The Recovery Project Collaboration: ‘Creatives Making a Difference’

4 Jun


More than several months ago I had an idea about creating a mini-collaboration on the theme of the mental health term  ‘Recovery’. This is not only particularly relevant to me because I have bi-polar and am in a state of recovery myself, but also because ‘recovery’ is important for lots of people (including creatives) who are affected my mental health issues. It’s a universally important theme and experience.

With this in mind I asked the poets Carol Robson, John Mansell and Rebecca Audra Smith (all accessed via Twitter)  if they would like to collaborate on this and write a poem for the project, each taking up a particular facet of the path to recovery. Carol took up the theme of DESPAIR, John, MUDDLING THROUGH and Rebecca ‘RECOVERY’. I asked 3 artists who were then paired with the poets: Ray Bentley, Photographer Jeremy Moseley and Hugo Smith (all accessed via Twitter) to produce artwork inspired by the three poems. I also asked audio visual artist Shaun Blezard to write an accompanying soundpiece for the three sections. So this whole project is completely fuelled by new literary pieces, artwork/photography and sounds. The piece can viewed in sections or be taken as a whole. I have also produced a mini-film  which includes audio versions of the poems, and will give you an idea of the piece as a whole and how it could be turned into an installation of sorts (watch this space…).  It is worth mentioning that everyone involved in this project either has direct experience of the issues or an explicit interest.

The Recovery Project is an important bench-mark for ArtiPeeps for it really represents the first contribution to a new mental health initiative we are going to be instigating more explicitly in October: ‘Supporting Mental Health’.  This ongoing  initiative will produce collaborative material which will form an online artistic and  therapeutic resource for people in need. This will be part of other larger shifts in ArtiPeeps’ intent. There will be more news of this and its implications as time unfolds. But it’s all good.



“Recovery is being able to live a meaningful and satisfying life, as defined by each person, in the presence or absence of symptoms. It is about having control over and input into your own life. Each individual’s recovery, like his or her experience of the mental health problems or illness, is a unique and deeply personal process.”Scottish Recovery Network 2009

Recovery is not about ‘getting rid of problems’. It is about seeing people beyond their problems – their abilities, possibilities, interests, and dreams and recovering the social roles and relationships that give life value and meaning”Julie Repper and Rachel Perkins, 2002



by Shaun Blezard

Section 1


Restraint Chair No.1 (crop)

Restraint Chair No.1 by Ray Bentley


Another Psychosis

by Carol Robson


Here in a place, which I should be
I need to be here and in all places
Yet! an urge to run rages through me
fear of physical contact, my brain now in overload
here, feeling alone in a place full of people.

Like a frightened gazelle
taunted by its hunter
I search for the exit to safety
an egress to my solitary state
my place of safety in my Prozac stained mind.

Neural networks firing their manic impulses
ignoring my vain attempt of rational logic
craving for their mania overload
knowing again, they will fight a long battle
against the Lithium army, that will bring them down.

Highs and lows come and go
trying to live your normal life
my exterior facade is all you see
as it hides a mind and soul in turmoil
just trying to get through to the next hour.

A life in a day to day existence
that craves for whatever is normal
a time bomb mind with a fragile trigger
controlled by whatever the drug of choice is.

Clinging to a life of hopes and dreams
that is out of this drug controlled despair
I will one day rise again like the Phoenix
out of the ashes, of Another Psychosis.

© Carol Robson 2011


Section 2:


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Photography by Jeremy Moseley




Solitary Lights in a Forsaken Landscape

by John Mansell


Day opens like a strange flower.
Had it really closed?

Eyes adrift with bitter tears.
I see you viewing me with unease,
…………toothbrush in hand;
Do not call me stranger.
Do not make me mute
……….by filling my mouth with dread.
Lined linear colour,
the implements of survival
…………in their little compartments
…………………….with designated times…..
Consumption of the divine;
a woman purled in momentary
silence forages the impression
that once she knew me.
And then, like a shoot that appeared too soon
……….is gone…..
Each moment a disgrace to pleasure:
………..the floods of worry
…………………..have strewn me along
…………………..various embankments…..
And when certain suns shine,
I know it is a worry
as unnecessary as
…………the solitude I veil myself with…..
Walk with me these grim corridors.
Though I was able yesterday, today I have fears
that arrest me.
I see faces and eyes rimmed with farewells.
I hear names spoken,
and children laughing…..
If I listen intently enough, I am sure
one of those children is me…..
I am sure there were good days once…..

