Vanessa and I ran a workshop at the Live Art Cafe at Creative Recovery Barnsley last night. we sourced some discarded magazine, leaflets and train time tables, bought some A4 card, glue and scissors and printed the word CHANGE several times as a focus word.

We had a really good response and some excellent conversations with the people there. Many people chose to take their poems home (we took photos and name credits) and the rest we’ve scanned in – all to be performed on the Penistone Line trains for our event Interchange. There is also an open call live at the moment for anyone to send us their poems to perform.


It’s World Suicide Prevention Day on Monday 10th September and we’re going on local radio to talk about Dwell Time.

Vanessa and I set up Dwell Time in memory of our friend who took his life last year. He had made many previous attempts and talked candidly about his attempts and his highs and lows of bipolar and depression. He was receiving professional support too. This project came from his request to us to make an art project and raise awareness about mental health (with specific focuses depression, bipolar and suicide in young men).

I’ve learned a lot about the failings of a seriously underfunded mental health care system from many friends’ and family’s experiences. I also learned recently that 111 staff are not trained in mental health crisis at all and their sum total support on the phone is asking “are you ok?” (Annie, are you ok?
So, Annie are you ok, Are you ok, Annie, Annie, are you ok? So, Annie are you ok, Are you ok, Annie, Annie, are you ok?)

Quite clearly someone in crisis and contemplating suicide is not ok. There’s been a big awareness campaign #itsoktonotbeok and Andy’s Man Club’s #itsoktotalk The awareness campaigns promote talking about feelings and reducing stigma.

Mind have a handy resource for World Suicide Prevention Day and Samaritans have a page on How to start a difficult conversation

Samaritans helpline: 116 123

  • More than 800,000 people take their lives each year across the world.
  • In the UK and ROI, more than 6,000 people die by suicide a year – an average of 18 a day.
  • Suicide is the leading cause of death in people aged 15-24 in many European countries
  • For every 1 suicide 25 people make a suicide attempt
  • 135 people are affected by each suicide death

More facts and figures from IASP

“Reaching out to people who are going through a difficult time can be a game changer. People who are feeling low or suicidal often feel worthless and think that no-one cares. Small things like hearing from friends or family, feeling listened to or just being told that ‘it’s ok to talk’ can make a huge difference.”

We will try and cover some of these things on our radio slot, as well as what’s happening with Dwell Time, and we have also been asked to make a playlist of six rock and roll songs.

This is not the final playlist for our radio slot but a couple of classics *TRIGGER WARNING*:

Disturbed – Inside The Fire

Van Halen – Jump

Queen – Don’t Try Suicide

Creed – One Last Breath

Alice Cooper – Hey Stoopid

A Perfect Circle – The Outsider

Pantera – Suicide Note Part 1 & 2

Kiss – Reason To Live

Peter Gabriel – Don’t Give Up (ft. Kate Bush)

Pink Floyd – Keep Talking


Keep talking. NHS directory of mental health helplines (including opening times)


Exciting news!

We are collaborating with Creative Recovery Barnsley to produce an event on the Penistone Line for National Poetry Day:


Thursday 4 October

13:12-14:28 Huddersfield to Sheffield

14:35-15:50 Sheffield to Huddersfield

Interchange: Participative Poetry on the Penistone Line for National Poetry Day. Embark at any station on these routes to hear poetry and writing curated by Dwell Time. Join in with some words of your own on provided postcards in exchange for a limited edition pin badge. You can read your own contribution or we will perform your words, credited or anonymous, if preferred.


In to change

Change your mind

Change your life

Change your Thursday

Change your head space

Change your view, as the world gently slides on by

All change


Train information

Letting off steam


All aboard

Onwards journey


Next destination

As it says in the song, “Change your heart, look around you, change your heart, it will astound you.” Can we change your heart with Interchange?

Send your contributions in advance to [email protected] and/or join us on our train journey* to listen and participate. All contributions will be included on the Dwell Time blog

*Standard train fares apply


It’s hard to bounce back from rejection and keep going. Life and art practice is inevitably crap at times and coping strategies for the lows are helpful. I’ve been reflecting about this and think this is one of the many reasons that I love collaborating on curatorial projects: the mutual support of co-curators and buoyancy of ideas. Positivity and creativity is infectious.

