Art of Psychiatry Society

Art of Psychiatry Society speaker meeting Thursday 17 March 2016 6pm IoPPN “Agnes Martin: her Art and Life” with Dr Lena Fritsch. All welcome!
February 22, 2016, 10:10 pm
Filed under: Art

Agnes Martin














Upcoming Art of Psychiatry Society speaker meeting

Thursday 17 March 2016 6pm

Seminar room 1 Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, Denmark Hill.

Please join us for a speaker meeting about American abstract artist Agnes Martin, recently the subject of a Tate Modern retrospective.  We’re very pleased that Dr Lena Fritsch, Tate Modern Assistant curator will be our speaker guest.

“Agnes Martin: her Art and Life”

Agnes Martin (1912–2004) was an American abstract painter. She was born in Canada but lived most of her life in the United States.  She is best known for her meticulously rendered grid paintings and evocative stripes paintings marked out in subtle pencil lines and pale colour washes. Her art and way of living had a significant influence on her own, and subsequent generations of artists. After becoming a key figure in the male-dominated fields of 1950s and 1960s abstraction in New York, Martin abandoned the city in 1967 and went in search of solitude,  settling in New Mexico. Martin suffered from schizophrenia throughout her adult life. Working within tightly prescribed limits that she imposed on her own practice Martin was able to continue to make extraordinary paintings until her death in 2004.

Dr. Lena Fritsch is Assistant Curator at Tate Modern, working on exhibitions (most recently Agnes Martin), displays and acquisitions of international art with a special focus on the Asia-Pacific region. Fritsch studied art history, Japanese studies and English studies at Bonn University, Germany as well as Keio University, Tokyo. She completed a PhD in 2010 with a thesis on Japanese photography (The Body as a Screen: Japanese Art Photography of the 1990s, Georg Olms, Hildesheim 2011). Before joining Tate Modern in 2013, she worked at the Directorate General of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and the Hamburger Bahnhof –  Museum of Contemporary Art, Berlin. Most recent publications include: ‘The Floating Dresses of Hiroshima: War Memory in Ishiuchi Miyako’s Photography’, in Ayelet Zohar (ed.): Beyond Hiroshima: The Return of the Suppressed, Genia Schreiber University Art Gallery, Tel Aviv 2015; ‘Well, I sit here and wait to be inspired: Photographs of Agnes Martin’ in Frances Morris (ed.), Agnes Martin, Tate Modern, London 2015; ‘Von dunkler Dekadenz und christlicher Mystik: Verbindungen zwischen Geoffrey Hills Gedicht “A Pre-Raphaelite Notebook” und präraffaelitischen Bildern [Dark Decadence and Christian Mysticism: Relationships Between Geoffrey Hill’s Poem “A Pre-Raphaelite Notebook” and Pre-Raphaelite Paintings]’, in Susanne Gramatzki and Renate Kroll (eds.), Wie Texte und Bilder zusammenfinden, Berlin 2015.


This is an open meeting and all are welcome (including SLaM employees, psychiatry trainees, service users, members of the public).  No need to book.  It’s okay to turn up late.  Entrance is free!

Contact us:


How to find the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience:



Picture credit:

Art of Psychiatry Society meeting – Short film evening – Tues 2 February 1800 Seminar room 5 IoPPN – All welcome!
January 11, 2016, 9:43 pm
Filed under: Film
My Mother Tongue

My Mother Tongue


Upcoming Art of Psychiatry meeting

Tuesday 2nd February 1800hrs
Seminar room 5 Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, Denmark Hill.

AoP Short film evening:

For our next meeting we pleased to show the work of three film makers whose work touches on themes of mental illness.  Each artist will be present to discuss their films and the evening is chaired by Dr David O’Flynn, consultant psychiatrist and chair of the Adamson Trust.

About the film makers:

Dolly Sen is an award-winning writer, artist, performer and filmmaker.  She has had 10 books published and contributed chapters to several other books. Her subversive blogs around art, disability and humour have a huge international following, and since 2004 she has exhibited and performed internationally. Her films have been shown worldwide, including at the Barbican. Her public speaking on mental health has taken her all over Europe, including the World Health Organisation and Oxford University.

Susan Young is a BAFTA-nominated animation director based in London. Carnival, her Royal College of Art graduation film, features the fluid, dynamic line that defines her commercial work, which includes The Doomsday Clock, a film about multilateral disarmament for the United Nations, Beleza Tropical: Umbabarauma, for musician David Byrne, and Jimi Hendrix: Fire, for producer Alan Douglas. She is currently researching animation’s capacity as a medium for processing psychological trauma at the Royal College of Art and as part of this research is using autobiographical material to create a trilogy of film experiments while exploring new animation techniques.

Antonia Attwood graduated from BA Hons in Photography in 2014. Her practice in still and moving image explores ideas around the phenomenology of mental health. Since graduating Antonia has done artist talks at Photofusion Gallery, Free Space Gallery, The Dragon Cafe and The Broadway Cinema Nottingham. She has also had exhibitions at The Depot Clapton, Brighton Photo Fringe and The London College of Communication. Antonia has had two commissions from the Institute of Inner Vision to date. Antonia has experience working directly with people who have experience with mental illness. Creating short films with volunteers from the Dragon Cafe as well as her Mother who has Bipolar disorder.


This is an open meeting and all are welcome (including SLaM employees, psychiatry trainees, service users, members of the public).  No need to book.  It’s okay to turn up late.  Entrance is free!

Upcoming Art of Psychiatry Society meeting: Speaker meeting about Sylvia Plath with Dr Sarah Bayley Thurs Dec 3rd 1800 Sem Rm 1 IoPPN All welcome!
November 11, 2015, 8:27 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

File:Sylvia plath.jpg


Upcoming Art of Psychiatry Society meeting:

‘The Girl Who Would Be God: Sylvia Plath’s Omnipotent Self-Creation’
Speaker meeting with Dr Sally Bayley
Venue: Seminar Room 1 Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience.
Date: 3rd December 2015
Time: 1800
Please join us for our final meeting of the year!
Sally Bayley, writer and critic, will discuss Sylvia Plath’s juvenile artistic manifesto. Drawing upon a provocative diary entry written when Plath was 17, Sally will explore Plath’s commitment to divine role play and magical thinking.

The session will include a showing of a short film by film maker, Suzie Hanna, commissioned by Sally for a festival celebrating Plath’s creative life.
Sylvia Plath (1932 – 1963) was an American poet, novelist, and short-story writer. She is best known for her confessional poetry and her semi-autobiographical novel ‘The Bell Jar’, as well as her troubled marriage to fellow poet Ted Hughes.  Plath was depressed for much of her adult life and committed suicide in 1963 in London.

About Sally Bayley:

Sally Bayley is a Teaching and Research Fellow at The Rothermere American Institute, Oxford, and a tutor in English at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University. She is the author of Eye Rhymes: Sylvia Plath’s Art of the Visual (Oxford University Press, 2007). Eye Rhymes was the first study of Plath’s art work in relation to her body of poetry and prose and was featured in the Sunday Times magazine, on Radio 4 and at the Royal Festival Hall alongside a series of uniquely commissioned pieces of theatre, dance, art and animation, several of which won awards.

Sally has just completed a study of the diary as an art form: ‘The Private Life of the Diary, from Pepys to Tweets’ to be published by Unbound books next spring.

This is an open meeting and all are welcome (including SLaM employees, psychiatry trainees, service users, members of the public).  No need to book.  It’s okay to turn up late.  Entrance is free!

Crisps and wine provided.

Contact us:


How to find the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience:

Carol Kan interviews Sarah Chaney on Art, Asylum and Autobiography
October 15, 2015, 9:25 pm
Filed under: Art


Sarah Chaney came to talk to AoP on “Art, autobiography and the avant-garde asylum” Carol Kan interviews her after the talk.



