Unlocked in The Unit

This exhibition marks the halfway point of alldaybreakfasts’s time as artists-in-residence at the Glenside Museum, drawing together work the each artist has developed. The aim of residency is to explore the Museum’s collection, to unlock the history of the objects and their associations and to give voice to the anonymous patient. In the work, myths and common perceptions of the institution are challenged as is the tension between the original meaning of ‘Asylum’ as safety and it s transformation to imply incarceration. Emotions and the language surrounding emotions are explored, where and how they are experienced in the body. And the relationship between masculinity and mental health is examined.

The work, by Tommy Cha, Anwyl Cooper-Willis, Pat Jamieson and Carol Laidler, includes video, installation, poetry, photography and drawing, and aims to stimulate new conversations around vitally important topics related to the human mind through art.

alldaybreakfast have been staging site responsive exhibitions and participatory art events since 2012 and were awarded funding by Bristol Creative Seed and the Arts Council for their time as artists-in-residence at Glenside Hospital Museum, one of only three Lunatic Asylum Museums in England.

12 – 27 November, Tuesday – Satruday 12.00 – 15.00

Opening event on Thursday 17 November, 18.00 – 20.30.

An now we are stating the hang. Very exciting to see work coming together and starting to turn into something real and coherent.

We had Names
We had Names

A book made with portraits of patients at the hospital in the 1890s

The Unit – artist space in The Arcade

A picture of our exhibition and studio space in The Unit in the Arcade, Bristol, which we’ll be occupying throughout November. We moved in on Monday 31 October and are currently making and hanging some of our works, inspired and created during our residency in Glenside Museum. The exhibition is opening next weekend, 12 November, so lots to do and organise!! This exhibition is the halfway point of our residency, giving us time to experiment and select works that will go into an installation in the Museum in February 2017. Everyone in alldaybreakfast is feeling both excited and nervous right now!

The Arcade, Bristol exhibition space

Unlocked Writing Workshop

August 6th


We are well prepared for the first Unlocked Writing Workshop. Pat and I have made cakes and we’ve written copious notes. Anwyl brings strawberries. We sit round the large oak table usually weighed down with books below the photos of Victorian patients. There are ten of us – several volunteers from the museum itself and some artists new to the museum, an interesting mix. Pat and I have put together a series of exercises, some short and punchy to get things going and some longer with more time to observe, describe and reflect. One thing that strikes me when we share what we have written is that hearing everyone’s written descriptions of the cabinets is as exciting as looking at the artefacts themselves, sometimes more so. Something profound happens in the translation from looking to word. We write, read out and discuss. We had wanted to consider and talk about the assumptions that we bring to the place and at times the volunteers explain the background to contextualise some of the objects and photos that we’ve been looking at. Everyone here has brought their own histories and associations as well their own different writing styles. We collaborate to write a poem, each writing a line and then playing with the order to see what comes out.

Allowing myself the luxury of space travel

Colours shining, shimmering on white paper

Irrational thoughts

Out of darkness comes forth sweetness

Can it?

The organ sleeps

Its echoing voice silent

In the dim light

The patient act

Of being a patient

Held involuntarily

Stored in a cool dark place

There is so much noise here

The blast and tremor of the organ

Here are the keys to understanding

First stop to unlock


We seem to have arrived in the wrong section