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Situating States of Mind

The cross-period and interdisciplinary research of this theme seeks to interpret states of mind from the eighteenth century to the twenty-first. Our research asks how the space, place and historical context in which mental states are experienced shaped the narratives produced by individuals. Interweaving perspectives from the disciplines of history, medical history, art history, literature and creative writing, the research interests within this theme encompass dreams and sleep-walking; the experience and representation of mental illness, disease and disability; cognition and the relationship between self-awareness and place. We explore how these varying states of consciousness are expressed and managed in a variety of formats, and how these narratives are influenced by historical change, continuity or the reconfiguration of these forms of expression. The contexts and cultures in which subjective expression and professional assessment of varying states of mind intersect is an important aspect of research within this theme as it is this cross-section that influences negotiation and classification of states of mind at a clinical and an artistic level. Public engagement with community groups, clinical practitioners and service users is, therefore, a key factor of the collaborative work undertaken by members of this group. 

Contributers to the Situating States of Mind research theme actively organise and promote research activities and public engagement programmes as a means of collaborating with scholars from various disciplines and other institutions to foster a broader understanding of states of consciousness.  We are involved in organising a wide range of activities to reflect our interdisciplinarity, conferences, workshops, conference panels, invited guest speakers, poetry readings, art exhibitions and performance art shows.