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Event to explore hidden mental health histories

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Whittingham Hospital main entrance - permission from G Speight

Former Whittingham Asylum is catalyst for free public study day

A thought-provoking day of events to explore the hidden histories of mental health care through the lens of the former Whittingham Asylum is taking place.

Heritage and medical humanities experts, mental health survivor groups and artists will share their current research and creative responses to the archival heritage of the former mental health hospital, near Preston.

The study day will also showcase alternative ways of taking ownership and representing mental health history to uncover positive and alternative futures for those using services today.

'Hidden Histories: Alternative Futures' will see Professor Geoffrey Reaume, from York University in Toronto, deliver a workshop on the Toronto Psychiatric Survivors Archive and a keynote speech. It will culminate with a public screening of a documentary film of the hospital made in 1975 by Ray Gosling.

The two-year community project to focus on the history and legacy of Whittingham Asylum is really starting to uncover some fascinating things. This event is a great way to show the public what we’ve done so far and what we’re looking to investigate more.

Dr Mick McKeown, reader in democratic mental health at UCLan, said: “The two-year community project to focus on the history and legacy of Whittingham Asylum is really starting to uncover some fascinating things. This event is a great way to show the public what we’ve done so far and what we’re looking to investigate more.”

The free event, which is Whittingham Lives Association's response to World Mental Health Day, is taking place on Thursday, 12 October, at the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) 53 Degrees.

Whittingham Lives is a two-year multi-faceted arts and heritage project aimed at researching, exploring, celebrating and critically reviewing the culture and legacy of Whittingham Asylum, which was open from 1873 to 2016. Its central aim is to provoke critical thinking and public debate about mental health in today’s society – reflecting on the past in the Present to make a better future.

For more information please visit www.whittinghamlives.org.uk and book on to the event via EventBrite.

Rachel Atkinson | 06 October 2017