We had a meeting this week which was really a wellbeing check. Not ‘just’ a wellbeing check and it was not scheduled to be that – it was what was necessary. We then had a load of ideas that we could do with more time/money/energy. We would love to do studio visits and audio record conversations about art and mental wellbeing. A brew and a chat. See what our peers are up to with their practice and capture their thoughts about mental wellbeing. It could be a pub chat over a pint and a game of consequences too. At this stage we’re not going to put an open call out but if you’re local to us (Huddersfield) and fancy a coffee/pint and chat let us know.

I also had a debrief from Welland Festival this week. I ran a Button It workshop for this year’s and Dwell Time wasn’t directly involved but in the debrief I mentioned Dwell Time to a few people and there’s potential for some really interesting collaborations.

I’ve also been reflecting how dependent I’d become on facebook for my main tool of communication with the art world and local scene since having kids. Facebook has recently changed it’s algorithm and it’s become harder to reach people with events and open calls unless you pay for advertising which is apparently not great either. I went to two workshops aimed at ‘creative businesses’ and they confirmed my suspicions that it’s basically no good unless you invest literally hours a day. Having started to get out the house a bit more and talk to people face to face, I re-realised how critical it is for art practice to be out there chatting to people. I used to go to previews all the time but kids put a halt to that. My world shrank. Now they are 5 and 3, I’m starting to get back out there and remembering why it’s so important to talk to people.

Today I was doing some errands in Huddersfield and on the high street some ‘chuggers’ (charity muggers – people who approach you on the street for charity donations) were out in force. I hate this practice and generally ignore them but today they were from the Mental Health Foundation so I stopped for a chat. I told them all about Dwell Time and gave them some flyers (is that a kind of reverse chugging?). It was a really interesting chat about fundraising, mental health and ‘life journeys’ for want of a better phrase – serendipity is a good word.

Then I took the kids to a family fun day fundrasising event my friend had organised – Andy’s Man Club were there with a stall so we had a chat too. We’d previously been in touch via email about potential collaboration but to have a face to face chat – albeit impromptu and with two kids swinging off my arms, literally – was much more useful. Their strapline/hashtag is #itsoktotalk and indeed it is. It’s really good to talk.


I remembered why I don’t usually apply for arts funding: it’s far too stressful.

Last time I wrote a funding application was when Contents May Vary did a group show called Under Maintenance at Manchester Victoria Baths in 2007. We got an Arts Council application form and wrote the 500 words we thought was the full thing and then found out with 24 hours until the funding closed that that was just the project introduction. Oh we laughed. I stayed up most of the night writing that application, talking over messenger to two of the collective until nothing made sense anymore and then we submitted it. We got the grant.

But it was a huge amount of work for very little money. As I started collaborating with other artists on other gallery projects, exhibitions and project spaces, we would discuss applying for grants and decide it wasn’t actually worth the time. We did everything on a shoestring and self-funded where necessary. It’s not an ideal funding model but when you only have a 40% chance of getting an Arts Council grant under £15k, is it worth the time writing applications when you can invest that time in the project?

Anyway, Dwell Time needs funds to print the physical copy of the paper at the very least so we applied for £1k from one funder with the intent to match-fund from another. We had the meetings and read the guidance, configured the budgets and I wrote the application – the writing wasn’t too arduous in itself actually. I’ve written countless applications, just only one grant funding application before.

The funders said yes they would like to fund Dwell Time! Brilliant! They called it a ‘valuable piece of work’. Of course we were delighted. Only our partner organisation had also applied to that funder for another project, unbeknownst to us, and there is a maximum amount the funders can award any one organisation. Our partner organisation did not want to give over any cash to Dwell Time. Money in the sector is tight, they couldn’t afford it. So we had been awarded the money, but we couldn’t have it. There’s no blame to be apportioned – we think our partner organisation is great – but such are the pitfalls with partnership working and sector funding which had another 40% cut this year. In an ideal world both projects would be funded.

The funders said please apply next year, we value your project. So we will do that and either come up with another way to fund a print run next year as planned, or delay printing until 2020. There are other funders we could approach, and we will have to set up as a CIC and constituted group for next year which is yet another drain on time and energy. Another partner organisation has also offered us paid work (we nearly fell off our chairs when that happened!) and we can use that as project cash and match funding too. It’s not all doom and gloom but all of this takes it’s toll on mental wellbeing.