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Bethlem and Beyond Week update

By January 14, 2015 No Comments
Meeting the Shrinks
For our first event as part of the Psych section’s ‘Bethlem and Beyond’ week we were joined by an impressive nine psychiatrists. All from different sub-specialties and all keen to talk (and talk they did – five minutes proved a tough time limit to keep to!) to medical students about why they love psychiatry. Hearing from such a diverse range of psychiatrists made for a fascinating evening…
But don’t take our word for it check out our video from the evening on Facebook to see for yourselves!
To Bethlem we go!
Having heard all about the fascinating career psychiatry offers an intrepid few embarked on journey to discover more about the history of psychiatry and of the link between art and mental health. Arriving at the Royal Bethlem hospital, historically the first asylum in England and the reason ‘Bedlam’ became a synonym for chaotic madness; we were impressed by the beautiful grounds and the vast size of the hospital.
Proceeding to the cosy ‘Museum of the Mind’ attached to the hospital we attended a talk about one of the museum’s more famous artists Louis Wain. We heard about his struggles in early life – after his father’s death he was required to support his mother and five sisters… difficult in his chosen profession as an artist. Eventually, though, Wain made a name for himself becoming famous for his paintings of cats which appeared in children’s books, magazines and postcards. In his later years Wain was admitted to an asylum and was believed to have suffered from schizophrenia. The talk focused upon the change in his work during this period – the cats become more stylised and abstract. Some have seen this change as representing a decline in Wain’s mental state. Others disagree seeing simply greater experimentation and use of colour rather than a deterioration.
Following this fascinating talk we were able to explore the small gallery including several striking pieces of artwork from artists who have suffered with mental health problems. Finally we attended the art fair which showcased artwork from current patients at Bethlem hospital which included paintings, drawings and sculptures.
All in all it was a wonderful outing – check out some of the photos from the day on our Facebook page