Institutional violence in mental health: collective listening as practice and protest

1st February 2023; 4-5.30pm GMT / 11am–12:30pm EST.

Online (Zoom): booking via Eventbrite.

Join artist, writer and cultural producer Eve Loren for a collective listening workshop inviting creative responses to stories of institutional violence in mental health.

Over three years, Eve led an arts and research project examining the weaponisation of the construct of insight against racialised and minoritised people within mental health services. The project’s first creative work, an audiobook of listening experiments co-created with patients and clinicians, is titled meet me where i am: listening to insights into the mental health system. This workshop will invite you to sit alongside the artist as a listener of a series of short, edited clips from the audiobook, and to produce a piece of creative reflection in a medium of your choice. Together, we’ll explore a diversity of responses to these listening acts, involving our senses, emotions and thoughts, and discuss the factors that affect our ability to listen, as well as the things that remain unhearable within the system. We’ll consider the possibilities of collective listening as art practice and protest, as well as the dangers of tokenism, co-option, exploitation and hungry listening (Robinson, 2020) within and by our institutions. To conclude, we’ll question where our listening acts might take us.

This workshop is open to all, and you don’t need any experience of art making to take part. Please bring along anything that might support you in your listening, and whichever medium you’d like to work with. 

This workshop will be video recorded and live scribed by Merlin Evans, who produced the original illustrations for the audiobook.

About Eve Loren and Merlin Evans:

Eve Loren is an artist, writer and cultural producer with 12+ years’ documentary practice including award-winning work for television, film, theatre and cultural institutions. Eve spent six years managing survivor-led mental health services in hospitals, prisons, the community and online. Witnessing the catastrophic impacts of austerity, institutional racism, misogyny and discrimination in mental healthcare, she turned her practice towards collective listening as a means of examining power, privilege and injustice in the system.

Eve has presented her work throughout the UK, in Europe and the USA, and has consulted internationally on the development of peer-led mental health services. Her current research and practice explores the rise of fascism in Britain and the criminalisation of distress, trauma, unspeakability and revolt. Her latest projects can be found at www.linktr.ee/Eve_Loren and you can follow her on Twitter @Eve_Loren_  

Merlin Evans is an award-winning medical artist, writer, educator and director of Drawn to Medicine and the founder of the online illustration school Inktuition. Merlin’s practice maps and draws the anatomy of the self – the stuff that makes us us. Not just the blood and bones and guts of classical medical textbooks but also the thoughts, emotions and memories that we house. Merlin sees drawing as an act of listening and is committed to using the arts to empower and advocate for patient testimony, placing it at the heart of healthcare service delivery.

Image: from meet me where i am, illustrated by Merlin Evans @Merlin_Draws

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