The Bartlett School of Architecture


The Social Invisibility of Mental Health Facilities

6 December 2016


‘The social invisibility of mental health facilities’ is a multi-disciplinary project, involving the Bartlett, the Division of Psychiatry and the Slade School. It comprises an art exhibition comparing healthcare vs mental health facilities of the same area, raising awareness of the inequality and social exclusion through a visual, multimedia perspective. This comparison of the mental health facilities of an inner-city part, literally surrounds Jeremy Bentham’s auto-icon in a panoptic way, to the rest of the healthcare provision both in terms of access, condition and status compared to their surroundings. The exhibits will be created from both art and architectural schools postgraduate students. The exhibition will take place inside UCL, close to Bentham’s auto-icon, demonstrating inverse links between his Panopticon, and the concealment/invisibility that NIMBYism produces towards the mentally ill that resulted in their exclusion, within deprived, under-funded, isolated facilities “in the community”.

So far, the research on social exclusion and institutionalisation at the Division of Psychiatry and the Bartlett has not been combined neither through a joined research proposal nor as a message to society. The exhibition with the satellite actions, i.e., the mapping of facilities, the book and the paper, as well as actions that might follow as a result such as a more extensive research project and a white paper with a potential future collaboration with UCL policy, could set the outline of a path for integrated research in the near future but it is through the co-operation with the Slade School of art, a school that has an excellent trail of work on healthcare and institutions, that it could strengthen the communication of the message to society. Moreover, art might provide new insights and visual interpretation to the subject of stigma, fueling with questions the existing research streams of the architect and the psychiatrist.


This project is funded by UCL Grand challenges small grant 2016-17.

Dr Evangelia Chrysikou is the Principal Investigator of the project Planning and Evaluation Methodologies for Mental Healthcare Buildings (PEMETH). Her research is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska – Curie Grant Agreement No 658244.


Dr Evangelia Chrysikou
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Dr Naaheed Mukadam

Additional UCL Collaborators

Sarah Pickering (Slade School of Art)

Professor Glyn Lewis (From UCL Division of Psychiatry)

Ava Fatah gen Schieck (From Bartlett School of Architecture)

External Collaborators

· Camden & Islington NHS Trust

· Noclor Research Support NHS



An exhibition which will cover an area of London (UCL/Camden catchment area), providing architectural and planning evidence of stigma and social injustice, which could be exported to a larger study around London or comparison between several areas of the UK or Europe.


The proposal increases the awareness of general public on social injustice, stigma and mental health. It combats NIMBYism and supports the fairer allocation of resources and placement of health facilities. Yet, where it aims most, is to put pressure stakeholders involved in the NHS decision making by demonstrating at a glance through the map and art exhibits the outcome of the comparison


UCL and the Bartlett strengthen their links with the local community, NHS trusts and Noclor, important for Bartlett research on healthcare. Moreover, it connects two parallel UCL streams (psychiatry and psychiatric architecture). By fostering potential collaborations between the Bartlett and the Medical school, UCL supports the medical architecture stream, an area that no other university could easily build in London. It also creates a unique global niche for UCL, in this upcoming sector.

It also increases the awareness of the architectural students, in accordance with the broader direction of the Bartlett that aims to create a more evidence-oriented and socially responsible generation of young architects.

As far as the researcher’s development is concerned, co-operation with researchers using other methodologies and ways of addressing issues provides new insights to individual work-streams and cultivates path of mutual respect.


  • Publication of key findings on journals of healthcare architecture, psychiatry, or arts in healthcare.
  • Multi-disciplinary tutoring – psychiatric, medical architecture and arts frameworks-- to students of art / architecture.
  • Novel methodologies and techniques, from architecture and planning –mapping of facilities and connection to transport network-- to research social exclusion and stigma.
  • New partnerships between medical architects, psychiatrists (first time at UCL) and artists.
  • Outcome of pilot study (exhibition) as a basis for further grant-supported work, open to public, social media and stakeholders
  • Presentation of the project to partners of EC Commitment on AHA