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Dolly Sen is a writer, director, artist, filmmaker, poet, performer, playwright, mental health consultant, music-maker and public speaker. She has 8 published books since 2002; has taken on performance roles at The Young Vic, the Royal Festival Hall, and around Europe; undertaken a poetry tour; won a poetry award from Poet Laureate Andrew Motion; directed two plays and several TV films; and performed spoken word at City Hall and Oxford University.

Dolly Sen Short Circuits

16 September 2013

Blog

Upload Your Soul

I was at the Short Circuit event at the lighthouse in Brighton last week, as part of the Brighton Digital Arts Festival. Short Circuit is an Arts Council initiative that brings together disabled artists and digital twiddlers to collaborate on a range of projects exploring this interface. The project is curated by Jo Verrent and Sarah Pickthall.  My idea was to put an internet site through the experience of psychosis. It came from doing my Barbican-commissioned film, where I made...

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A Very Short Poetic Blog about Writing

6 August 2013

Blog

Exorcise the word,

the ghost.

The page -

a terror so beautiful,

Your fear's sweet dream

And your pain's only way home. 

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Is Recovery the Right Word?

5 August 2013

Blog

Screenshot of Mental Health Recovery Archive

Today I will be part of an event at the Dragon Cafe exploring archives and heritage around mental health. This stems from my involvement with the Mental Health Recovery Archive developed at the Wellcome Trust. I am putting my story in the archive to counteract and challenge the fact in most health archives, including the current Wellcome one, the voice of lived experience takes up less than 10% of mental health archives. It has been a challenge, because I want my story to be...

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Dolly Sen is going to give the internet a breakdown

1 August 2013

Blog

Jesus' Internet History by Dolly Sen

I have just come out of the Impact Arts Fair with a nice number of sales and a feeling of inspired invigoration. Now onto my next project, which is part of Short Circuit, a place where digital acumen and disability artistry collides, and will be platformed at the Brighton Digital Festival in September. I have been commissioned to give the internet a psychotic breakdown. I aim to create a website, with the help of Peter at Surface Impression and with sound provided by Jon Adams, that will...

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Mixed Mind Media

27 June 2013

Blog

The Eye of the Storm

One day I will write and make art about pretty things and being middle class, but I have still some terrors to release and some ghosts to make even more invisibile. I am having some therapy at the moment so I am able to make phone calls, and thankfully there has been some improvement. Yet at the same time I am creating art like this, where the compulsion to doodle wants to the rip the world to pieces.  Making phone calls is really difficult for me because it is a huge trigger; it's...

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Not Through the Glass Darkly - Madness and Film

21 June 2013

Blog

The short documentary film 'Greenhouse of Hearts' came out of a commission from DAO and The Royal Academy. When I met with Kate Horbury, the then access officer of the RA, she said you have to go visit Portugal Prints, a mental health arts charity, who collaborate with the Royal Academy on a regular basis. So I did. The first thing that hits you is the warmth of the place, you are instantly accepted as family. So I decided to make a film exploring the heart of Portugal Prints. I could...

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Art and Pain in Digital and Analogue

2 May 2013

Blog

Yesterday I went to ‘Open Circuit’, which is part of http://shortcircuit.org.uk/ Short Circuit is a strategic action research project commissioned by Arts Council England, South East designed to put digital acumen and disability artistry together – it’s not about short circuit meaning malfunction, it’s about a short circuit to create new possibilities through a path of least resistance. Open Circuit was the first event of Short Circuit, where artists, technicians,...

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Dolly Sen writes about the importance of DAO

31 December 2012

Blog

I got an email from Colin a few weeks ago with a few questions as to what value I got from Disability Arts Online. I typed a few short answers, as I was hyper and couldn't dictate my own voice as it was swallowed up by many others, and poor Colin would have to have decipher it like lost words in a word search. My brain is a bit calmer so I can give a fuller reply to the importance of DAO  As a person within the disability arts scene and Mad Pride movement, I question identity and...

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This Diverse Perspective is looking for the heart of Portugal Prints

8 December 2012

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Portugal Prints Royal Academy Workshop

 My mind is sunshine distilled through a bed of nails, shining but hard to hold, especially also when the skin feels like shifting sands, and the soul and its perceptions seem like a mirage.  What is grounding me and connecting me to the world are lots of artistic projects. There is a new one on the horizon: I will be part of a project, still in its infancy, that hopes to explore unusual mental states and film, which will be launched in March 2013 at the Barbican, where one of my...

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Blogging Workshop and the Shameless Promotion of Lux the Dog

22 October 2012

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Blogging Powerpoint by Dolly Sen

 I was asked by Creative Futures to guest speak at a blogging workshop run by our very own Colin Hambrook. I don't claim to be a blogging expert, but I enjoy it and have learned over the years its power and its lessons. I am glad I was asked because it made me think about my process, and why I like it so much. I distilled most of what I discovered about blogging into a powerpoint presentation. I think it is self explanatory. Except for maybe the pic of Lux, my dog. I try to slip my...

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Haiku for Mental Health Day at the Tate Modern.

30 September 2012

Blog

Portugal Prints Haiku Event Flyer

 On October the 13th, as part of DAO 'Diverse Perspectives' Programme, I will be filming the Mental Health Day event at the Tate Modern. My film is about Portugal Prints . They are awesome and amazing and inspiring, and it will be a honour to follow them around for the day, filming their Haiku event. This is what they say of their event: The Haiku Festival 2012 is a pilot online social media event developed by Westminster Mind’s art project Portugal Prints. On Saturday the 13th...

