Based in Reading, Berkshire, The Engine Room is run by a core group of 20 committed volunteers. All of the group’s members face mental health challenges along with other complex needs, and they work with ex-offenders, the refugee community, people facing addiction, and soldiers living with PTSD.

Started in July 2023, The Engine Room Sound Lab is a research project run in partnership with the British Science Association. An investigation into how sound, ambience and (eco)acoustics can affect the wellbeing and mental health of a community, the project used art and science to carry out playful, significant, and relevant research that will have a long-lasting effect on the community of Dee Park Estate in Reading.

“Our volunteers have been learning to experiment with new technologies, sound recording equipment, and editing processes,” says Lisa-Marie Gibbs of The Engine Room, “and also to create and edit films. We’ve explored the tonal acoustics within a community and the effect this can have on the wellbeing of local citizens. Our emphasis has always been about giving people living with mental health challenges the power, skills and loving encouragement to take a lead in their own local community.”

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