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Frequently asked questions...

FAQs

Here are some questions we have been asked about the project and some further information. If your question isn’t answered here, let us know.

Taking part

Who can leave a message?

People with ME/CFS, Long COVID and other health conditions that prevent them getting to places that are special to them.

 

Does your ME need to be severe to take part?

The project is open to anyone with experiences of being shut in and away from the everyday. ME/CFS and Long COVID are conditions that fluctuate (which is so hard to manage), so often people will have the experience of not being able to get to places but may also at times be OK to travel. Everyone is welcome to leave a message to describe their experience, they do not have to be having a flare up at the time of the recording.

 

Given that this project is audio based, how will deaf/non-verbal individuals be included?

The guide for taking part is available in both a written and audio format. For people with severe forms of M.E./CFS, Long COVID and non-verbal individuals, messages can be left by a friend or family member. The plan is that the messages in the mirrorbox will be transcribed and available for visitors to read online and at the location.

We would like to be as accessible as possible so please contact the project with any specific challenges you face, and we will hope to work out a solution together.

Leaving messages

How long should the message be?

We are suggesting that you leave a message that is around 2-5 minutes. It is important to think about the person that you hope will listen to your message. What would you like to tell them? The guide has some ideas about the type of message you might like to leave.

When is the deadline to sending messages?

The current deadline to send messages is November 6th. We anticipate that more messages will be accepted at a later date.

How many messages are you hoping to get?

As many as possible! The plan is to amplify our absence, and this will not be done with a whisper. The tour will last 16 weeks, we hope to visit as many places as possible (funding permitting). An online map will host all the messages which means each one can be heard.

Is there another way to send in my message?

When you have finished recording your message, send it to us using the google form. This allows us to upload audio. If you are having trouble sending your message to us, please let us know

I don’t like the sound of my voice!

This is a hard one to get past as most people find listening to their own voice uncomfortable! Voice messages reflect the person and emotion about a place which makes it both unique and powerful. But, if this is the block to leaving a message, it is also possible to get a friend or family member to leave the message for you. Please ask them to state this at the start of the recording.

What happens to my message after I send it in?

Next year your place and message will form part of an online interactive map of the UK showing all the places and messages sent to us. The mirrored box will visit as many of these places as possible. Inside the box, visitors will hear the message left by the person who has chosen that place. They will be invited to write you a postcard back (sent via the project). You will be contacted directly if your place will be visited.

 

I am finding leaving a message hard.

Leaving a message is an emotional process. Thinking about a place, the grief of not being able to get there, and the memories, can be painful. If you are feeling vulnerable it may help to talk to someone about leaving a message.

 

The following resources may be helpful:

Action for M.E. offers a listening service

Samaritans call 116 123

Shout text 85258

Mind call 0800 58 58 58 phone and online support

The mirrorbox

Why is it mirrored?

By making the box surface mirrored it will reflect the environment around it and at times appear almost invisible. When people step inside the box they will almost disappear. This will expand the idea of being invisible and unseen.

 

How big is it, and what is it made of?

The mirrorbox will be big enough to step inside (2m high by 1.5m wide (approximately). It will be made of acrylic material and is a two-way mirror. When you’re inside the box, you will be able to see out. People outside will see their own reflection or a silhouette of the person inside (depending on how bright the sunlight is).

Will the mirrorbox be COVID safe?

There will be a process of cleaning the box and headset between visitors. The mirrorbox is also well ventilated (it will not have a floor). This is an important point, so we will be checking the latest recommendations nearer the time of the mirrorbox tour.

Can the mirrorbox get downstairs?

The mirrorbox is being designed to be taken apart and constructed both inside and outside. It will fit in a room and on top of a mountain!

 

How will people hear the messages?

There will be a bluetooth headset inside the mirrorbox which will play the messages. This is in addition to an online, interactive map from which all of the messages can be played.

How will we know where the mirrorbox is going?

Where the mirrorbox stops will not be widely known. It will not always have permission to stop. If it is stopping at your special place you will be notified, and we will hope to be in contact with you while we are there. We have other ideas in development…

Can my special place be anywhere?

Your special place can be anywhere in the UK. Hopefully the project might tour around another country in the future.

 

If I wanted the mirror box to just go to my garden, how would people come and visit?

If your garden is your special place and the mirrorbox stops there, you will be notified so you can tell people (if you choose to) but the project would not publicise the stop. The mirrorbox may stop at places where no one is there. We will still document the place and play your message. It is important that your voice is heard at your special place.

 

Can you guarantee it will get to Glastonbury if I choose it as my special place?

We will try our best to get to most places but cannot guarantee anything. There is a guerrilla nature to some of the stops but for others we will need permission. The challenge to stop at these places will be part of the project!

The project

Who is behind the project?

I Would Be Here If I Could is a project developed by Alison Larkman, an artist based in Bristol, UK, who has ME/CFS (find out more about Alison here). She is recruiting a small team to help develop the project and this team will expand when the mirrorbox tour happens.

 
How is the project funded?

The first stage of the project has been funded by Arts Council England. The mirrorbox tour will be funded by a mixture of grants and private / corporate funding.

Recording your message - instructions

Before you begin

You will need a smartphone or MP3 recorder.

If you have a smartphone there will be a voice recording app on it.

Choose somewhere quiet with soft furnishings and carpets to record in. Rooms with hard surfaces like bathrooms will cause echoes.

 

Making the recording

For the best recording, hold the phone to your ear as if you were chatting on it (talking into the end of the phone can distort the sound)

Start your recording with your full name and the place you have chosen. This will ensure we can contact you with any queries. Sadly, we will not be able to use recordings that do not have a name with them because of the permissions we need.

Speak as clearly as possible but don’t worry about pauses and stumbling – that is only natural. Take your time.

Aim for a message of between 2-5 minutes.

When you have finished, listen to your recording to make sure it is clear and you are happy with it.

 

Sending your message in

Upload your message and a photo of your special place (if you have one) using the google form. This ensures that as well as your message we have your contact details and permission to use your message. 


All your personal details will remain anonymous and will not be shared unless we have your permission. See the privacy policy for further information.

Privacy policy

What is personal and sensitive data?

Personal data is data which can be used to identify you. This may include your name, date of birth, address, telephone number etc.

Sensitive personal data is information related to any of the following: racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious beliefs, trade union membership, health, sexuality or sex life, offences and/or convictions.

Where will you store my data?

The information we hold will be stored electronically by computer and email. Paper copies of your data may also be stored securely.

 

How will you use my data?

We require your personal information to identify your audio recording.
Your data will primarily be used for internal record-keeping, to enable us to contact you for correspondence purposes. We will only use the display name you have chosen in public and if we would like to use your message for another purpose (connected with the project) your permission will be requested.


Can I withhold my consent?

Yes, you can withdraw your consent at any time.

 

Why might you share my personal and sensitive personal data? Who will you share it with?

We will only ever share your information with your permission for the purposes we have stated (unless required to do so by law).

You have a right to ask for a copy of your information and to correct any inaccuracies. Under the Data Protection Act 1998, the project I Would Be Here If I Could is required to respond to your request within 40 days. If you would like a copy of the information we hold about you, please contact Alison Larkman – info@iwouldbehereificould.com

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