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Poetic Response to Outsider Artist - Paul Nash's 'Wittenham'

27 September 2012

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 Pallant House Gallery will be hosting a few Outsider Art Exhibitions over the autumn months this year. I became involved with Pallant through their Step Up Programme, which trained marginalised artists to be workshop leaders, and was very happy to be asked to provide poetic responses to several well known - and some lesser known - outsider artists, as part of an audio trail for one of their exhibitions. I went into the studio on September 17th to record these poems for the audio trail....

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Poetic Response to Outsider Artist - Auerbach's 'Reclining Head'

26 September 2012

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 Pallant House Gallery will be hosting a few Outsider Art Exhibitions over the autumn months this year. I became involved with Pallant through their Step Up Programme, which trained marginalised artists to be workshop leaders, and was very happy to be asked to provide poetic responses to several well known - and some lesser known - outsider artists, as part of an audio trail for one of their exhibitions. I went into the studio on September 17th to record these poems for the audio trail....

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Poetic Response to Outsider Artist - Barbara Hepworth

26 September 2012

Blog

 Pallant House Gallery will be hosting a few Outsider Art Exhibitions over the autumn months this year. I became involved with Pallant through their Step Up Programme, which trained marginalised artists to be workshop leaders, and was very happy to be asked to provide poetic responses to several well known - and some lesser known - outsider artists, as part of an audio trail for one of their exhibitions. I went into the studio on September 17th to record these poems for the audio trail....

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My new business card

24 September 2012

Blog

Funny Business card

 Who to hand this to, apart from psychiatrists and ATOS?

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Poetic Response to Outsider Artist - Nigel Henderson

24 September 2012

Blog

Pallant House Gallery will be hosting a few Outsider Art Exhibitions over the autumn months this year. I became involved with Pallant through their Step Up Programme, which trained marginalised artists to be workshop leaders, and was very happy to be asked to provide poetic responses to several well known - and some lesser known - outsider artists, as part of an audio trail for one of their exhibitions. I went into the studio on September 17th to record these poems for the audio trail....

Comments: 0

Poetic Response to Outsider Artist - Scottie Wilson

24 September 2012

Blog

Pallant House Gallery will be hosting a few Outsider Art Exhibitions over the autumn months this year. I became involved with Pallant through their Step Up Programme, which trained marginalised artists to be workshop leaders, and was very happy to be asked to provide poetic responses to several well known - and some lesser known - outsider artists, as part of an audio trail for one of their exhibitions. I went into the studio on September 17th to record these poems for the audio trail. Poetic...

Comments: 0

Poetic Response to Outsider Artist - Frank Auerbach

23 September 2012

Blog

Pallant House Gallery will be hosting a few Outsider Art Exhibitions over the autumn months this year. I became involved with Pallant through their Step Up Programme, which trained marginalised artists to be workshop leaders, and was very happy to be asked to provide poetic responses to several well known - and some lesser known - outsider artists, as part of an audio trail for one of their exhibitions. I went into the studio on September 17th to record these poems for the audio trail. Poetic...

Comments: 0

Poetic Response to Outsider Artist - Patrick Caufield

22 September 2012

Blog

Pallant House Gallery will be hosting a few Outsider Art Exhibitions over the autumn months this year. I became involved with Pallant through their Step Up Programme, which trained marginalised artists to be workshop leaders, and was very happy to be asked to provide poetic responses to several well known - and some lesser known - outsider artists, as part of an audio trail for one of their exhibitions. I went into the studio on September 17th to record these poems for the audio trail. Poetic...

Comments: 0

Poetic Response to Outsider Artist - Alfred Wallis

21 September 2012

Blog

painting of four boats with black sails and a lighthouse on a rough sea

Pallant House Gallery will be hosting a few Outsider Art Exhibitions over the autumn months this year. I became involved with Pallant through their Step Up Programme, which trained marginalised artists to be workshop leaders, and was very happy to be asked to provide poetic responses to several well known - and some lesser known - outsider artists, as part of an audio trail for one of their exhibitions. I went into the studio on September 17th to record these poems for the audio trail. This is...

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Poetic Response to Outsider Artist - Peter Howson

20 September 2012

Blog

black and white woodcut of a man wearing a coat. He is seen looking at the viewer with a half smile on his face

Pallant House Gallery will be hosting a few Outsider Art Exhibitions over the autumn months this year. I became involved with Pallant through their Step Up Programme, which trained marginalised artists to be workshop leaders, and was very happy to be asked to provide poetic responses to several well known - and some lesser known - outsider artists, as part of an audio trail for one of their exhibitions. I went into the studio on September 17th to record these poems for the audio trail. This is...

Comments: 0

Poetic Responses to Outsider Artist - Mark Gertler

19 September 2012

Blog

painting of a path through grass and trees looking out over a seaside bay with a headland in the distance

Pallant House Gallery will be hosting a few Outsider Art Exhibitions over the autumn months this year. I became involved with Pallant through their Step Up Programme, which trained marginalised artists to be workshop leaders, and was very happy to be asked to provide poetic responses to several well known - and some lesser known - outsider artists, as part of an audio trail for one of their exhibitions. I went into the studio on September 17th to record these poems for the audio trail. This is...

Comments: 1

My piece at Shape's 'Perception of Balance' exhibition

5 September 2012

Blog

Balanced Mind

I received the good news that one of my pieces was accepted for the Perceptions of Balance Exhibition at Shape Arts.   My piece is called ‘Balanced Mind’ I have been labeled ‘mad’ by society, so therefore seen as unbalanced. Society’s way of redressing that is not to help me make sense of the childhood trauma that triggered my psychosis, nor to tackle inequality and discrimination in society because of that label. Its way was to medicate me into...

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