For 9 weeks in March and April, service users and occupational therapists at Broadoak Unit co- created work with Sheila as part of Tate Space 2014; a partnership between Tate Liverpool and Mersey Care NHS Trust. 

The project took its inspiration from Keywords: Art, Culture and Society in 1980s Britain at Tate Liverpool, and more specifically Rose Finn Kelcey's The Magpie's Box a performance 'toolkit' (on display as part of the exhibition). 

Over the course of the 9 weeks seven words selected from Raymond Williams' seminal book, 'Keywords - A Vocabulary of Culture and Society', and Finn Kelcey's 'toolkit' were used to stimulate everything from conversation to audio recording, to sketching and filming. 

The words selected were:

Unconscious, Private, Folk, Liberation, Standards, Psychological, Art 

Participants were able to drop in and out of sessions at any time and as a result 41 service users and 9 Broadoak Unit Occupational Therapy staff contributed to the work. 

The finished work was displayed at Tate Liverpool Thursday 10 - Saturday 12 July 2014 and at Liverpool's World Museum on 8th October for World Mental Health day.

The exhibition comprised of: 

  • Seven wooden boxes to explore.
  • Six video screens to watch.
  • Five postcards to choose from.
  • Four animals to discuss.
  • Three thoughts to listen to.
  • Two fragments to read.
  • One song to hear... Birdsong. 

One for sorrow, Two for joy, Three for a girl, Four for a boy, Five for silver, Six for gold, Seven for a story that's never been told... 


This particular project was arranged by Margaret Brown, Equality and Diversity and Service User and Carer Lead at Merseycare, Lindsey Fryer, Head of Learning at Tate Liverpool and Alison Jones, Programme Manager: Public & Community Learning at Tate Liverpool. Alison Jones also Managed the project.

Thanks also go to: Clod Ensemble's Performing Medicine Project for introducing Sheila to Tate Liverpool, Lucy Cash (film edit), RULER aka John Hunter (postcard photography), Scott Smith (sound design), Martina Schmuecker (advice and help with box finishing), Roger Sinek and Gary Sollars (technical advice and help at Tate Liverpool).

Photography by Rene Garcia Cepeda

Delightful, some fab stuff – love the mystery boxes.
— Visitors comments book