Switching Perceptions 2018 - Present
Since 2017 I have been collaborating with a neuroscientist and working closely with the Bethlem Royal Hospital (Beckenham) and the Department of Psychiatry (Oxford). Using my visual art practice to invite and enable dialogue about the mind, self, genetics and psychiatry between different communities of people, I have been aiming to soften and open the conversation, to allow for individual and sensitive perspectives, about fundamentally universal aspects of our humanity. By addressing aspects of technological advances in science, I approach the unfamiliar, while maintaining an artistic practice which utilises the handmade, the handwritten and subjective expression.
Dr Liz Tunbridge is an incredibly skilled and unusual scientist who works across many layers - you can appreciate more about her research using this link - https://www.psych.ox.ac.uk/team/elizabeth-tunbridge.
Liz and I have been developing a multi-stranded public engagement project which has been hosted and exhibited at the Bethlem Gallery 5 January - 30 March 2019 and in the Barbican Life Rewired Hub 12 - 20 October 2019. We are delighted to be starting Phase 2 of Switching Perceptions on 18th September in collaboration with the Bethlem Royal Hospital and supported by the Royal Society and Bethlem Gallery. As a grateful recipient of an a-n Artist Bursary 2020, I've been given an opportunity to develop the project - specifically the workshops and engagement - in connection with my wider practice.
The Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford have also been wonderfully welcoming and encouraging of our work together and my individual art practice. In 2019 the Department hosted me as Artist in Residence, and in 2020 they supported me to exhibit my work in their departmental coffee room, acquiring two works from Switching Perceptions for their permanent collection.
Liz and I are also very grateful to the Bethlem Royal Hospital and Gallery, patients and staff from the National Psychosis Unit and for every individual contribution to the Think Tank.
You have enabled this project to become the organic and enduring experience it is today. With particular thanks to Henrietta Webb-Wilson for her continued enthusiasm and help in shaping the project to be of benefit to the patient groups we collaborate with on the ward.
Switching Perceptions has been developed by Eleanor Minney and Dr Liz Tunbridge, C.A.S, Anon, Sam Curtis, James Upton and Beth Elliott.
It is funded by the Royal Society and supported by the University of Oxford’s Public Engagement with Research Seed Fund, with additional support from Bethlem Gallery.
Switching Perceptions has been awarded The Vice-Chancellor's Public Engagement with Research Awards, 2019 and is supported by a bursary from a-n The Artists Information Company, 2020.
Digital Forms of Exhibition Material:
Selected press articles:
Podcast with The Lancet Psychiatry: https://www.thelancet.com/pb-assets/Lancet/stories/audio/lanpsy/2019/TLP_feb_19_Switching_Perceptions-1549650321263.mp3
In Conversation, 2018
Liz: The whole project feels very organic, it just feels like it came out of those early conversations that we had about the research that I do, and then the more philosophical and moral aspects of the work…
Eleanor: Yes, I don’t think either of us had outcomes in mind along the way….did we?
L: No, not to start with.
L: I guess that is where the idea for [Segment of aself] came from, those discussions of to what extent our DNA governs who we are, and to what extent mental health and mental illness is tied up with who we are as individuals…
E: and these switches, and it not being quite so straightforward, well not straightforward in any way… as it might seem.
L: There is that narrative that you see a lot in the media, a gene for this a gene for that, and it is just not like that, it is so much more complicated.
L: Coming from a fairly molecular point of view I tend to think molecules upwards, and I guess that’s probably opposite to most people starting with ‘who am I as an individual?’ and thinking about how you got to be that person, rather than starting the other way around.
E: Hopefully what we have been doing throughout is knitting,
L: Trying to meet in the middle,
E: Trying to meet in the middle, creating this bridge.