 2017 and prompted our instigation of this artist-run project which has so far produced two editions of our publication, a railway arts trail, interviews and now an open call for the third. We are currently recording podcasts as a partnership with YVAN which stemmed from my writer in residence on the publication Resilience is Futile.

Issue1: https://dwelltimepress.wordpress.com/launch-programme/

Issue 2: https://dwelltimepress.wordpress.com/issue2/

Covid open call: https://dwelltimepress.wordpress.com/c19-edition/

YVAN collaboration podcasts: https://corridor8.co.uk/publications/resilience-is-futile/

I also want to mention that YVAN has a regular recruitment to the board and working groups, every 6 months , and anyone wanting to get involved please do get in touch with YVAN for more information. http://www.yvan.org.uk/

So I’ve talked a lot and I’ve talked about talking a lot as it’s a key research area of mine interconnected with mental health. I feel talking is critical and fundamental to navigating mental health and art practice. We’re social creatures and the very thing persistently restricted to us is socialising… and this is a core problem of the mental health pandemic.

So many colleagues and friends are struggling with processing thoughts and emotions into speech, and me too. What we’ve been through and going through is huge. We’re experiencing collective trauma of a pandemic on top of individual traumas. Paraphrased from the book The Body Keeps The Score: “When our executive brain function is compromised through a trauma response, the speech part of our brain (Broca’s area) shuts down in part or fully as we go into flight, flight or freeze (survival) mode. Hence the terms ‘speechless’ and ‘lost for words’.” This is where the arts are so important in processing trauma.

Just on a bit of empirical research I’m doing via social media, artists are often psychologically surviving by making practices such as drawing, painting and cooking that may not be their core practice or practice pre-covid. Making may not even be that fundamental in individual coping strategies and there is also the risk of comparing ourselves to each other how well we are continuing practice in some form and coping in general. I think that neo-capitalist production-orientated measures are redundant. For me it’s about being as happy as well can be right now and that is of course very individual and in-the-moment.

So to end on a question to everyone: How are we individually and collectively surviving right now?

Thank you


I’m talking at this event tomorrow, come join the conversation:

Love Arts Conversation
How can we help make the arts world of Leeds a mentally healthier place? A conversation.

23 Oct, 11:00 – 13:00
Zoom Event

Love Arts wants to help Leeds become a mentally healthy place to live in. And this is really important for artists and creaitve people. How can we work together to help make an arts world that really looks out for our mental health?

We’ll hear some from some inspirational people about things they are doing around the arts and mental well-being. We’ll talk about how we can all create a culture where we think about how what we’re doing affects other people mentally.

Who we’ll hear from:

Gemma Carlier

Gemma Carlier, director at Aire Place Studios. Working class activist and passionate about creative solutions to mental health.

Alice Gilmore

Alice is the Community Partnerships & Access Officer at Opera North and runs Arts Together, which brings together a huge variety of brilliant arts organisations in Leeds that focus on people and accessibility.

Lydia Catterall

Through all she does, Lydia aims to reveal, support and champion creative brains, transforming the make-up of where we live. Whether operating as an artist, researcher, collaborator, writer or facilitator, she works for the recognition of the inherent value of artists across sectors and the deepening of a strong artistic economy. She is based in Leeds.

Alice Bradshaw

Alice Bradshaw is an artist, curator and writer. She is co-founding director of Dwell Time, an arts publication reflecting on mental wellbeing, and curator of Art Lab, a monthly peer support event bringing artists together to discuss their work.

We’ll get a chance to talk about the issues and come up with ideas together in small groups. Think about what you do to keep going in the difficult time. How can we learn from each other? And what can we do to help each other? This is a conversation – we want to hear what you’ve got to say.



Through my mental health research I have been reading The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk, attended the Collective Trauma Summit 2020 and studied/studying a second Level 2 Certificate in Understanding Mental Health and Level 2 Certificate in Understanding Mental Health in Children and Young People. I am also part of the Creative Well programme run by the Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance for arts and wellbeing practitioners. This research feeds into my practice as a curator for Dwell Time, board member for YVAN looking at the impact of Covid-19 on artistic practice and my ongoing artistic practice.

So many colleagues and friends are struggling with processing thoughts and emotions into speech, and me too. What we’ve been through and going through is huge. We’re experiencing collective trauma of a pandemic on top of individual traumas. When our executive brain function is compromised through a trauma response, the speech part of our brain (Broca’s area) shuts down in part or fully as we go into flight, flight or freeze (survival) mode [The Body Keeps the Score]. Hence the terms ‘speechless’ and ‘lost for words’. The conversations we are having about the impact of Covid-19 on art practice are diverse and multifaceted but this impact on dialogue is really important. We’re social creatures and the very thing restricted to us is socialising. This is a core problem of the mental health pandemic.

Keep talking. Keep making if that helps. Dwell Time has a directory of mental health support services if you are struggling: https://dwelltimepress.wordpress.com/support/


Dwell Time and Yorkshire Visual Arts Network (YVAN) are delighted to announce their partnership on a new series of podcasts ‘Dwell Awhile’. These podcasts revisit conversations with artists interviewed by Dwell Time co-curator Alice Bradshaw for her ‘Resilience is Futile’ writer residency. ‘Resilience is Futile’ was a YVAN and Corridor 8 collaboration exploring the uncritical term ‘resilience’ within the Yorkshire visual arts networks. Alice mapped out a network of artists recommended as ‘resilient’ by their peers. With her Dwell Time co-curators Vanessa Haley and Lenny Szrama, Alice talks to the artists about how they have been since their initial conversations in 2019, and how Covid-19 and lockdown have impacted their practices and mental wellbeing. The podcasts will be published in October 2020 on the Dwell Time Press and YVAN websites.

