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EMBO paper shows how music and science join forces to explore mental ill health
A multi-media production with a musical narrative set in the day room of a psychiatric hospital, Inside a Quiet Mind brought together Cambridge Neuroscientists and mental health service users to perform side by side, in this way breaking conventional barriers that exist between the two groups. The show took performers and the audience outside their comfort zones to confront their prejudices and learn more about what it is like to have mental illness, how it feels to be on medication or to be hospitalised, and what is involved in the study of the brain.
The production was devised by Squeaky Gate, a music education charity specialising in mental health, working in collaboration with its students, many of whom have experienced mental health issues, and with researchers and clinicians at Cambridge Neuroscience. It took place at Pembroke College and played to a packed audience totalling 400 people as part of the 2011 Cambridge Science Festival. The ethos of the show was inclusive and experimental with the audience encouraged to ask questions and engage with the issues raised. The performance was intercut with short presentations by scientists working on different areas of neuroscience that will contribute to a better grasp of mental illness and eventually lead to the development of improved treatments.
"Dr Critchlow has recently joined the the multi award-winning Naked Scientists group (http://www.thenakedscientists.com), who are based at the University of Cambridge where they produce science and medicine radio programmes and podcasts that are broadcast internationally, including UK-wide on the BBC. In 2011 the Naked Scientists secured a Wellcome Trust Society award to develop "Naked Neuroscience", a travelling science stage show and podcast that will target schools and the general public, introducing audiences to the neurological clockwork of the brain. It is to this project that Hannah is now lending her neuroscientific expertise. She also continues to work with Squeaky Gate and can be found flocking like a bird (a form of dance) with the students at the Squeaky Gate Monday evening workshops".
Adapted from article written by Alex Burton from the University of Cambridge Communications department.
Posted on 13/01/2012
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