From an abstract idea to the first photos becoming real posters; from a few people sitting in a bar and brainstorming to having sponsors interested; from flurries of emails and WeChat group messages to meeting reports and workshop proposals…all in the effort to address the lack of awareness on bipolar disorder in Beijing.
It took 6 months of work – and more is to come – but Qin Xiaojie, the Founder of CandleX and mastermind behind the MoodLaB photo exhibition, is clearly impressed by how this project has come together and touched by the help of so many partners and the growing number of project members. The initial idea of a photo exhibition has now expanded to cover a range of activities, from a subway campaign to emotional wellbeing workshops, psychoeducation and personal stories.
We are proud to present CandleX Brand New 1.5 Year (2016-2017) Long Project | MoodLab: Bipoloar Disorder Awareness Campaign
The goal of this campaign is to raise awareness about bipolar disorder and reduce the social stigma attached to it. The MoodLab project is composed of 7 major activities under 4 pillars of Community Education, Community Engagement, Mass Media Campaign, and Community Campaign.
By inviting community members to become models and portray various moods in a series of photoshoots, we started the first activity of this project in November 2016. Joined by renowned photographer, Pere Ibañez, this is the first of its kind event for the community to experience the drastic emotions associated with bipolar disorder. A total of 20 models will be selected for the photoshoot in order to create a diverse portfolio.
Pere Ibañez and Xiaojie Qin Dec 2016
As part of the project team, Enoch Li and Timothy Coghlan, wife and husband, did a shoot together in Nov 2016, portraying the desire for connection when one experiences a mental slump. Li experienced depression in 2010 and Coghlan was the one who saw her through suicide attempts and the days she felt “stuck under 50 feet of snow, with nowhere to go, and no air to breathe.” Coghlan was reminded of the love between him and his wife during the photoshoot. Indeed, one of the purposes of the photoshoots is to also help models (re)awaken their feelings and emotions with intensity.”
We all have stories, and so do each of the photos we will present. In cooperation with Itgetbrighter China and Bearapy, “One Model One Story” was created to present models’ stories with mood or bipolar disorder, as well as the reasons for wanting to learn about their moods and portray them in photos. We aim to create a healthy and open conversation thereby bridging the gap between “unwell” and “well” members to share and learn about each other. To reduce social stigma, we have to face the fear of stepping out of the box. Moodlab provides that opportunity to transform and empower our community
Before the photoshoots, CandleX will provide MoodlaB Emotional Wellbeing workshops for the models and community members to learn more about their own emotions and to heighten their self-awareness. In the workshops, we will explore the range of human emotions, and spectrum of moods through a learner centered approach and by using art and psychosocial education, including body movement, drawing, group reflection, and theater games to engage the participates to experience the spectrum of emotions. Additionally, mini psychoeducation elements, including personal story telling, and a psychosocial presentation will be covered.
The photos will be curated into an online album, with stories, slogans and photos complied together in an art album. But beyond that, CandleX aspires to show CandleX Campaign photos in selected subway stations or bus stations around Beijing on the mental health day in October, 2017. Not everyone would understand what these art photos mean exactly, but for those that do, the words speak into the dark corners in the heart, telling them they are not alone, and we are here to help.
Besides photos, we will also produce CandleX Campaign Videos on Bipolar Disorder Awareness in partnership with Ray Kenderdine, an independent film-maker. A series of videos of different length will be produced presenting the general public’s understanding of bipolar disorder in relation to the reality of bipolar disorder. The video will be used at our community events, on major media platforms, and in schools that we collaborate with.
The Psychoeducational Element will be delivered in Feb 2017, in partnership with MyTherapist, China’s top mental health service provider. It’s an online two-week intensive campaign on bipolar disorder reaching over 1 million, with activities including psychoeducational article, mood disorder online participant engagement, psychoeducation live classroom with psychiatrists, and an online self-assessment tool.
In addition to all these great initiatives in store between now and the end of 2017, a CandleX Interactive Art Exhibition will be held where a wider audience will be able to view and experience the stories and photos of the community. Another key event is a CandleX Mental Health Gala in April to celebrate CandleX’s 2-year anniversary, to thank all its project team, and to increase the engagement with community.
Engage with MoodlaB Campaign
1. Be Our Model
You can still apply to be our model and advocate for mental health until the 30th of March, 2017. Our first picture is displayed at an exhibition in Los Angeles Center for Digital Art from 8th -31st December 2016. More photos from this project will be released throughout 2017.