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Dolly Sen is a writer, director, artist, filmmaker, poet, performer, playwright, mental health consultant, music-maker and public speaker. She has 8 published books since 2002; has taken on performance roles at The Young Vic, the Royal Festival Hall, and around Europe; undertaken a poetry tour; won a poetry award from Poet Laureate Andrew Motion; directed two plays and several TV films; and performed spoken word at City Hall and Oxford University.

SING HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY DOG PLEASE

10 July 2008

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lucky

Next week is my dog's birthday. Her name is Lux and she will be 3. She is half Staff and half Whippet, so she is a Snippet. She came to my family as a rescue dog who had lived with some junkies who didn't feed her and totally ignored her. She was as skinny as hell when we first saw her and became distressed whenever you turned your back on her. What a horrible start to a life. Those who have read my memoir will know I had similar beginnings. But she, like me, has come through that to be an...

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SHIT, NOW I HAVE TO THINK ABOUT LIFE

1 May 2008

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In a couple of weeks uni will be over with until the autumn and today I have come to the realisation I will be slowing down activity-wise and have more time to think. Uni has been so much fun and an outlet for my exploding creativity. It has also helped me so much. This year alone it has nursed me through an epilepsy diagnosis and a broken heart. Most of my fellow students are looking forward to the holidays - not me. I guess I can climb a few mountains in the lake district but what I prefer is...

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POETRY

1 May 2008

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eccentric fish book cover

Pavement Poem Do not step here my dreams have fallen out of my pocket, and are hard to find again. Don’t grind them into the ground Otherwise I will have to wait for the rain to run into the cracks to the feed the daisies to push them back up again Sleep Walk Did you sleep well? No, I made a few mistakes. The truth keeps interupting. I don’t know how to end the dream. I forget to dot the tease And cross the eyes. Poor Dali, Making movies on how I see the world With dyslexic dogs...

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BACK AT UNI

1 April 2008

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Yesterday it was back to uni for me. It was so funny to see the majority of us actually look the worse for wear than rested, due to the non-stop partying that all holidays seem to create. We were in darkened room at first, watching a classic film in our Contextual Studies class, that was ok. But after lunch we had to return to the room to talk about the film with the curtains open and spring light flooding into the space. The hissing like vampires was very audible and some people even...

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Sponsors of This Insane Life

1 April 2008

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profane perfume

It seems part of being an artist these days is seeking sponsorship to, well, eat. There are so many ethical dilemmas involved in that, but I am not going to go into that here. Working for a variety of arts organisations means I have seen things like a major accounting firm sponsoring anarchic art. This got me thinking: who would sponsor me as a mad person? I already know the answer: pharmaceutical companies. I know they are desperate to sponsor mental health arts events for the PR - because...

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LISTEN TO THE VOICES

1 March 2008

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I came out of my self-enforced reclusion this week. The reason I went into one is that I have my holiday from uni at the moment and I wanted to use the time writing and give time to many neglected writing projects. Today I went to an event organised by the London Hearing Voice Groups Project. I told them a little bit about my story about hearing voices. I have heard them since I was 14 and although it is less now, they are still present. It wasn't until very recently did I realise I have...

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REFLECTIONS ON SODIUM VALPORATE

1 February 2008

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heartinsideasun

This week I have been put on some new meds for some recently developed epilepsy, and my mind has done some thinking on it that I am not sure would have arisen if I wasn’t taking these new drugs. Now with Epilepsy on top of Psychosis, I am doubly ‘disabled’ but how come I don’t get twice my DLA? I have also come to the thought that prospective employers are gonna love me! I went to a DAO meeting today, and we talked about spaceships, and Colin recreated the universe into...

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PSYCHOTIC FUNFAIR

1 January 2008

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Photograph of a sign saying 'PAY HERE' in the middle of an empty desert

So what's it like having a psychotic experience, I have been asked many a-time. Well, the painful part of Schizophrenia is that you are on a never-ending ghost train ride, but you see monsters and ghouls nobody else sees. They are seeing a pretty funfair and winning prizes. You want to get off this scary ride but you can’t, you never see the light of day, or so you assume. It’s your own private horror show, and private it so vehemently is, and you scream when everyone else laughs....

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SUNDAY TIMES ARTICLE, RUBY WAX, AND LIGHTBULBS

14 July 2008

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Bonkersfest

Allo people, these last few weeks have been busy in the House of the Insen. I was interviewed for a Sunday Times article about pushing madness into the limelight. You can read it online at http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/mental_health/article4302640.ece The reason the article was written is because the 3rd Bonkersfest is on this Saturday 19th July on Camberwell Green. BonkersFest! is a free annual one day summer arts and music festival, illuminating and celebrating...

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GOOD MORNING SUNSHINE

15 July 2008

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Waking up this morning has kind of answered the question I posed in my last blog. I can see the London skies are grey now but they weren't when I opened my eyes. Reality changed its mind this morning. The colours of at my window waxed deeper, stronger, wilder; the skies were the colour of a thousand setting suns reflected in the swirl of melting glass; every particle of air had its own individual, unequivocal jewel. Birds were flying free Free FREE across the skies. Trees turned into giant...

