10-03-2020

Dear World Project Exhibition – Exploring mental health, its diagnoses and labels

Dear World Project Exhibition – Exploring mental health, its diagnoses and labels through nine interactive artworks co-produced by artists and neuroscientists

In February 2020, an exhibition was launched showcasing nine artworks which explored mental health, its diagnoses, and associated labels. The multi-media exhibition forms part of the ‘Dear World Project’ – an art-science collaboration which explores the labels often used to describe thoughts and feelings.

Approximately one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. In England, one in six people report experiencing a common mental health problem such as anxiety and depression in any given week. Many people affected by mental ill-health often find themselves either associating themselves with labels, or having labels associated with them by others. This can be helpful or damaging, and this project explores the diversity of labels and how they are used.

Since 2018, the Dear World Project has run pop-ups at festivals including Latitude, inviting people to write on a postcard entitled ‘Dear World’, and include a summary of their thoughts and feelings. Insights that emerged from this initiative encouraged a second project phase, focussing on the mental health research being carried out within the Centre.

Over six months, scientists from the UCL Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging and the Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry, were paired with artists to share their perspectives, expertise and approaches through a series of workshops. The culmination of these workshops were nine diverse artworks which took a multitude of forms from interactive installations to glass blown sculptures and a film.

Julia Vogl, the exhibition’s Curator and London-based artist, said: “Throughout Dear World Project workshops, artists and scientists had to learn each other’s languages – which so clearly illustrated the abstract nature of labels. One term can bring two perspectives together or be interpreted completely differently. This multi-media experiential exhibition highlights both the empowerment and dangers of listing conditions as one term.”

Alongside the exhibition, there was a programme of 20 events which included a Mental Health Comedy Night, Mental Health Awareness Seminar and a range of stress-busting workshops. These events encouraged a diverse audience to visit the exhibition and share their thoughts and feelings around mental health.

Dear World Project brought neuroscientist and artist together to learn the value’s in each other’s processes, and encouraged true collaboration through a supportive and creative setting created by the core team.

The project was funded by the Centre’s Public Engagement Grant. Click below to learn more about the project and see the different artworks created.

See more about Dear World Project

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