We are Smith & Genever, an artist partnership with a shared passion for conversation, collaboration and collections. We believe that people and their stories are infinitely interesting and are always looking for opportunities to work with new people in new places to unearth truths and learning. Our creative practice is underpinned by an inherent desire to listen to and value people’s stories, to weave their ideas, experiences and observations into our work and to share it with the wider world. It is our belief that art makes people powerful and that it can be used to negotiate life’s challenges.
We have developed this project to crowd-source visual and written responses to the phase ‘Power-Up’ to gain a deeper understanding of what it means, who does it, why do they do it and when? We are asking anyone with something to say to send us a postcard with a visual Power-Up on the front and a written response to the question ‘what does ‘Power-Up’ mean to you’ on the back. All of the postcards that we receive will be scanned and shared in our online gallery.
We see this blog evolving into a ‘Power-Up’ resource for all. It could be used by individuals in need of a boost or by groups and organisations to encourage conversations about mental health and self care.
The Power-Up Project is part of a bigger piece of practice based research; it is supported by academics at Manchester Metropolitan University and Axisweb and is funded by Arts Council England. We will be working together in our studios and ‘in residence’ at Ash Villa, an inpatient unit for young people with acute mental health issues, to explore resilience as a concept. We will be creating a ‘Power-Up’ pop-up postcard exhibition at the unit’s onsite school to inspire the young people that we will be working with.