Monday, 14 July 2014

***** An Exciting Announcement ***

Mini mood board: ambivalently yours, Miffy, Chansey illustration by Alyssa Nassner

Okay! So you know how, like two months ago, I tweeted about starting a zine talking about mental health stuff? 

[And if not side eye to you for not have an encyclopaedic knowledge of my digital footprint.]

But yeah, the response was exciting.

Like really exciting.

So I start thinking what if this is more than a zine? 

What if I could keep the rad ethos of community and creativity of zine culture but create something that can reach more people than a small circle of tumblr and twitter? People who might not necessarily know what a zine is but know what it's like to stop breathing on the way to class, to stop eating, to want it to end, but to want, to not want, to feel like this?

And this is what I want Doll Hospital to be. A title that not un-coincidentally happens to be my url for like every social media thing. Cos I'm unoriginal. And also because I like how the words look all typed out in the address bar.

Doll Hospital is an art and literature journal on mental health.

It will be a print journal.

Because whilst I am very much of a 
**--product---*** of the ***-digital age---** 
I believe print is the best medium for this project- a refuge away from toxic comment sections and constant link skipping. Something tangible to slip in your book bag and read on the bus. Print is not dead, and I think **--our generation--** [gag] is providing the most exciting contributions to print, not despite of the internet, but because of it. After all I would not have discovered the zine community if it was not for tumblr.

It should be free, charging a bunch of money for something on mental health is gross and just no! It should be accessible for anyone who wants to read it. So whilst I envision it as a print journal that could be picked up in like book stores and galleries and doctor's waiting rooms and stuff, I need to think of ways for it to be accessible for people who live in different places. I'm thinking an online shop? If you pay for post and packaging you can pay w/ever you want for the journal itself, even nothing at all. Because survival is a right not a privilege.

It will prioritise beautiful art, literature, personal and philosophical essays, short stories and poetry, whilst not being too lofty or pretentious: in the sense that the personal musings of a teenage girl's experience with anxiety is just as welcome as say an Oxford university academic writing on a super interesting art movement surrounding, I dunno, the unconscious or something.

It needs to be intersectional!! The history of mental health is closely tied in with the history of race, class, colonialism and disability and I am keen to emphasise this. Like my depression, ocd and anxiety is connected to my neurovariance and to my status as a survivor, and the way these things are perceived, and how they are dealt with, are shaped by my class and race. Whilst my disability stuff lives in perpetual conversation with everything, and I know Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (which I have) is linked to depression and anxiety so I think it's all kinda mushed up together, y'kno?!
One thing I am especially interested in is to move beyond the two archetypes of 'mental illness': the tortured white man genius (see the canonisation/Cobainification of David Foster Wallace) and the fragile, skinny, white girl, loved not despite of, but because of, her 'illness' (ick). White girls riding around on unicorns (no offence Kirsten Dunst). Thinspo. My tumblr circa 2010. You get the idea. Let's go beyond on that. Challenge that. We can do better. We need to do better.

And this is where you come in! Whilst I have some amazing submissions and contributors already (omg so good) I want your work too!

I'd love to read your writing, your stories, your poetry, your essays, see your photos, publish your collages, just everything basically!!
I am interested in subjects related to trauma, surviving, community, class, race, anti-blackness, addressing how certain mental illnesses are stigmatised more than others, discussing how hard it is to admit you struggle with mental health when you are pathologized, Othered so much already, so just wanna act like you lead this perfect, overachieving life 24/7, the history of mental health, of institutions, of control, female hysteria and all that, how vulnerability exists in different bodies, particularly the bodies of woman of colour, womanist reflections, feminist discourse, community activism, your fave movies, self care tips, recommended resources on recovery, fashion as self care, when the trope of self care fails, being a survivor and just like a million other things too.

If you are interested, or would just like to share your thoughts on the project, drop me an email at:

Also if you would be interested in sponsoring this project or advertising with us, drop me an email also!! 
I am currently applying for funding so I can actually pay contributors (not happy with the idea of ppl working for free for me-nope-nope-nope) and y'kno actually print the darn thing(!) But to make this a sustainable project I definitely need to look beyond art grants and towards other outlets.   

Also! Also! I approached Eline (who runs Perma Pupae) in June to be my co-editor (and she said yes! hooray!)She has already done so much to turn my floaty ideas into a real actual thing, and I am so blessed to be working with her on this. Ah!

Hope you had a great weekend!!!



  1. I am beyond excited! <3
    also, doll hospital is such a perfect and evocative name.
    "a refuge away from toxic comment sections and constant link skipping." - perfect.

  2. This sounds like such an incredible project. I love how thorough and informative it sounds instead of the usual "if you feel like this get help" that mental health literature usually solely consists of. Which is all well and good, but sometimes it can take people a while to realise that their toxic thoughts are in fact toxic and they deserve better.
    I feel like I'd love to contribute but I'm not a writer and pretty much suck at putting things into words, but mental health issues are something very close to my heart as I suffer from bipolar disorder (something I generally hate admitting to people because of the stigma). I am an illustrator though so if I can help in any way please do let me know. I really think this project is so important.

    1. Oh my gosh thank you for your kind words! And totally agree about failing of mental health literature, I also think its important to be realistic in admitting that recovery isn't like this a to b stuff and people with long term mental health issues like me are always going to have struggles. There needs to be a space to discuss our struggles, our bad days, our dark days, instead of acting like it doesn't exist!

      I would LOVE you to be involved and have dropped you an email so we can chat more <3

      So glad you got in touch!


  3. I was sent to this through Tavi's twitter and I'm too excited; coincidentally I recently started my blogs again to deal with my own issues. I'm really glad you brought up the manic pixie girl, a la the Virgin Suicides / Skins / Eternal Sunshine, idealisation. Like you and Faye have said above mental health media is severely slacking, especially in the portrayal, at least I think so. I would have loved something like this when I was growing up.

    I would love an opportunity to contribute to this but my writing isn't as strong as it can be. I'm super excited to see this evolve, though!

    1. Ahh yes for virgin suicides, especially Cecelia, oh and re: skins-Cassie!! and everyone else who I used to weirdly idolise a few years ago. I still love all of these characters, but I think romanticising mental illness (especially if you are suffering with these things yourself) is so so toxic and ultimately harmful!

  4. This is such a cool idea, I think it's a lovely way to branch away from our world of glaring monitors and I think little zines often feel loads more personal too which is perfect because mental health and emotional well-being is such a personal topic. I feel like I want to contribute because it sounds like such an interesting project but I'm not entirely sure what I'd submit, but I'm really intrigued to see how your zine turns out! I hope everything goes well for you! c: