Lynn Setterington image for Safety Net

Safety Net

Dr Lynn Setterington – textile artist sitting

Dr Lynn Setterington – textile artist

Manchester-based textile artist, Dr Lynn Setterington is known for her work with hard-to-reach groups and Safety Net is a new initiative which provides the opportunity to explore this overlooked issue – that of mental health in the workplace.

The short film linked to the project is live on vimeo –

An anonymous army of builders and scaffolders wearing hard hats and hi-vis jackets are ubiquitous in Manchester and Salford these days with the rash of large-scale building projects evident on pretty much every street.  But do we ever stop to think about the workers and what lies beneath their tough façade?

Construction now shares the same pervasive challenges with mental health prevalent across all UK workplaces. In fact, the sector has the highest suicide rate of any profession in the UK, a fact supported by ONS figures showing that suicide rates amongst Construction workers are more than three times higher the national average.

The large-scale banners on two building sites in Manchester and Salford raise awareness of the problem and are designed to get people talking. The installations, each measuring 14m x 13m, are in place on the old education board offices on Chapel Street, Salford, owned by the Diocese of Salford, and on the Deluna Apartments, 32-38 Oldham Rd, Ancoats, Manchester, owned by Northhold Group.

The installations are designed to challenge the thousands that will see them and make them stop and think.

Using the thought-provoking statement ‘There is no health without mental health’, the Chapel Street installation has been put up by Eccles-based Tunny Scaffolding Ltd and the Oldham Road installation has been arranged by Manchester-based Northhold Group.

The installations, devised by Lynn, have been sewn by young people from 42nd Street, a mental health organisation who support and advise young people with their emotional health and well-being, and students from the Textile in Practice course at Manchester School of Art where Lynn is a senior lecturer. The project is funded by Arts Council England.

Arts council logo

Focussing on Construction and Scaffolding opens up conversations and new ways of working with the sector, including innovative ways to break down the stigma about men’s mental health and allowing specialist skills to be utilised differently.

Three Tunnicliffe brothers - Bill, Lenny and Nick seated

The Tunnicliffe brothers – Bill, Lenny, and Nick

Thousands of people will see the installations as they move through Salford and Manchester and Setterington hopes to open up the debate about mental health in Construction during the run up to World Mental Health Day on 10th October and beyond.

A short video by acclaimed filmmaker Mary Stark will provide a lasting legacy which can be shared with audiences far and wide and across different platforms.

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Arts Council England

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Published: 10th July 2023


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