A history of psychiatry project that might interest H-Madness readers:
Bethlem Archives and Museum are through to the public voting stage to win photographer Rankin for a day, as part of the Museums at Night Connect 10 competition. Readers can vote for the project to go ahead by visiting: http://bit.ly/voteBethlem before 28 January.
If we win, we will hold a public workshop focusing on the mid-19th century photographs taken by society photographer Henry Hering. Hering photographed the faces of scores of Bethlem patients, examining the resulting images in order to detect the patients’ mental health conditions through their facial expressions and features. For more on this renowned collection, see: http://bethlemheritage.wordpress.com/tag/hospital-snapshots/page/2/ (please feel free to reproduce one of the images on the blog, credited to The Bethlem Art and History Collections Trust)
Keeping the Hering collection firmly in mind, the Museum plans to work with Rankin to create a new permanent collection of portraits. The project will raise awareness of the extent of mental illness, helping to work away at prejudices by showing that it is not always clear from a person’s appearance that they are unwell.
It would be greatly appreciated if you could help us promote the project and win the public vote!
Dr. Sarah Chaney
UCL Centre for the History of Psychological Disciplines