The team behind the ACoRP Community Rail Award winning arts publication reflecting on mental wellbeing ‘Dwell Time’ are thrilled to be the recipients of funding from regional network rail providers and the national community rail association to produce a second issue of their popular publication.
The founders and producers of Dwell Time, artists Alice Bradshaw, Vanessa Haley and Lenny Szrama, along with their partners at Penistone Line Partnership (PLP), are delighted to have been backed by Department for Transport, ACoRP, and train operators CrossCountry and Northern.
The publication was launched in March 2019 and features art, poetry and writing about mental wellbeing and is distributed primarily along the Penistone Line as well as nationally and internationally. Dwell Time also has an art trail at the railway stations along the picturesque railway line between Huddersfield and Sheffield. The contributions that are included in Dwell Time are submitted through an international open call and are also produced in local workshops run by the artist team.
“Our aim is for the publication to raise awareness about mental wellbeing through the creative expression of the people who have a story to tell and that may then benefit others in some way by reading it,” says Alice Bradshaw of Dwell Time. “We want to platform the brilliant work we’ve received about this still-taboo subject – so we can all learn from each other and know we’re not alone in having what are actually very common issues. Everyone has mental health just like they have physical health, which may be good or not so good at any given time, and may need as much care and support. Art and creative writing are ideal forms to express emotions which are often hard to put into straightforward language.”
“Art about mental wellbeing is not all about painting rainbows and flowers,” co-producer Lenny Szrama adds. “We’re interested in the realness of lived experience in people’s own words and we don’t edit or gloss over that. We make a curated selection of contributions for the publication to produce a quality piece of work, but we also ensure every contribution is published on the website so that everyone who wants to be involved can be in some way. Of course, there are certain types of things we wouldn’t publish for safety reasons, as we are mindful of triggering content, and we also publish a directory of support services in our publication.”
Vanessa Haley explains why they started the publication: “Our very good friend took his own life two years ago and he had been a huge advocate of the role art can play in raising awareness of important social issues. He actually left us with a bequest to do something around the problems he struggled with through our work as artists and curators. Through an organic process of meeting people and seeing what could be possible, Dwell Time was formed.
Rowena Chantler, community rail officer at Penistone Line Partnership adds: “Penistone Line Partnership are very proud to be supporting the second issue of Dwell Time. The first issue was very well received and we look forward to building awareness of mental health further within the rail industry and with rail passengers.”
Carolyn Watson, community and sustainability director at Northern said: “We’ve been delighted to support Dwell Time. We’ve been asking our own staff and customers to take a moment to consider their own mental health and wellbeing, and to look out for others. So to be able to support a project so closely aligned with our own values, and one that helps break down the barriers that still exist to talking about mental health has been really important to us. We’ve also been able to showcase Dwell Time to other community groups we work with and hope that will help the project reach even more people.”
Alex Bray, stakeholder liaison manager at CrossCountry continues: “We are incredibly proud to support the Dwell Time project. Using different forms of art they have proactively tackled a very topical and serious issue of mental wellbeing. Publications like Dwell Time will hopefully be a game changer for the industry in supporting the those are having a challenging time with mental wellbeing.”
Issue one was produced on a shoestring budget with a huge amount of the team’s volunteered time so they are delighted to be able to build upon this hard work through significant funding from the rail industry.