The team are also thrilled to welcome Ashleigh Armitage on board as the designer for the podcasts and rebrand of Dwell Time. Ashleigh is a designer working within the arts, cultural and educational sectors and is part of Dust Collective.

Dwell Time is an award winning, not-for-profit arts publication reflecting on mental wellbeing. Produced and curated by Alice Bradshaw, Vanessa Haley & Lenny Szrama, founded in 2018.

Yorkshire Visual Arts Network is a visual arts sector support organisation as a voice and advocate for the sector in Yorkshire & Humber, delivering a programme
 that effects change in
 the profile, reputation and sustainability of
the visual arts and artists
in Yorkshire & Humber. YVAN prioritises individual practitioners and small-scale initiatives, including those that are artist-led. YVAN is funded by Arts Council England, through a partnership with The Art House, and are part of the national Contemporary Visual Arts Network.

Dwell Time Press: http://dwelltimepress.wordpress.com
YVAN: http://www.yvan.org.uk
Ashleigh Armitage: https://ashleigharmitage.co.uk
Resilience is Futile: https://corridor8.co.uk/publications/resilience-is-futile


Dwell Time launch the second edition of their award winning art publication reflecting on mental wellbeing.

Dwell time: The time a train spends at a scheduled stop without moving. Typically, this time is spent boarding or alighting passengers, but it may also be spent waiting for traffic ahead to clear, or idling time in order to get back on schedule.

Dwell Time Issue 2 Online Launch: Wednesday 15 July 2020

Covid-19 has put the world on hold and Dwell Time postponed their Issue 2 launches in March as the UK went into lockdown. In place of the live events scheduled in March, an online launch in July will feature their original film programme focussing on mental wellbeing.

The online launch programme features selected films by Lucy Barker & Ben NCM, Louis Benoit, Community Rail Cumbria, Robert C Clarke, Ralph Dartford, Leo Fernandez-Arias, Katie Gornall, Finn Harvor, Sophie Hoyle, Janet Lees, Maciej Piątek, Carolyn Richardson, Libby Scarlett.

Dwell Time’s YouTube Channel will feature the film programme from 12noon on Wednesday 15 July 2020. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9-326tuMzHL8qzJUQbHptA Discussions about the films are welcomed on the Dwell Time facebook and twitter pages from 12noon, welcoming feedback and comments about the films and the issues they raise plus links to related artworks and support. https://www.facebook.com/dwelltimepress/


Dwell Time Issue 2 will be available to order by post and a pdf download available from the Dwell Time website. The print publication and pdf are free with only postage costs applicable. https://dwelltimepress.wordpress.com/issue2/

When it is safe to open, Issue 2 will also be available from Dwell Time Central in Huddersfield with wider distribution when it’s possible. Dwell Time’s open call for responses to Covid19 continues also. https://dwelltimepress.wordpress.com/c19-edition/

Issue 2 cover artwork: Henry by Lizzie Thurman

Dwell Time Issue 2 Contributors:

Alice Bradshaw, PetuniArt, Amy Rowe, Bob Clayden & Rose Knight, Brian Horton, Brian Webster, Byron Reece Jones, Charlotte Tebbet, Cherene Pearl, Chloe Roberts, Chris Thompson, Clare Smith, CLO, Daiane Medeiros, Daisy Imogen Buckle, Damian Robin, Danny Verno Smith, Darrell Urban Black, David Fennell-Roberts, David Tebbet, Debbie Nicholson Wood, Dianne Murphy, Donna Coleman, Dorothy Megaw, Gaba Berretoni, Geraldine R Montgomerie, gobscure, Heather Cobb, Heather Hill, Helly Fletcher, Ina Prodanova, Jake Francis, James Hallinan, James Tweedie, Jane Walker, Janet, Jeannie Driver, Jenny Meehan, Jessica Longmore & Sarah Sanders, Jimmy Andrex, Joanne Coates, Jon Wilkins, Joy Bishop, Kelly Anne Elms, Latifah A. Stranack, Lenny Szrama, Lewis Andrews, Lieske Weenink, Lisa Kendrick, Lizzie Thurman, Louisa Johnson, Luke Beech, Mandy Rees, Marta Daeuble, Martin Gillbanks, Mary Lee Slade, Mehreen Hashmi, Miss Esther Photography, N Hanson, Natalia Tcherniak, Nick Maynard, Paula de Sousa, Paula J Horton, Phil Watson & Ben Whewall, Pinkie Maclure, Qi Fang, Rajvinder Kaur, Rhiannon Rees, Rina Taytu, Robert Fowler, Robert Lowe, Robert P Clarke, Robert Roth, Sally Brown, Samantha Simpson, Sampy Sicada, Sarah Lucks, Sean Worrall, Spencer Brown, Stephanie Ingham, Stephen Pinnell, Stephen Smith, Sue Bevan, Susan Plover, Terence Wilde, Teri Anderson, The Childrens Art School, The Train Lady, ThePlyLaura, Tracey Waddington, Valeriya Vakutina, Vanessa Haley, Venessa Lagrand, Vienna Forrester.

Rowena Chantler, Community Rail Officer for Penistone Line Partnership commented: “We all experience pressures to our mental health at some point in our lives. Currently far too many people fear being judged or treated differently which stops them talking or reaching out for help. This project really promotes the discussion of mental health and we hope it will encourage people to start talking and reach out for help if it is needed.”

Dwell Time is an award winning, not-for-profit arts publication reflecting on mental wellbeing. Produced and curated by Alice Bradshaw, Vanessa Haley & Lenny Szrama in collaboration with Penistone Line Partnership. Founded in 2018. Currently funded by Penistone Line Partnership, Community Rail Network, Northern & CrossCountry.