Upcoming AoP meeting – Screening of “The Arbor” – Thursday 29 October 2015 6pm – Robin Murray Theatre IoPPN – All Welcome
October 13, 2015, 7:43 pm
Filed under: Film
the arbor














Upcoming Art of Psychiatry meeting

Screening of “The Arbor” A film by Clio Barnard

When: Thursday 29 October 2015 6pm

Venue: Robin Murray Theatre – Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience

Screening followed by a Q&A and discussion with director Clio Barnard, Professor Michael Kopelman and Dr Vaughan Bell

We’re really pleased to host a screening of this innovative and award winning documentary.  Andrea Dunbar was an acclaimed playwright who died aged 29 from the complications of alcoholism. “The Arbor” explores her life and relationships, using actors lip-synching to interviews with Dunbar and her family.  It concentrates on the strained relationship between Dunbar and her daughter Lorraine, and the psychologically complex and divisive phenomenon of memory.

Meeting open to all (including psychiatrists, service users, NHS employees and members of the public).  Wine and snacks provided. Free Entry. No need to reserve a place.


More information about the film:

and about Andrea Dunbar


How to get to the IoPPN:


Contact us: | | Twitter: @artofpsychiatry

We look forward to seeing you there!

Art of Psychiatry speaker meeting 20 August 2015 1800hrs R Murray Room A IoPPN “Bryan Charnley: The Art of Schizophrenia”
July 28, 2015, 10:22 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
Bethlem Exhibition

Pam and Me (c) The Estate of Bryan Charnley



Upcoming Art of Psychiatry speaker meeting on Thursday 20 August

“Bryan Charnley: The Art of Schizophrenia”

Date: 20 August 2015

Time: 1800

Venue: Robin Murray A Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience
Please join us for what will be a fascinating AoP meeting with our speaker Kirsten Tambling

Bryan Charnley (1949-1991) was a British artist whose work sought to convey the experience of living with schizophrenia, a condition with which was first diagnosed at art college. After several years of painting photo-realistic depictions of the world around him, in the mid-1980s Charnley turned his attention to self-portraiture and what he called ‘bondaged heads’ – fractured ‘portraits’ that drew inspiration from William Kurelek’s The Maze. Charnley’s work formed the basis for Bryan Charnley: the Art of Schizophrenia, the inaugural exhibition at Bethlem Museum of the Mind. This talk, by the exhibition’s curator, will explore Charnley’s approach to painting as it developed throughout his career, and will focus on the idea of coming (as Charnley put it) ‘face to face with schizophrenia’, by examining the recurring motifs of faces and (self-)portraiture in Charnley’s work.
About Kirsten Tambling:

Kirsten Tambling was guest curator of the exhibition Bryan Charnley: The Art of Schizophrenia at Bethlem Museum of the Mind (16 February – 22 May 2015) and has previously worked in the curatorial departments of the Royal Collection, the National Gallery and Dr Johnson’s House. She has an MPhil in eighteenth-century studies from the University of Cambridge and an MA in Curating from the Courtauld Institute of Art. Her PhD, beginning this September, will focus on the intersections between William Hogarth and Jean-Antoine Watteau. She tweets at @otherplications.

This is an open meeting – all are welcome – including service users, SLaM employees, psychiatry trainees, and members of the public.
Directions of how to reach the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN) are found here:
About us:  Creative artists and psychiatrists share an interest in human behaviour and motivation but approach this subject in different, but equally valid, ways. The Art of Psychiatry society holds speaker meetings and events where this spared space is explored.

Contact us:



Other events of interest:

“Art and the Other” curated by Juliette Brown, Alana Jelinek and Michaela Ross

Art and the Other brings together art works and objects that raise questions about our relationship to others and otherness. The Bethlem Gallery artists chosen give voice to human and non-human actors who are often relegated to the margins, confronting us with an otherness that can never be fully captured but nonetheless demands our attention.

