Writing an advance choice document

I am a visual artist - I use many different mediums, including found objects, sculpture, textiles and drawing. Much of my work is autobiographical and I often explore mental illness and its treatment, past and present. I have experience of bipolar, and creativity plays a big part in keeping me well.

I am working on a project that draws on my experience of writing an advance choice document (also known as an ‘advance directive’). This is a type of advance decision making for people with bipolar. Written when well, it sets out the care you would want to receive when unwell. It aims to ensure you gets this care when you are unwell, even if you no longer have the ability to recognise the agreement made when well. This raises big questions around capacity, choice and agency.

I’ve been working in collaboration with researchers at King's College, London who have developed a new approach to advance choice documents to better enable people with bipolar to make decisions about their crisis treatment and care. The research was conducted with the support of Bipolar UK. You can read more about the research and its relationship to Bipolar UK.

I am looking to connect and make art with people with experience of bipolar, to gather stories and create a dialogue about advance choice documents. 

Join a creative workshop

On Monday 28th June from 1.30pm - 3pm I am running an online creative workshop as part of the project. If you identify as living with bipolar please do consider taking part. The workshop will be a supportive space to create and share ideas - together, we will explore themes of protection, restriction and capacity.

I often use  objects with meaning in my work, I wrap them and bind them as a way to explore their hidden histories. People taking part in the workshop will be invited to  bring along an object that means something to them and has a story. We will be using materials such as string, wool, thread or ribbon, and strips of fabric torn from unwanted clothing to bind the objects. After the workshop, you’ll be asked to send in a picture of your work and a short piece of writing to go alongside the photo. I can support you with writing this.

If you would like to take part, please email [email protected] This project is funded by Wellcome and is delivered in collaboration with the team at Bethlem Gallery, who provide a platform for artists who have experience of mental illness. There will be a small payment for taking part in the research. 

Beth