Museums across the UK and abroad are increasingly engaging with discourses around mindfulness and mental health. More than 600 museums in the UK – almost a quarter – are already running programmes targeting these topics – from activities aiming to improve mental wellbeing, like meditation and yoga classes, to entire exhibitions dedicated to mindfulness. One example is the current And Breathe… exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery, which highlights the museum’s interest in encouraging the public to reflect upon these issues.
Why has mindfulness become increasingly popular in art museums over the last years? Should museums be a place for practising mindfulness and meditation? What does this shift suggest about museums’ social purpose today, and where might this trend lead?
Join us for a panel debate between curators and academics to investigate these questions.
The debate will be followed by a wine reception and an informal discussion.
Dr Rebecca Chamberlain’s research aims to understand artistic expertise and aesthetic perception from a psychological and a neuroscientific point of view. She completed her PhD in psychology at UCL in 2013, followed by a post-doctoral research fellowship in Professor Johan Wagemans’ Gestalt Perception group at KU Leuven in Belgium. In 2017 she joined Goldsmiths as a lecturer in the Department of Psychology.
Fiona Corridan is the Curator of Art and Design at Manchester Art Gallery. Working in the Gallery since 2006, she has organised exhibitions including as True Faith (2017) and Matthew Darbyshire: An Exhibition for Modern Living (2015-2016). She also co-curated And Breathe… together with mental health groups Start in Manchester, Manchester Mind as well as pupils from Charlestown Community Primary School to explore the relationship between art, positive mental health and wellbeing.
Dr Michaela Ross is an artist, curator and visiting lecturer at King’s College, London. Currently, she is working as Research and Development Lead at The Bethlem Gallery, which campaigns for access to the arts in healthcare environments and engage audiences in learning and debate on the subject of mental health and artistic practice. She has collaborated with various museums and galleries including Tate, the Serpentine, the Whitechapel Gallery and Nottingham Contemporary, working on long and short term projects exploring interpretation, knowledge production and the possibilities offered by different forms of public participation.
Dr Carolyn Sargentson is an art historian and former Head of Research at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, with an expertise in eighteenth century French decorative arts. Her public lecturing and academic engagements have included The J. Paul Getty Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Musée du Louvre. She has held residential fellowships at the Getty Research Institute and the Huntington Library. Currently, Dr Sargentson is a Visiting Lecturer at the Courtauld Institute of Art, works as a certified yoga teacher, and leads a consultancy and mentoring business which aims to support change and improve people’s experience of the workplace.