Monday, October 6, 2014

Ivor Browne at DIT, 6pm, Wednesday 17th December 2014

public lecture series 2014-15
The Construction of Madness | Knowledge

A Public Conversation with 
Prof. Ivor Browne and 
Dr. Ciaran Smyth

6pm Wednesday 17th December 2014
RD005, Rathdown House, School of Creative Arts
Dublin Institute of Technology, Grangegorman, Dublin 7

As part of our ongoing reflections on Grangegorman as the new campus for the DIT, we have invited two speakers who will reflect on their experiences as clinical practitioners and whose perspectives are marked by a critique of the psychiatric institution. Dr. Ivor Browne is a well known psychiatrist who worked for many years in Grangegorman where he oversaw the process of deinstitutionalisation and introduced new forms of community-based recovery. Dr. Ciaran Smyth is co-founder of the interdisciplinary arts and research platform Vagabond Reviews. In his previous capacity as a psychologist he worked in the field of psychiatric rehabilitation and collaborated with Ivor Browne on developing alternatives to traditional models of psychiatric recovery.

Dr. Ivor Browne: Ivor Browne is Professor Emeritus, University College, Dublin and retired as Chief Psychiatrist of the then Eastern Health Board in 1994. Over the last four decades, he has been a central and controversial figure in Irish life up until the mid-nineties when he retired. Part of this was his fearless opposition to orthodox psychiatry.As a young man he was given a fellowship to Harvard University where he studied Public and Community Mental Health. He returned to Ireland determined to put what he had learned into practice and it was his initiative which took the care of mental patients away from large institutions into the community. Recent books include Ivor Browne: Music and Madness (2009) and The Writings of Ivor Browne: Steps along the road, the evolution of a slow learner (2013) both published by Cork University Press.
Ciaran Smyth: Smyth works with Ailbhe Murphy as Vagabond Reviews <> an interdisciplinary platform combining socially engaged art and research practice. Upcoming projects in 2015 include Temporary Institute for the Study of Contemporary Symbolic Violence for Workhouse Union, a project by Hollie Kearns and Rosie Lynch. Current work includes Scientia Civitatis: Missing Titles for the exhibition Phoenix Rising, Art and the Civic Imagination curated by Logan Sisley and currently on exhibition at the Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery. Ciaran was awarded his PhD in 2004 from the Department of Sociology at University College Dublin. His research there combined an ethnography of a contemporary public psychiatric system with a post-structuralist analysis of mental medicine in its community-based mode of operations. In the 1990s Ciaran developed the CAMUS Project in collaboration with Prof. Ivor Browne. The CAMUS Project was formulated as an emancipatory educational alternative to traditional rehabilitation programmes for those recovering from a first hospitalisation.


in|discussion The Construction of Madness | KnowledgeThe Graduate School of Creative Arts and Media (GradCAM), the School of Art, Design and Printing and the School of Languages, Law and Social Sciences, together recognize the importance of the history of the new site in Grangegorman and are organizing a series of public interventions to prompt reflection and discussion.
In recent times many public buildings have been re-purposed from the austere institutions they once were.  The new Art School in Limerick, for instance, was a Magdalene Laundry and the Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology was once a Reform School. These public buildings reflect the disciplinary and carceral regimes of a near past that has been air-brushed by generations of reform.  The new Grangegorman Campus is one such venture that seeks to transform, repurpose and regenerate the local area.
So the Grangegorman site is more than a resolution to accommodation problems. We would like to take the opportunity to mark the move and transformations in a way that draws attention to the site itself: the setting, the history, the architecture, and the institution that continues to operate there. It offers a moment to reflect on the deeply embedded social and psychic meanings, memories and materialised practices much of which may have been obscured by the design and architectural interventions in the renovation conducted on the site.  As an educational institution, the developments seeks to turn an inward-looking enclosed site to face the city and the immediate community that will render its previous purpose to history: this history also needs to be opened out rather than shut in.  Further, the aim then is to frame and address it as a significant feature of our all too recent collective experience which continues to resonate in the everyday lives of the wider community.
The first of these interventions will hear from a number of invited scholars and public figures who can speak to the site, the institution, its practices, the architecture, its histories, its significance and meaning in the development of the State and the communities within and outside Grangegorman.  We are also conscious that this needs to be a public exchange and debate not least to inform but also to stimulate further discussion around institutions, policies and general mental health issues and wellbeing.

in|discussion is a forum on contemporary issues and current research in art, design, and material culture. Updates on the lecture series at:

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