Exhibition runs 15 July – 8th August Wednesday – Friday 10am – 5pm at the Bethlem Gallery

Free entrance – all welcome

Art of Psychiatry Society speaker meeting Tuesday 30 June 6pm IoPPN: “Art, Autobiography and the Avant-Garde Asylum” with Dr Sarah Chaney. All welcome.
June 11, 2015, 5:12 pm
Filed under: Books











Upcoming Art of Psychiatry speaker meeting:

“Art, Autobiography and the Avant-Garde Asylum”

Date: June 30 2015
Time: 1800
Venue:Seminar room 1 Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience.

Please join us for what will be a fascinating AoP meeting with our speaker Dr Sarah Chaney.

Dr Chaney’s talk will explore some of the connections between art, psychiatry and modernism, focusing on the Bethlem art collections and archive. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, several psychiatrists at the Bethlem Royal Hospital began to collect patient artwork and autobiographical accounts, and in 1900 a public exhibition of patient art was held at the hospital. What can the archives tell us about the relationships between these doctors and their patients, and the role of art and autobiography in psychiatry in this period?

About Dr. Sarah Chaney:

Dr Chaney is a Research Associate at the UCL Centre for the History of Psychological Disciplines. Her PhD thesis focused on the concept of self-mutilation in late nineteenth-century psychiatry, and she is currently expanding this into a ‘History of Self-Harm’ (to be published 2016). She has also worked for Bethlem Museum of the Mind and runs the exhibition and events programme at the Royal College of Nursing. She tweets as @kentishscribble

This is an open meeting – all are welcome – including service users, SLaM employees, psychiatry trainees, and members of the public

Crisps and wine provided.

Speaker meeting: “Blake as prophet” Tuesday 7th April, 6pm Seminar room 1, IoPPN
March 30, 2015, 9:40 pm
Filed under: Art












Upcoming Art of Psychiatry meeting

Tuesday 7th April, 6pm Seminar room 1, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience Denmark Hill London

“Blake as prophet” with Professor David Bindman

After a quiet patch we have a number of Art of Psychiatry meetings planned and details of these will follow shortly.

Please join us on April 7 for our first meeting of this year.  (Apologies for only one week’s notice)

William Blake (1757-1827) is a seminal figure in the history of the poetry and visual arts.  Blake claimed that he has seen an angel in a tree at Peckham Rye, leading to speculation that his imagination is more vivid than reality and some of his contemporaries doubted his sanity. Viewing his works can provide insight into mental states that may be otherwise elusive to psychiatrists.

In this talk entitled “Blake as prophet”, Prof David Bindman will explore the intentions behind Blake’s prophetic works, and his apocalyptic ambitions. It will focus particularly on Jerusalem and its illustrations, and talk about the short poem of the same name, that was not part of the larger work.

David Bindman is Emeritus Professor of the History of Art at University College London. He was educated at Oxford, Harvard and the Courtauld Institute. Professor Bindman has taught and lectured extensively, and has held fellowships at international institutes, such as the Getty Institute and the Du Bois Institute at Harvard. He is a noted scholar on Blake, writing the introductory text to William Blake: The Complete Illuminated Books.  His recent interest has turned to the representation of non-Europeans in Western art, culminating in the book Ape to Apollo: Aesthetics and the Idea of Race in the Eighteenth Century.

All are welcome (general public, medical and non-medical).  Wine and snacks provided.

Mary Barnes at the Nunnery Gallery
March 30, 2015, 9:31 am
Filed under: Art

Boo Bah PV











The Nunnery Gallery at Bow is currently showing paintings and drawings by Mary Barnes.  Barnes took an unusual route to becoming an artist: most of the works on show were created whilst Barnes was a resident at Kingsley Hall, an experimental therapeutic community founded by counter-cultural psychiatrist R.D. Laing.  On her death, Barnes bequeathed much of her collection to her therapist and friend, Dr Joseph Berke, and her nickname for him: “Boo-Bah” is the title of the show.  This is the first major show of her works since the 2010 retrospective at SPACE Studios.

