Feeling and seeing ourselves anew, acknowledging difficult emotions, learning how others see us – Wonderland: the art of becoming human helped us feel braver, wiser and more connected.
Wonderland is an artistic research project by and for people in recovery from substance use disorder and/or mental health issues.
We are part of a new, North West social movement, under the proactive slogan of Recoverism, allied to the arts, harnessing social change and emancipation by re-framing cultural identities around substance use disorder.
The project focuses on photography and self-portraiture. Our lead artist, Cristina Nuñez, who was a heroin addict in her teens and recovered thanks to her autobiographical practice, is an expert in the field of therapeutic photography and the creative process, having initiated the SELF-PORTRAIT EXPERIENCE® . Cristina teaches her self-portrait method all over the world.
The project helped us to own our humanity, become more compassionate towards each other and ourselves, and feel less stigmatised by our mental health and substance use disorder issues and histories.
Our work is presented here as an online exhibition in the (virtual) space of Manchester School of Art where the project took place.
In the exhibition area we show six artist books made by Wonderland participants.
In the photographic studio is a selection of self-portraits made with Cristina’s methodology, authored by her in collaboration with participants, and a film by Amanda Ravetz with Huw Wahl and Lucy Wright, documenting the project.
In equipment hire you will find polaroid self-portraits taken by the public during the Connected Communities Utopia Fair we took part in.
The study room has short essays, podcast interviews with participants by participants and links to further resources.
Here you can read some of the participants' comments on the project.
The research is a partnership between Dr Amanda Ravetz of MSA, Mark Prest of PORe, Michaela Jones from in2recovery, Alistair Sinclair, Jayne Gosnall and other members of GMRF and UKRF. It was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council under the Connected Communities strand.
Our thanks to Cristina Nuñez for her inspirational work on the project; to her daughter Diana Thorimbert for the online exhibition WE EXIST which inspired the design of this site; to Dr Hannah Allan of MSA who built the site and to Kate Dunstone who created the navigational pages for the site.