Be More Flexible and Yet More Resilient: Series title 'Paper Cuts' (Be More Flexible is No.1 of eight)

Research output: Other contribution

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Paper Cuts No.1 - Be More Flexible and Yet More Resilient
H42cm x W30cm
Work on paper (mixed media)

"Be More Flexible" examines the concept of "blame" in the context of supporting employees' mental health. In corporate settings, the generic language used often puts the blame on the employee for their supposed lack of resilience or other qualities. This implies that if the employee were stronger or better in some way, they wouldn't struggle with mental health issues. Essentially, it silently suggests that poor mental health is a personal weakness rather than a societal issue. We internalise this criticism when we read instructions to ‘buck up’ or be ‘more resilient’.

The collage incorporates vintage papers, household waste like yoghurt pot lids, and office supplies such as stationary cards and marker pens that are commonly found in the workplace. The central character is depicted as being bullied and reacting with tears of frustration. The satirical tone is intended to make visible the internal struggle that employees face and highlight its detrimental effects, we might smile at the image because we recognise this situation.

The series of eight collages are titled 'Paper Cuts'
This series explores the impact of language on mental health. Created through a
combination of collage and drawing techniques, they bring attention to the passive/aggressive phrases and words that are often used to bully and blame individuals. The works feature a clash of cartoon-like imagery and hand-drawn text, highlighting phrases such as “being resilient” and “gentle reminder” that can be used in a harmful manner. Similarly, as technology rapidly evolves, so too does the absurdity of the language we use to describe it. This language is parodied to highlight how it can make us as humans feel anxious, out-of-date or redundant. The series encourages open conversations about mental health and challenges the notion that individuals can be ‘fixed’, which distracts us from attempting to create a more equal and supportive society. It’s a call to action to rethink the way we communicate and to understand the power of words.

Jac Batey is a contemporary artist from the UK. Her work explores the complexities and nuances of British life through the medium of artist’s books, printmaking and collage. By utilizing humour as a tool, she reveals the absurdity and beauty of everyday experiences and the shared humanity that connects us all. She is drawn to (and draws) the intersection of visual communication, illustration and mental health. Her practice focuses on the use of visual narratives and visual interludes as a means of addressing mental health issues, as well as the use of drawing as a research method and coping mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Media of outputCollage
PublisherPale Ire Press
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2023


  • Art
  • Mental Health
  • Language and misuse
  • Humour
  • satire
  • drawing
  • Resilience
  • illustration, authorship, literature, artist's book, learning & teaching

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