For World Mental Health Day 2019, Bella Milroy produced a series of workshops for our first Soft Sanctuary in Bootle Library, bringing together artists, library users and librarians. We focused on the idea of a ‘sick day’, what it means to take time to rest and give ourselves permission to relax.
For this year’s Soft Sanctuary, because we can’t all be in a room together, we’ve thought we would record some conversations with Bella, our lead curator Maria Brewster and writer Steph Niciu, facilitated by producer Laura Yates, for you to enjoy at home. Grab your duvet, sit back and relax whilst listening to some wise words about art, collaborating together, celebrating disability and caring for ourselves and each other.
We have made three podcasts of enlightening and uplifting content, as well as a written interview with Bella focusing on what good mental health means to her, self-care rituals, and the importance of the hand-held and closed captioning in her practice.
Artist Bella Milroy and writer Steph Niciu caught up with Laura Yates, one of our participation producers. They touch on the social model of disability, its power in giving disabled people agency and identity, taking charge of your own mental health, and holistic approaches to programming.
Carrying on from their first conversation, Bella, Steph and Laura continue to talk about finding disabled joy through small rituals, challenging negative stereotypes around how disability is portrayed and how Soft Sanctuary centers disabled experiences through a universal concept of finding care and wellbeing.
Artist Bella & our lead curator, Maria Brewster, caught up to chat about Bella’s on-going programme for Soft Sanctuary and Maria’s drive to create, curate and deliver participatory art in library contexts.
We’ve been working with Bella Milroy since 2019 first through a short February plant workshop with Sean Roy Parker in Pool Our Resources and second through a larger project called Soft Sanctuary.