How do we? Why do we?

Art. Discussion. Tea. 
Saturday 29th September 
Bethlem Gallery

This event is free and open to everyone but, because of limited capacity, please rsvp at:

3-4pm – Art in action around the Bethlem site.

Bethlem Wood Library will be inviting participants to join them in making on site. For the last 10 years Bethlem Wood Library has been investigating the potential of the hospital site as a resource for all. They will be undertaking a year-long project which will focus each month on a specific material or technique. Their work centres on the, often hidden, potential of materials found in abundance here at Bethlem Hospital. A particular material’s context and its singularity come to the forefront through their practice of mapping, plotting and surveying the larger picture and combining that with their detailed, intricate recording of the material’s minute properties. Each object becomes relatable, defined by its singularity and its context; the site on which it is found considered afresh.

Mr X will be sharing some of his temporary cardboard structures in the hospital grounds. Repeatedly modified, they document the endless process of adjustment that occurs as the individual calculates and recalibrates his relationship to the institution. The structure is simultaneously a form of escape, a hiding place, a filter, a second-skin – an alternative way of inhabiting the institution but also a reflection and a critique of its spaces and rules. Making this structure is a response to the question: How do I make this space adapt to me when I am constantly being asked to adapt to it?”  

Artist/musician Hannah Hull and Criminologist Dr. Rachel Seoighe will discuss their collaborative work around the controversial closure of Holloway Prison, once the largest women’s prison in Europe. They have been working with photographs of the empty prison and interviews with ex-prisoners/workers undertaken by Islington Heritage. The collaboration resulted in a 6-track EP exploring issues faced by women in prison, two academic papers, and a booklet of poetry and photography. Following the discussion, Hannah will give a live performance of the EP – entitled DIRT – with her band, Burning Salt, accompanied by projections. DIRT is available via and was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). 

4-5:30pm – An inclusive and stimulating discussion in the Wolfson Room, Museum of the Mind.

Join artists from the Mental Health and Justice project and professors Irit Rogoff and Stephen Scrivener, to think about how art-making at Bethlem can be seen as a form of research.