Carl Jung kept visual diaries documenting his personal struggles with mental illness, and Jungian analysis to this day encourages patients to document their dreams using imagery. This year’s IR symposium takes Jung’s ‘Red Book’ as a key text and asks how illustration can be used to depict, explain and help understand mental illness and related issues such as wellbeing, happiness, cognition, confusion, dreams and dementia.
A key question is how can illustration represent the inner workings of the mind, through creating visual narratives that draw upon personal and collective experience of the world. A related question is how does illustration articulate complex emotional and perceptual experience, alongside and beyond spoken and written language?How can illustration – as an activity as well as its place in popular visual culture – address these issues?
We are living at a time where image culture has saturated every aspect of our lives. There has been an equivalent explosion in mental health issues for young people. What part does illustration play in exacerbating or alleviating mental health problems by contributing to popular image culture?
GPs now prescribe creative activities as part of a government drive towards ‘arts for health’, and this has resulted in a boom in artist led services to a diverse demographic. What ethical issues should creative practitioners be aware of when working in this field? How can illustrators lead the agenda for mental health policy making?
We invited 300 word proposals for 20 minute presentations and submissions for an accompanying exhibition that address (but are not confined to) the following themes:
The use of illustration to depict mental health issues, for instance the use of visual metaphors and clichés
Graphic memoirs, autobiographical graphic novels on the subject of mental health
historical depictions of mental health, for example folkloric demons and medieval psychomachia
Medical illustrations of mental health conditions
Trauma illustrated / unlocking trauma
The use of illustration in art therapy
The pitfalls and ethics of illustrating other people's stories
Co-produced illustration with those with lived experience of mental health issues
Illustration as self-help, colouring books, visualisation exercises
Craft, illustration and making for wellbeing
Illustration that enables children to understand mental health issues
Illustrators working with adults with dementia
How can images help when language has left the body?
Narratives of the unconscious; psychoanalytic approaches to illustration
Archetypes in storytelling and myth as metaphor for psychological dynamics
Does contemporary image culture contribute to mental distress?
The pathologised imagination – art produced in medical or institutional contexts
For Presentation Proposals:
The deadline for presentation proposals was 5th July 2019. We are reviewing proposals throughout July 2019 and hope to send a response to those who submitted by August 2019.
For Exhibition Proposals:
The deadline for exhibition proposals was 5th July 2019. We are reviewing proposals throughout July 2019 and hope to send a response to those who submitted by August 2019.
To find out more:
Visit the Illustration Research Website