Rethink Parliament

My great friend and fellow artist Rachel Gadsden has been the artist at the centre of the national project Rethink Parliament run by Parliamentary Outreach in partnership with Rethink and Disability Arts Online. The programme engaged people with severe mental illness with the work and relevance of Parliament. Launched in November 2009 by the Speaker of the House of Commons, Rt Hon John Bercow MP, 16 art workshops around the country followed, led by Rachel.

The participants created self-portraits in an enjoyable non-judgmental environment. At the closing ceremony on 8 November, held in the House of Lords, Rt Hon John Bercow MP highlighted how crucial it is that politicians make themselves more accessible and relevant to people with experience of mental illness. One of the participants gave a very moving account about how much the project and Rachel had touched his life.

House of Commons

As the other guests filtered out under the shadow of Big Ben, I took a left turn into a corridor and went in search of the House of Commons, to watch and draw a debate. Above is the resulting sketch.


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