“As you might know, I’ve been a heroin addict from 15 to 20, and I have recovered from that, from depression and from many other dependencies on people and things during my 58 years. I can therefore say that I’m a Recovery expert, or “Recoverist”, working on a peer-to-peer approach, and SPEX is a very powerful tool to work on our addictions”. Cristina Nuñez
Cristina Nuñez held many SPEX workshops for people with addictions to substances, both in prisons in Spain, Norway, Italy and Switzerland, and in rehab facilities, for example in Palermo’s SERT (service for drug addictions) on a project called “Palermo, uno sguardo a fuoco” directed by Nuccia Cammara, and in two projects in collaboration with Manchester Metropolitan University. The first of these was an European project directed by Mark Prest (Portraits of Recovery), and the second was a project called “Wonderland, the art of becoming human”, a partnership between Professor Amanda Ravetz of MSA, who was project P.I., Mark Prest of PORe (Portraits of Recovery), Michaela Jones from in2recovery, Alistair Sinclair from UKRF, ECR Lucy Webb and members of GMRF and UKRF. Amanda Ravetz authored a film (the video above) which documents Cristina’s SPEX workshop for a group of “Recoverists”, people in recovery from substance abuse. The film got the Utopia Award of the AHRC. A Recoverist Manifesto was written and published by Clive Parkinson, director of Arts for Health, MMU.
“Wonderland, the art of becoming human” is an artistic/photographic research project by and for people in recovery from substance use disorder and/or mental health issues. It is part of a new, North West UK social movement, under the proactive slogan of Recoverism, allied to the arts, harnessing social change and emancipation by re-framing cultural identities around substance use disorder. Working with the artist Cristina Nuñez and her self-portrait method (The Self-Portrait Experience), researchers, partners and participants came together in Manchester in 2016 to find out how artistic/photographic research can further recovery journeys. The research produced a film, a series of self-portraits, work by Nuñez, an RIF award-nominated film (with artist Huw Wahl), a series of artist books, academic articles and an online exhibition. Findings from the project were showcased interactively at the Utopia Fair, Somerset House, June 2016.
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In the following video, a talk about the Wonderland project, live on Facebook and Youtube on December 15, 2020, with Professor Amanda Ravetz, and Recoverists Mark Prest, Michaela Jones, Jayne Gosnall and Cristina Nuñez.