In September The Art House presented new, ground-breaking work by artist, writer and performer gobscure. With an international reputation and active involvement in disability arts, gobscure’s work challenges institutional narratives of psychiatry, encouraging debate about how we talk with each other about mental health and mental distress.
Selected to take part in The Art House Change Makers residency programme, running throughout 2017, gobscure has been making work in response to the new manifesto at the Mental Health Museum, Wakefield, which aims to ‘to explore mental health histories to help forge a sustainable future where people can live fulfilling lives in their communities’. An exhibition of work produced during his residency, which tool place from April to September, opened with a specially commissioned performance as part of Artwalk Wakefield on 27 September 2017.
gobcure is a self-taught artist, writer and performer, actively involved in disability arts and the North-East Mad Studies Collective. He was Jessie Kesson 2016 Literary Fellow at Moniak Mhor, near Inverness, where he made an extensive body of work based on the parallels between his experiences of psychiatric treatment at the Royal Cornhill Hospital and those of writer Jessie Kesson in the same institution decades earlier. He has performed his work with added nuts at venues across the UK, his third volume of poetry, is that a bruise or a tattoo?, was published by Shearsman Press in 2013, and his short film, Ur’s for Kurt (Schwitters), was screened at the Institute of Contemporary Art, London in May 2016 as a finalist in the 100 Years of Dada film competition.
The Art House bid successfully for Arts Council England’s Change Makers Funding that is enabling creative practitioner Hannah Mason to join the senior management team as Change Maker Associate until December 2017. She is working with artists gobscure and Veronica Ryan, to support them during their residencies and curate their associated exhibitions.
The aim of the fund is to increase the diversity of senior leadership in art and culture by helping to develop a cohort of leaders who are Black, minority ethnic and/or disabled by means of a targeted senior leadership training and development programme. An additional aim of the fund is to provide host National portfolio organisations with a development opportunity to adopt cultural change that can be a catalyst for improving their contribution to the Creative Case for Diversity.