Lay Your Cards on the Table



An Event for the First Fortnight Festival, 2016

Groundswell and the Dundalk Library

The First Fortnight Festival challenges mental health prejudice through the visual arts and “unscripted conversations to change people’s perceptions about the ordinary experience of a mental health problem and the less ordinary experience of mental ill health” (

Lay Your Cards on the Table offered visitors to Dundalk Library the opportunity to produce condensed visual journals on a selection of playing cards. A chance to share accounts of daily living, bits of advice, and heart-to-heart messages. The playing card journals were shared as gifts, hidden in the library, traded, or retained as keepsakes.



A library, as an archive of human experience, is one of the most democratic spaces to explore stories in relation to mental health. A place for reflection, knowledge, debate and communication, a library represents the diversity of the human condition within its collections.


This event was accompanied by a bibliotherapy display compiled from a selection of self-help books and literary reads evoking themes related to mental health.