Born in 1923, Barnes joined the British Army during World War II and subsequently worked as a nurse in Frankfurt and London.  She suffered her first breakdown in 1952 and was diagnosed with Schizophrenia. She contacted Laing in 1963, after reading his seminal book “The Divided Self”.  She felt that Laing could help her and her brother Peter who was also diagnosed with the same disorder. Initially, she saw Laing for regular session.  Then between 1965 and 1970, she became a patient of Berke and joined Kingsley Hall, a patient-centred, non-institutional and non-interventionist therapeutic community.  In Kingsley Hall, she was encouraged to regress to an infantile like state; she squealed, refused to dress or wash, was fed from a bottle and slept naked in a wooden chest.
Around the same time, Mary started to paint the walls with her own faeces. “My first paintings were black breasts over the walls of the Hall”, recalled Mary in 1969.  Then one day, “Joe gave me a tin of grease crayons. ‘Here, just scribble’. I did, on and on.  Suddenly, a picture emerged, a woman kneeling with a baby to her breast”. From the crayon scribbles, she developed finger-painting and vivid oil paintings. It is these paintings that are now on view at the Nunnery Gallery.

The works on display range from composed, figurative painting to large-scale psychedelic works, with nature and religious symbols as a constant motif.  A rusty trunk stands in the middle of the gallery, with drawings sprawling out. This creates a sense of urgency, epitomising the importance of the creative process in Mary’s journey through madness. Because so much is known about Mary’s life, it can be difficult at times to consider her paintings without imaging her state of mind.  The curator has chosen not to label or date her works, allowing us to form our own conclusions. We are free to respond emotionally to the raw energy of her works.  Texts from Mary’s writings are often intersected with her paintings, creating a sense of an on going dialogue between the viewers and Mary.  Laing once wrote, “Rilke [early 20th century poet] wrote of “ the other side of nature”.  Mary gives us the “other side of the flesh”.”

”Boo-Bah” also contains contextual items, such as photos of Barnes visiting doctors and patients in Sweden.  You can listen to an audio extract of a BBC radio play Barnes co-wrote by David Edgar.  Berke quotes David Edgar in his epilogue on Mary’s website, “When Mary died, several people asked, as if in an afterthought, if she was cured. Certainly, Mary was able to undertake those practical life tasks that were beyond her in madness. But she was never and could never, be cured in the sense of returned to normal. Still passionate, intense, demanding, and self-obsessed, she was also generous, funny and kind. It was a privilege to tell her story.”

This exhibition is a wonderful exhibition of Mary Barnes’ creative outputs at Kingsley Hall.

Cancelled: Screening of “The Arbor” followed by Q&A with director Clio Barnard. 6pm 17 February Wolfson Lecture Theatre IoPPN
February 1, 2015, 10:40 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
the arbor
Update 8 February 2015
Unfortunately due to unforseen circumstance we have had to cancel this event.  We are sorry for any disappointment or inconvenience caused.  We will post details of upcoming meetings in due course. 
Upcoming Art of Psychiatry Society meeting held in colloration with the Maudsley film club

Screening of film The Arbor (2010) followed by Q&A with director Clio Barnard.

Tuesday 17th February 2015 at 6pm in The Wolfson Lecture Theatre, Institute of Psychiatry Psychology and Neuroscience

Please join us for a film screening and Q&A of The Arbor (2010) on Tuesday 17th February 2015 at 6pm in The Wolfson Lecture Theatre, IoPPN.

We are thrilled that the writer and director, Clio Barnard, recently awarded the inaugural Wellcome Trust and BFI Screenwriting Fellowship, will be joining us to discuss her original and moving film following the screening.The Arbor is an experimental documentary on the life of the playwright Andrea Dunbar and meditation on memory and family relationships.Andrea Dunbar grew up on one of the roughest estates in Bradford but against the odds, wrote three plays, all produced at The Royal Court, including “Rita, Sue and Bob Too” (later made into a successful film). She was on the brink of major success but drinking heavily and sadly died of a brain haemorrhage in a public house aged just 29. She was survived by three children.Barnard explores her extraordinary life and legacy using actors lip synching real interviews with her children, archive footage of Dunbar, and restaged excerpts from her plays on the estate where she lived. They reveal the subsequent impact on her children and show how different their experiences and memories of the same events can be.Trailer for the film: