Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


UCL Special Collections Visiting Fellow Lecture: R.D. Laing and the 1960s and 70s Underground Press

12:30 pm to 2:15 pm, 13 August 2019

photograph of adrian chapman, special collections visiting fellow

Underground Psychiatry: R.D. Laing, Radical Psychiatry and the 1960s and 70s Underground Press Dr. Adrian Chapman, UCL Special Collections Visiting Fellow

Event Information

Open to





UCL Special Collections


IAS Common Ground
South Wing, Wilkins Building
United Kingdom

UCL Special Collections are delighted to collaborate with UCL Institute Of Advanced Studies for this summer’s Rare-Books Club lecture, to be given by Dr. Adrian ChapmanUCL Special Collections’ first Visiting Fellow.

50 years ago, "alternative media" meant mainly the underground press, and It (International Times), Oz, Friends and Ink were the most prominent UK underground publications of the 1960s and early 70s. They reflected and—perhaps even more so—constructed what in their time was usually known as the "underground" and sometimes called "the alternative society." Frequently irreverent, provocative and amusing, and often graphically innovative, It, Oz, Friends and Ink covered an eclectic range of material. Common topics included the hippie lifestyle; rock music and experimental culture; sex and drugs; censorship; education; politics and international affairs; the environment; healthy eating; ley lines and flying saucers; industrial conflict; Ireland; and black, women's and gay liberation—quite a mixture!

Dr. Chapman will focus on another long-standing underground press interest: radical psychiatry. R. D. Laing (1927-89) was one of the underground's "elder statesmen." His critiques of psychiatric oppression, the family and normative sexuality, and promotion of experimental lifestyles, alternative education and consciousness expansion made him dear to the alternative society. As the current UCL Special Collections Visiting Fellow, he will be drawing on UCL Special Collections' wealth of underground press holdings to investigate the relationship between Laingian psychiatry and the underground. This current project follows on from Dr. Chapman’s work supported by the Wellcome Trust and University of Glasgow that has so far resulted in publication on Laing's Kingsley Hall experimental community and on David Cooper, a colleague of Laing.

UCL Rare Books Club

This lecture is part of the UCL Rare Books Club summer series. UCL Rare Books Club meets on Tuesdays throughout the summer. Come by, whether you’re starting out on a research project, would like to meet other researchers, or have a specific query about an item in UCL Special Collections, or just want to see some beautiful items during the lunch break. The remaining sessions are as follows:

20 August – Mediaeval scientific manuscripts
27 August – new acquisitions at UCL Special Collections
3 September – C20th Small Press publications
10 September – Neo-Latin scientific books

All the above sessions run in the Special Collections Reading Room (South Junction basement, Wilkins Building, UCL)

About the Speaker

Dr Adrian Chapman has been appointed UCL Special Collections' first Visiting Fellow. The Fellowship programme is an opportunity for external researchers to visit UCL to conduct research on a topic centred on the UCL Special Collections holdings. Dr Chapman holds a PhD from UCL, and currently teaches at Florida State University. He has published extensively on psychiatry and the counterculture of the 1960s.