The Engine Room is an arts and mental health project initiated by individuals who live with enduring mental health issues, for people with mental health issues. They are currently welcoming submissions to their blog reaching out beyond Reading and the surrounding areas where they are based. Lisa-Marie Gibbs talked to DAO about the programme of work they’ve undertaken.
The Engine Room is an independent arts and mental health project initiated by a group of creatives with the aim to create a space for individuals to access independent free thinking creative experiences of quality.
We are a core group of 20 people who have helped to build our project from its initial concept, meeting weekly to turn our vision into a reality. All of our members are committed to steering The Engine Room, valuing the importance of being part of a project that is full of love, and helping to bridge isolation and fear.
The Engine Room was created to bring something new, unique and beautiful that challenges the very core of what it is to be human. Day by day we are becoming a more mentally fragile world and we need to problem solve in a very different way.
Our wish is to create a space for individuals to access creative opportunities that will support empowerment, recovery and creative development in a nurturing and safe space through a programme of weekly drop in sessions.
We plan to integrate across the wider community by inviting people to work with us to create temporary events, installations, exhibitions, through social media and networks and offer peer support arts programmes to challenge stigma.
We also realised from the very outset of The Engine Room the importance of building a social media platform that relays our passions and the value of shared artist conversations across the world.
We created a blog and call all creatives in whatever guise to contribute to our blog that shares the story of “IN EVERY HUMAN HEART THERE’S A REVELATION OF THE MIND”. Our purpose is to inspire the world with passion, creativity, forge bonds between the arts and society and share our unlimited thinking… and push our stories to the very edge.
Katie Francis says: “Creative expression is an essential outlet for my mental wellbeing and recovery. Being part of a project, especially one with a view to changing perceptions around mental health, gives me passion and purpose.
The Engine Room not only gives me the space to be creative, but with support and encouragement the project has helped me to build the skills and confidence needed to believe in myself as a person, as well as an artist.
I since went on to Art College, using skills and a portfolio built with support from Lisa Marie Gibbs. This was followed by an arts degree, a BA in Creative Arts and Design Practice. I graduated with a 2:1 last September.
Living with mental health issues, in particular depression and severe anxiety disorders has presented huge challenges for me throughout my studies and has impacted on my ability to do so. I felt like I had to work three times as hard as everyone else just to keep up.
With the love and support from The Engine Room I have been able to overcome the challenges and succeed. I have not fully recovered but the project helps me to keep stable, with routine and support, along with making art and laughing lots.”
Simon Mackoon says: “Without The Engine Room I would be isolated and unable to progress as an artist. Not only have I made professional connections but I’ve also made wonderful friends”
The Engine Room welcomes submissions in the realm of visual arts, photography, sculpture, installation, painting, sculpture, illustration, textiles, drawing and collage and invites you to contribute to their blog www.theengineroomsite.com