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Art speaks to and from silence

Art speaks to and from silence

Continuing my conversation with artists Finuala and Sean, we talked about using art to bring public attention to difficult and hidden areas of mental illness. I found it fascinating how Finuala talks about using surprise, humour, and the unexpected to catch her audience’s attention. For her art is a place from which one can speak about what is silenced and unmentioned, so that art can speak to the reticence and stigma around mental illness. In her words art ‘speaks from the silence’.

Sean talks about how he uses music and images and different voices to ‘dislocate’ the audience’s senses, so that the audience broaden and deepen their response to mental illness. Key to the central concern of this course, the Medical Humanities, Sean emphasises that the stigma and silence surrounding mental illness is really one of the biggest burdens for those experiencing mental illness. So art, like Sean’s musical creation, can help bring about a more understanding and empathetic response to mental illness.

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Medicine and the Arts: Humanising Healthcare

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