The Sleepless project is currently in a pre-production and research stage, which consists of ironing-out some of the important but boring stuff – like creating a release form and creating an information sheet for participants, balanced with some of the more exciting stuff like visiting Professor Peter Oliver at his lab in Oxford. The opportunity to see how important science is conducted and the approaches and methods used not only deepened and enriched my understanding of Peter’s work, but it became a valuable tool for starting a working discussion about the content of the animation and what it might look like. For example, Peter pointed out the nesting behaviour of mice which prompted a discussion about human nesting behaviour and what that might look like; for example, what kinds of activities do we do when trying to make ourselves comfortable for sleep?
We are also developing a series of workshops that we will be running with the organisation Launchpad, based in Newcastle. Launchpad is a supportive organisation run by and for mental health service users in the local area. In January we will be working with a group of people who have experienced mental health distress to investigate the real-life experiences of disrupted sleep patterns. This will then feed into the audio content for the animation. We will continue to work with the group over the duration of the project to ensure that the representation of mental health distress is accurate.
Ellie Land, November 2014