Drawing on her own experiences of Borderline Personality Disorder, artist Lizz Brady wanted to create a unique contemporary art project that would inspire people with mental health issues to get their “spark” back.
Having come up with the idea for Broken Grey Wires in her final year at university, Lizz needed financial backing to get her groundbreaking project off the ground. Crowdfunding seemed like the perfect option to make it happen.
“I have seen a lot of successful crowdfunding campaigns and was excited by the possibility of reaching a large number of people through the promotion of Broken Grey Wires,” she explains. “I chose Crowdfunder because it has the most success and I was interested in the opportunity to have a coach to connect with and receive campaign tips from. This was a huge confidence boost for the project.”
Lizz ran her Crowdfunder campaign in September 2014 to raise £1,500 towards part one of the project, which involves bringing together research material in a website. This website will provide a resource and eventually a catalogue, archive and promotional platform for the project as a whole. Parts two and three will see the creation of exhibitions in leading institutions, involving a number of internationally involved artists.
The artists will share their experiences of mental health issues, whether theirs personally or through a friend or family member. Lizz says the aim is to make those experiences more tangible for others in similar situations and to create a lasting legacy, bringing together contemporary art and an understanding of mental health illness. And she is movingly honest about how close this project is to her own heart.
“The point in this project is that I have been there,” she says. “I’ve been in that situation, that dark hole where you wonder what the point in living is; in fact I still slip into those situations now, but I got through those times and I’ve learnt how to pull myself out of that hole. I want Broken Grey Wires to be a project which can help those struggling, can give them their confidence back; restore their pride and encourage them to find that spark again.”
She has clearly touched a chord, as within just a couple of days of launching the campaign Broken Grey Wires had achieved 25 per cent of the backing it needed, and the pledges kept coming. By the time it closed it had exceeded its target by hundreds of pounds raising a total of £1815 from 56 backers.
A lively promotional drive helped to raise the profile of the campaign, which kept the pledges mounting up and also sparked new partnerships.
“We promoted the project through social media and had many articles written about us, including being in The Lancet and being showcased on Juxdit,” Lizz says. “We have received some fantastic backing from friends, family, new friends and The Pod at Coventry Council who we connected with through the campaign. We are now working with them on certain aspects of Broken Grey Wires including zines for World Mental Health Day, exhibitions in January 2014 and a collaborative music/text piece.
“It has been an exciting journey and we have received so much support and attention throughout the campaign. I believe we have been successful due to the nature of of the Broken Grey Wires ethos – people can relate to the back story and to our aims for the project.”
And with the funding for part one in the bag, Broken Grey Wires can really start to take shape.
“We have had meetings with Adapt for Arts who will be building our website and we are very eager to now push on with the money from Crowdfunder to organise a launch event for the website coinciding with Mental Health Awareness Week.
“After that we will be working towards exhibitions in Coventry, Germany, Glasgow, Manchester and Bristol!”
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