» Pole Vault

The roots of the Olympic sport reach back many centuries when obstacles, or more commonly canals or other stretches of water, were traversed using a pole.

Canals have a complex and sometimes dark history. In the midlands, canals were often a place where, due to the incomplete understanding of mental health issues particularly surrounding post-natal depression, women both drowned themselves and occasionally their children.

Working with the University of Warwick's History of Medicine Department, and Nine Arches Press, we will be using the principle of the pole vault across the canal to explore some of the complex history of mental health treatment. The moment of elevation over the dark waters a suspended moment of thoughts, poems, and texts drawn from archived records of mental health patients. (Downloadable audiowalk to listen to whilst walking along a canal towpath)

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