Detail of Segment of aself
Think Tank Diagram Response
Detail of Segment of aself

Switching Perceptions

Bethlem Gallery

5th January – 30th March 2019

Open 10am – 5pm Wednesday – Friday. Including first and last Saturdays of the month

Bethlem Gallery is delighted to present Switching Perceptions, a new exhibition by artist Eleanor Minney in collaboration with Professor Liz Tunbridge and patients from the National Psychosis Unit at Bethlem Royal Hospital. In a new body of work spanning textiles, drawing, clay and handwriting, Minney untangles the fragile threads of the human mind through delicate, detailed explorations into what creates a sense of self, and the relationship to psychiatric conditions.

Dissecting the gallery space is Segment of aself, Minney’s four-metre long textile work, featuring two lengths of calico separated by thick wadding. On one side are hundreds of hand drawn ciphers alluding to a person’s holistic sense of self – relationships, spirituality, illness and wellness, home, movement, communication – and on the other side, row upon row of genetic markers with the three that relate to psychotic illness. On the walls of the gallery are smaller textile pieces combining stitch, drawing and natural elements including Calcium channels and Test sample garden, the artist’s explorations of brain, body and environment.

Switching Perceptions also presents work by two patients from the National Psychosis Unit at Bethlem Royal Hospital, with whom Minney has been working for the past three months. The patients have created a series of drawings and text works exploring their own sense of self, belief, faith, feelings and nature. Some are diagrams created around the concept of a think tank, developed by one of the patients as a way of connecting clinicians, academics, patients and other specialists. The think tank will evolve into a public event with Eleanor Minney, Prof. Liz Tunbridge and other specialists to be held during the exhibition.

Switching Perceptions has developed from Eleanor Minney’s two-year collaboration with Liz Tunbridge, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, Medical Sciences Division at the University of Oxford, exploring the question, ‘What creates a sense of self?’. Tunbridge’s ongoing research aims to elucidate the links between genetic heritage and predisposition to schizophrenia, with Minney’s artistic enquiry probing some of the central themes and implications of this challenging meeting between science and subjective human experience.

Switching Perceptions is supported by The Royal Society Public Engagement Fund.

Switching Perceptions Exhibition Guide  download here.

Detail of Segment of aself
Test sample garden


Drawing the Symbols of the self


Saturday 5 January
10:30am- 12:00pm

Bethlem Gallery

Artist Eleanor Minney has been exploring the language of the self in her fabric drawing, and in her work with a group on the National Psychosis Unit. Join Eleanor in contemplating the shapes and symbols that represent ourselves, and draw with pen or stitch onto cotton calico squares. Talk with Eleanor about her process and themes, and develop your own.   BOOK HERE

Collaging Personality Postcards


Saturday 2 February
10:30am – 12:00pm

Bethlem Gallery

Inspired by the text-based works that Eleanor and Liz created with patients on the National Psychosis Unit, join us to develop personality postcards or pieces of experimental writing using words cut from second-hand books. BOOK HERE

Neuroscientist in Residence


Saturday 2 March
10:30am – 12:00pm

Bethlem Gallery

In this workshop we will have Professor Liz Tunbridge with us, as well as a selection of human brain tissue samples, slides and neuron imagery. Join us for gentle drawing exercises inspired by the scientific specimens, as well as an opportunity to ask Liz your science related questions! BOOK HERE

Think Tank


Thursday 21 March

5pm – 7pm

Bethlem Gallery

Join artist Eleanor Minney, Professor Liz Tunbridge, clinicians, occupational therapists and others involved in the mental health care system for the Think Tank to explore some of the central questions and provocations from the exhibition. The Think Tank concept was initiated by C.A.S. during workshops on the National Psychosis Unit and Eleanor and Liz understand it as a space in which people come together to have conversations – to share and to listen, contribute or observe, write or speak or draw. We invite a range of people – professors, the public, artists, care professionals… it is as much about relationships as it is about individuals.

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