Shift the falling grains
so they rumple not to the
………..gathering years
but the trench of a memory
…………you think may have held yesterday;
as if your yesterday never existed.
The moisture of dreams drowns
the fallen edifice of your time…..
You are, but never was
because you fear
what you were for it would exhibit
………what you
………………..would be…..
you keeper of empty paintings.
Sleep in a place
where time is a flick of a page;
the dying groans of lost hope,
the flippant drapery
………..of a night
that will come despite
…………your efforts, thief of my life
…………despoiler of all I held beautiful…..

Day closes like a strange flower.
Had it really opened?

 Section 3:


trying for the brighter by Hugo Smith

‘Trying For the Brighter’ by Hugo Smith



by Rebecca Audra Smith


Hunting for the key
that can slot into my ear
unlock who I am, with
its slow turn and click.
I can hear it in my head,
doors open to staircases lead
to cellars where weeds chatter
about sunshine, light and seed.
Fumbled fingers in the bed
searching for a lighter
to set fire to the sun,
board a chariot, ride far.
I could have burnt my home
to ash, to dust- my family
rooting for my bones;
I’m trying for the brighter.
Planting keyholes inside tulips,
my hands are full of keys
each day a little lighter,
a stronger step for me.

The Recovery Film:



10 Responses to “The Recovery Project Collaboration: ‘Creatives Making a Difference’”

  1. Carol Robson June 4, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

    An honour to have been involved and I love your finished film Nicky…well done!

    Carol x

      Carol Robson BMedSci(Hons) Poetry, verse and other writing from a late starter Tel: 07932 875470


    • ArtiPeep June 4, 2013 at 3:20 pm #

      Thank you Carol. I absolutely couldn’t have done it without you and the care with which you write and read your poetry. So thank YOU for your contribution, I’m sure it resonates with a lot of people’s experience.

  2. Tiffany Coffman June 4, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

    Nicky, this is by far the most powerful and profound piece I’ve seen here. Your selection of creatives to handle this project was nothing short of stellar as they expressed the issues of mental health so vividly, emotionally, and with great awareness of its impact and reality. Each piece rests on its own or in its entirety as the reader becomes watcher, listener, and feeler as every sense is tapped into. Things couldn’t look better for October as the direction the site is going to take is extraordinary. Your own personal contribution to this project speaks volume of your passion and the love and support you have for others. Remarkably well done, everyone.

    • Carol Robson June 4, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

      It was an honour to be part of this project and thank you for your lovely words Tiffany…Nicky has certainly done an amazing job with this piece, so powerful and very moving.

      Carol x

    • ArtiPeep June 4, 2013 at 3:31 pm #

      Thank you Tiffany, When I was compiling this piece this morning the overwhelming feeling I had was of not only the collective quality of the piece in it’s entirety but also of the individual quality of each piece/section too. The talent, skill care and time reflected in the piece is huge and I feel that multi-form work such as this will be able to help a lot of people and address important issues in an innovative and artistic way. I appreciate everything you’ve said, as I’m sure Ray, Carol, Jeremy, John, Hugo, Becca and Shaun do too.

      • beccaaudra June 11, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

        Really excited to see the finished piece it feels really cohesive :D. Thank you for asking me to be involved and encouraging me with my piece :D.

      • ArtiPeep June 12, 2013 at 2:19 pm #

        Becca, the piece wouldn’t have been what it is without the pertinence and simplicity of your poem in combination with Hugo’s piece. I’m so glad I asked you to be involved with this project. Your work deserves every bit of encouragement.

  3. shaunblezard June 4, 2013 at 11:53 pm #

    It was such a great project to be involved in – Thanks to everyone involved, you are all super talented and I feel humbled to have my work alongside yours. Thanks especially to Nicky for all the hard work pulling it together – amazing job 🙂


  1. The Recovery Project Collaboration: ‘Creatives Making a Difference’ | Chakracaz's Place. Poetry Performance, poetry and other writings from a late starter. - June 9, 2013

    […] Details of poets, artists and audio visual here:… […]

  2. Shaun Blezard | The Recovery Project - July 17, 2014

    […] contributed an audio piece to The Recovery Project, a group collaboration produced by […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: