It’s My Life, Don’t You Forget

six pastal colour rectangles, in each a hand drawn image of - a shooting star, star, shocked face, flower, sun and candle
It’s My Life, Don’t You Forget, 2023-24. Lead image made by OSE Associates 23-24.

It’s My Life, Don’t You Forget is a 10 part, process-driven project developed in collaboration with the invited Lead Artist of the Associates Programme 2023-24, the vacuum cleaner, the OSE Associate Cohort 23-24 and the community at The Beacon, a NHS mental healthcare space in Ramsgate, Kent.

The Associates will deliver a programme of 10 workshops at the Beacon between January – April 2024 that foreground outpatient and staff members needs and creative ideas, and utilise each Associate’s artistic practice and specialist skills, that includes poetry, performance, audio and video production, animation, painting and textiles. Each workshop will create a space in which participants can platform and share their own experiences and advocate for their needs.

The programme will be guided by internationally recognised artist and disability advocate James Leadbitter (working under the name ‘the vacuum cleaner’).

Find out more about the vacuum cleaner below ↓

Through an engaging and varied programme, It’s My Life, Don’t You Forget will improve the quality of life for Beacon outpatients, trial partnerships with cultural partners to benefit mental health in Thanet, and prepare a new wave of early-career artists to work in ways that can support mental health (and mental health care provision settings), centring lived experience and the interests of the patient.


It’s My Life, Don’t You Forget asks…

Where do we feel safe? How can we be safe together?

It is an open invitation to contribute to process of art-making. Whether you use services at The Beacon, work at The Beacon, or maybe even support others that use or work at the Beacon or other mental healthcare settings.

To find out more and get involved – please visit: http://vacuum.org.uk/itsmylife, email itsmylife@vacuum.org.uk, whatsapp: 07498076096, or just turn up!

OSE Associates visit The Beacon, November 2023.

OSE Lead Artist 2023-24

the vacuum cleaner is the name of a UK based artist and activist who makes candid, provocative and playful work. the vacuum cleaner wants to find better ways to go mad. Drawing on his own experience of mental health disability, he works with groups including young people, health professionals and vulnerable adults to challenge how mental health is understood, treated and experienced.

With roots in activism and radical art, the vacuum cleaner has created one-man interventions and large-scale actions as well as performance, installation and film. His work has been shown in galleries, theatres, hospitals and schools and has appeared on streets and in public spaces internationally.

Recent commissions and project partners include: Manchester International Festival, Chisenhale Gallery, Wellcome Collection, National Gallery of Indonesia, Festspiele/Gessnerallee (Zurich), Mayor of London. the vacuum cleaner co-founded the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination 2004 – 09. He received the Paul Hamlyn Breakthrough Fund 2018 and Arts Council NPO from 2023.

Browse more of their projects at: www.thevacuumcleaner.co.uk

the vacuum cleaner, ‘A Madlove Take Over’ 2019. Produced by Heart of Glass
the vacuum cleaner, ‘2.8 Million Minds’, 2023-Ongoing.

The Advisory & Accountability Group (A&AG) is in place to help shape and adapt the collaborative approach to It’s My Life, Don’t You Forget, so that planned activities reflect more creative ways of working with NHS users and staff members at The Beacon.

The A&AG is formed of arts professionals, NHS professionals and mental health practitioners across Kent & Medway, who meet on a monthly basis to engage in critical discussion around the project with Open School East and the vacuum cleaner. The group act as caretakers of the project, supporting through training sessions, skill sharing, mutual mentoring, and supporting both organisations

The Advisory & Accountability Group is:

Jemma Channing (Independent Occupational Therapist and Arts Producer)
Dr Lucy Mills (Clinical Psychologist, Independent)
Dr Anna Bodicoat (Consultant Clinical Psychologist, NHS)
Dr Yasmin Mackay-Wade (Senior Clinical Psychologist, NHS),
Jemma Cullen (Artist and Director, Arts In Ramsgate),
Rachelle Francis (Artist and Designer)
Polly Brannan (Artistic Director, Open School East)
the vacuum cleaner (Artist and Project Lead)