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MAD PEOPLE WANT MORE FROM THEIR TV LICENCE

27 January 2009

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I had to renew my tv licence this week, even though I have stopped watching TV. I think this happened because I used to contemplate suicide every time I watched Richard and Judy or Jeremy Kyle. If I was in charge of TV, I would adapt some current programmes to be more relevant to Mad People such as myself. Like: How Clean is Your Madhouse? MADWATCH - filmed reconstructions of your crimes of normality. Antics Roadshow Real or No Real Medication, medication, medication How to Look Good...

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The News and Love, Shoes and Tattoos

12 February 2009

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Love, Shoes and Tattoo Flyer

I was on more4 news this week, talking about the pharmaceutical stranglehold on the mental health system. You can see it here And I will be performing poetry at Art exhibiton called Love, Shoes and Tattoos on the 19th Feb at The Sun & Doves Pub some point after 8pm. The Sun & Doves pub isĀ at 61 Coldharbour Lane, Camberwell, London, SE5 9NS. Sun & Doves website...

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Welcome to Neurodisney

15 March 2009

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Hello there people, I know I have been slack in updating this blog, but the Neurodisney that is my madness can sometimes take you for a ride you don't want to go on. Or it is a wonderfully strange ride but there is no getting off and no seatbelts. My visual hallucinations at the moment are pretty horrible at the moment, a horror movie I am forced to watch again and again, turning my soul into a blackboard where every breath scratches its fingernails across it. Yes, I am feeling shit. But...

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My Strange Nature

18 March 2009

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My concentration is shit at the moment, but I am able to write lyrics here and there on napkins and envelopes. Of course, the songs reflect the haunting sunshine my mind seems to be currently burning with. I wrote the following on a Sainsbury till receipt: My strange nature   My sunrises are made of bones My trees know how to bleed My rain kills butterflies I can fly but I will never be freed   Clouds are slaughtered sheep And the wind are dreams without a home No one wants to hear my...

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Dominatrix and Disabled?

23 March 2009

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Allo there again, I know the title sounds like it should be on gumtree but this is not for personal reasons. Honest. Are there any Dominatrix and Disabled people out there? I want to make a short documentary on the subject, and am interested if anyone wants to share their story. Normal people are generally uncomfortable about disability and sexuality for some strange reason, well, accepting that, I want to push the boundaries even further and show that our sexual tastes are just as wide. I...

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Disability Now's Article on Mental Health mixed ward

2 April 2009

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I was interviewed by Disability Now about my experience on  mixed wards. Basically, the mental health system in all its wisdom thinks putting suicidal and vulnerable women, most of whom were abused as children, in an environment where the threat of sexual assault is more often there than not. I have been assaulted, most of my female friends who have been on wards have been assaulted. But most of these assaults are rarely tried in court. Apparantly our mental health means we are not...

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Comic relief anti-stigma film

27 March 2009

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I was in Comic Relief's anti-stigma film that they showed on BBC. It was just a shame they showed it after midnight where not many people saw it. A few of my friends are also on the film, like Dawn Willis and Devon Marston. Here is the link  ...

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Love to my angel Barry

4 April 2009

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I have met many angels along the way who have elevated my life. One of them is Barry Fitton, an English poet based now in Amsterdam. He gave me my first poetry gig. I was horribly shy before I flew to Amsterdam to do my first gig, but I came back to England a changed woman. I was still shy, but now I believed I could do anything I wanted to do. This was all down to Barry. He is not well at the moment, he has cancer. It is being treated. And I wish my wonderful crazy angel good health and a...

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Dreaming of Jehovah's Chicken

9 May 2009

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I had a dream recently where some Jehovah's Witnesses broke into my house to cook a chicken. It so disturbed me, I decided to make a film about it, which actually was a lot of fun to make. I couldn't use a lot of the footage because most of the crew and cast were laughing so much.

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whose reality is it anyway?

7 June 2009

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Hello people, I have spent the last couple of months dipping in and out of psychosis, but I now am more in the world of shared 'normal' reality, even though it is a bunch of bill-paying bollocks, where politician pay themselves expenses for fucking us over. I can feel myself coming out of it now, which means more blogs posted regularly. Whilst I was in psychosis I saw a lot of birds trapped in walls and set concrete, trying impossibly to fly. Psychosis is rarely meaningless. For me the trapped...

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Raising money for documentary on psychosis

29 June 2009

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trapped birds logo

I was over the moon to get picked to direct a documentary on psychosis as my graduation for university, but now it is the dirty business of raising funds. I want to raise unrestricted funds, in that the usual suspects who fund these kind of films are medical based, and I want to get away from the medical model. So here are the details of what I want to do: A synopsis of the idea It is a self-reflexive documentary about the experience of psychosis, focusing on the sensory aspect of it but also...

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An article about Dolly Sen from Life in a Day magazine

7 August 2009

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Recovery heroes – a profile of Dolly Sen by Dolly Sen, Sarah Morgan and Jerome Carson A life in the day Volume 13 Issue 2 May 2009 © Pavilion Journals (Brighton) Ltd The development of the recovery approach must mean a fundamental change in how mental health services see serviceĀ  users, for as the Social Perspectives Network paper rhetorically asks, ‘Whose Recovery is it?’, it is, of course, the service users’ (Social Perspectives Network, 2007). The recent...

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