For They Let In The Light

25 Nov 2022 – 4 Dec 2022

Regular hours

10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00

Cost of entry

Each booking allows for one ticket donation; if you are booking more than one ticket, you would need to complete separate bookings. Proceeds raised from the sharings will be used to fund a series of prints from 'For They Let In The Light', which will be donated to the Coborn Centre following the commission.

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Chisenhale Gallery

London, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • Mile End / Bethnal Green
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'For They Let In The Light' is a new live commission by artist and mental health activist the vacuum cleaner (aka James Leadbitter), developed with a group of young artists he met during the Spring of 2021 at the Coborn Centre for Adolescent Mental Health in Newham, East London.


'For They Let In The Light' is being presented at Chisenhale Gallery on the following dates:

Friday 25 & Saturday 26 November, at 7pm

Friday 2 & Saturday 3 December, at 7pm

An afternoon of ‘in-conversations’ between artists, curators and thinkers involved in the project will take place on Sunday, 4 December, 2-4pm.

Book tickets here


In his performances, films and site-specific interventions, the vacuum cleaner draws on his own experience of mental health disability, working with young people, health professionals and adults to challenge how mental health is understood, treated and experienced. This project responds to a crisis in young people's mental health, amplifying the experiences of those uniquely isolated by the pandemic lockdowns.


In an intensive period of on-site work at the Coborn Centre, James and artistic collaborator Caroline Moore prompted the group to respond creatively to the question, "why are so many young people struggling with their mental health?" The resulting material - stories, dance, and music - captures textures of their physical and emotional environments. 


Once discharged from the hospital, the group came together again. The new focus became how to critically and carefully share work of such intensity and personal valence. 'For They Let In The Light', a series of hybrid open-studio events combining recordings with live performances, is the result. 


Through their work, the artists ask: what does it take to establish and maintain trust? How might artistic processes enable connection through and conversations about painful topics? And what new relationship does such a process permit you to have with your history, your self and the systems in which we live?

Content warning: 'For They Let In The Light' includes material and direct experiences surrounding mental health, including suicidal feelings, self-harm, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, mental health hospitals and the use of the Mental Health Act, sexual violence and childhood neglect.

Access: Chisenhale’s studio has flat access with an all-genders, fully accessible loo. All events are relaxed. There will be space to lie down during the performances. A mental health nurse will be present during the sharings. An audio description and live captioning will be available on Friday, 2 December.

Depending on Covid rates during this time, you may be asked to wear a face mask if you are able. This is to protect the artists and one another.


Seth Pimlott

Exhibiting artistsToggle

The Vacuum Cleaner and Collaborators


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