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What a fantastic launch week!
We officially launched last week along the Penistone Line and the reception of the publication has been amazing. Comments included: “You can tell a lot of work has been put into this.” “This is lovely.” “This is the best publication I’ve seen in a long time!” “This looks great – perfect reading for my train journey.”

We now have a low res pdf download (1.8MB) for general distribution:

We’re continuing to distribute free copies via our local networks/venues/events so get in touch if you would like to stock/distribute Dwell Time.

Here are some photos from the launch:

The Penistone launch had a small turnout and one attendee who lives and works in Penistone remarked that it was entirely unsurprising as in a mainly affluent area (but yes there absolutely are problems in Penistone), mental health issues are very hidden and not discussed. Unfortunately, having our film screening launch event in Penistone for Penistone Art Week turned out to be counterproductive as there was little promotion and no funding from the organisation, we would’ve been better launching in Huddersfield without being tied to a certain date and location. We might do a rerun in Huddersfield and/or Sheffield at a later date.

But, the small group of attendees (with LA based film director Anak Rabanal via Skype) meant we could have a really good group conversation and everybody inputting into the conversation. We talked about the barriers to people engaging in work like we are making and platforming, the difficulties sourcing funding and comparing the UK and US systems, and the processes behind producing the work. We discussed personal stories and how our personal narratives influence the work we produce. We also discussed the local issues and what more could be done to raise awareness and affect change. We left on a high note of we’ll plan future events/collaborations and that we’ve learned a lot on this journey.

Meanwhile in Sheffield, Amelia Baron’s Take 10 performances have gone down really well and the conversations I’ve been party to have been enlightening. We’ve asked Amelia to write up some of her encounters to form part of the documentation (we ruled out audio/video recording them early on). While I was there with my daughter, we met The Cereal Bar Lady, as she said she’s known as, who told us she does a similar thing to what we’re doing but in a much more ad hoc and informal capacity: giving homeless people a cereal bar and 10 minutes of her time. She gave my daughter a Vitamin Sea painted rock and advocated the seaside for mental wellbeing. Coincidentally, my daughter and I had given our biscuits and a copy of the publication to the homeless man outside the train station. He said it had been a really slow day that day (Friday).

As we were at the station there was an announcement that one of the trains had been cancelled due to someone being hit by a train. It’s the first time I’d heard that as an announcement: so matter of fact and without coded language. No more ‘obstructions on the tracks’: the staff tell it how it is. Perhaps the staff don’t care for protecting the public from the reality of what they deal with daily. Perhaps it reduces complaints when passengers know that someone has died. Perhaps we all just so desensitised to bad news that it’s our new normal. Well, I’m still dwelling on this; that unknown person who has become another statistic and how much of our work is about hearing and sharing people’s stories.