Mental Illness

Friday May 31st 2013

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The forum explored the topic of mental illness from an interdisciplinary perspective.

In particular, participants looked at varying representations of mental illness in Psychology, History, Literature and Art.

As part of the discussion they explored the development of the concept of madness, representations of mental illness in antiquity, the role of repressed instincts and desires in causing or constituting mental illness and the connection between mental illness and artistic creativity.

The Prinzhorn Collection consists of paintings from the psychiatric patients of the German psychologist and art historian Hans Prinzhorn.

Many of these patients, whose illnesses included schizophrenia and manic depression, produced unsettling images through which, it seems we witness the products of a process of exercising internal demons.

The collection offered some insight into the mind of the mentally ill and it prompted questions about the relationship between mental illness and creativity as well as questions on the role of art as a therapeutic tool.

For further information on this forum please contact Akosua Bonsu


9.30 - 9.45
Tea / Coffee
9.45 - 10.00
10.00 - 11.00

Session One

Jo Wolff (Professor, Philosophy):

Social Justice and the Distribution of Mental Illness

Colette Vesey (PhD candidate, European Studies):

The Voice of Reason in a Deranged Society: on representation of the intellectual

11.00 - 12.00

Session Two

Joanna Wilson (MSc candidate, Comparative Literature):

Passive Objects and Active Subjects

Keith Cheung (MA candidate, English):

Human All Too Human: The Strange Case of Sylvia Plath

Marie Markwardt (MA candidate,  Comparative Literature):

Is Transmission of Suffering Through Literature Possible?

12.00 - 1.00
Sandwich lunch - provided by FIGS
1.00 - 2.00

Session Three

Emily Lord-Kambitsch (PhD candidate, Greek and Latin Studies):

Emotions, Mental Illness, and Marginalisation in Imperial Rome

John Foot (Professor, Modern Italian History):

Negated Institutions: The anti-asylum movement in Italy 1961 - 1972

Kaye McLelland (PhD candidate, English):

'Would You Not Think Them Ridiculously Mad?': Mental Illness and Faith in Post-Reformation England

2.00 - 3.15

Session Four

Jillian Craigie  (Senior Research Fellow, Philosophy):

Neurodiversity, Mental Incapacity and Forced Treatment

Maarten Steenhagen (PhD candidate, Philosophy):

Brain Disruption and Imagined People

Sushrut Jadhav (Senior Lecturer, Cross Cultural Psychiatry):

Clinical Erasures

3.15 - 3.45
Tea / Coffee Break
3.45 - 4.30

Session Five

Belinda Edith Stojanovic (PhD candidate, Hebrew and Jewish Studies):

Exploring the Concept of Mental Illness

Mererid Puw Davies (Senior Lecturer,Germany):

Illness and Capital are the Same Thing

4.30 - 4.50

Session Six

Errol Francis (Lecturer, Slade School of Fine Art):

The madness of the artist: from genius to creative

4.50 - 5.20
Summary Discussion 
5.20 - 7.00
Drinks reception

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