The Fragile Phallus

Freud Museum London

1st July 2018 | 9:00AM

The latest string of sexual assault and harassment scandals invites critical reflection into the structure of masculinity.

While much of the media focus has been on abuses of power, popular responses such as the #MeToo movement have emphasised the everydayness of sexual harassment, shifting the focus to masculinity as such.

Psychoanalysis has long held that masculinity is not a biological given, nor is it simply the sum total of patriarchal values operating on an individual. Rather, it is characterised by a peculiar, fraught and anxious relation to the psychical emblem known as ‘the phallus’.

How might psychoanalysis enrich popular notions of ‘fragile’ and ‘toxic’ masculinity?

This conference brings together perspectives from psychoanalysis and beyond to bring out some of these troubling (and troubled) dimensions of the subjective structure popularly known as ‘masculinity’.

RCN LATE: Beat the Bugs!

Royal College of Nursing Library & Heritage Centre

2nd July 2018 | 6:00PM

To launch the AIDS Histories and Cultures Festival, join us for an evening of games, activities and displays. Find out how quickly viruses can spread in a set of interactive activities, explore archive collections, play infection themed games and make your own AIDS quilt in memory of those who have lived and died with HIV/AIDS.
Free event with pay bar. In partnership with the Raphael Samuel History Centre.


‘Endings, Loss and Grief’ with Julian Barnes

Freud Museum London

3rd July 2018 | 7:00PM

The final event in the series of talks ‘On Loss and Creativity’, which coincide with the exhibition Breathe by artists Fay Ballard and Judy Goldhill.

Julian Barnes – Winner of 2011 Man Booker Prize and author of Nothing to Be Frightened Of – in conversation with Jon Stokes

Julian Barnes has written movingly about his personal experiences of loss and grief in Levels of Life and in Nothing to Be Frightened Of, a memoir on mortality that touches on faith and science and family as well as a rich array of exemplary figures who over the centuries have confronted the same questions he now poses about the most basic fact of life: its inevitable extinction. He will talk about his attitude to death and what brought him to write these two books.

“He reveals crystalline truths that have taken a lifetime to harden”
New York Times

Barnes’ writing has earned him considerable respect as an author who deals with the themes of history, reality, truth and love. He has received several awards and honours for his writing, including the 2011 Man Booker Prize for The Sense of an Ending. Three other of his novels were shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize – Flaubert’s ParrotEngland, England and Arthur & George. Garrison Keillor described Nothing to be Frightened Of as “a beautiful and funny book, still booming in my head.”

The series will be chaired by Jon Stokes, Clinical Psychologist and Psychotherapist, Senior Fellow Oxford University; former Chair, Adult Department Tavistock Clinic.

Dreams: The Unconscious Revealed

Freud Museum London

8th July 2018 | 2:30PM

This short introductory workshop is intended to provide a brief overview of Sigmund Freud’s theory of dreams using your own dream as a vehicle to illustrate some of his key ideas and concepts.

Dreams are both mysterious and mundane: we all dream, and most dreams are unremarkable and forgotten almost immediately on waking. However, there are some dreams that conjure extraordinary visions, confusing emotions and puzzling events.  The earliest human civilisations believed that dreams were of great significance and contained messages from the spirit world which could only be understood by skilled interpreters. Dream books, containing images and their supposed meanings, existed in ancient Egypt as early as 2000 BCE. Through the ages, dreams have remained a constant source of fascination for human beings, with many societies believing that they bring visions of the future, a means of moral self-improvement or direct messages from a higher being.

Sigmund Freud published The Interpretation of Dreams in 1899 (although dated 1900) in which he set out his theory that dreams are a form of wish fulfilment, where the forbidden, unconscious desires of the id find expression in harmless dream images, which are acceptable to the ego and superego and enable us to stay asleep.  In this one-hour workshop, we will exchange ideas about dreams and reflect on how Freud’s theory could be applied to your own experience of dreaming.

Please note:

You will not undergo any form of dream analysis; any ideas raised will be purely speculative and not designed to be a substitute for analysis with a qualified professional.

Tickets include admission to the Museum

Nothing for us without us: I Am ICW

Royal College of Nursing Library & Heritage Centre

9th July 2018 | 5:30PM

An HIV diagnosis in the 1980s meant illness, isolation, stigma, rejection and death. An assumption that HIV did not affect women meant they were particularly isolated, with no services to meet their needs. In 1992 a group of women from different countries, cultures and backgrounds founded ICW, the International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS. Hear from founders and members of ICW about their experiences, past and present, of healthcare, advocacy and activism. This event will be live subtitled.

The Place of Breath in Cinema

Freud Museum London

9th July 2018 | 7:00PM

This talk will consider a cultural history of breath in art and moving image studies, followed by a reflection on the particular significance of breath, wind and air in the contemporary film experience.

From Henry Gray’s beautiful scientific illustrations of the lungs in his anatomical study of the human body to rather more abstract, evocative images of stillness and silence in the films of Chantal Akerman and Lars von Trier, the foregrounding of the breathing body, air and other forms of airy presences (dust, mist, fog) have long been the subject of Davina Quinlivan’s groundbreaking research into the place of breath in cinema.

Davina Quinlivan is the author of The Place of Breath in Cinema (EUP, 2014) and Filming the Body in Crisis: Trauma, Healing and Hopefulness (Palgrave: 2015), and a Senior Lecturer in Critical and Historical Studies at Kingston School of Art, Kingston University

PROJECTIONS: Science Fiction Cinema – Outer Space as Inner Space

Freud Museum London

14th July 2018 | 9:00AM

Intensive 2-Day Course

14 July 9:00 am – 21 July 5:00 pm

£67 – £95

Science fiction films portray phenomena that reach beyond the provable realms of mainstream science, featuring artificial intelligence, alien worlds, extrasensory perception, advanced technology and intergalactic travel. Such stories sometimes produce political or social commentary, expressing complex philosophical concerns related to the human condition.

Depicting endless possibilities in the vastness of the cosmos, science fiction is a unique genre in cinema, revealing insights about our collective unconscious and inner worlds. In this 2-day course, we will regard outer space as a grand metaphor for the human psyche, relying on psychoanalysis as the theoretical framework to uncover hidden emotional activity manifested in symbolic form.

Sigmund Freud believed that, because of the unconscious, we are aliens to ourselves. Beneath the threshold of awareness, there are irrational fears, buried memories, conflicting desires and secret dimensions to ourselves that we would rather not confront at an individual level and in wider society. This might explain the tendency in science fiction cinema to convey extraterrestrial lifeforms as hostile, invading and threatening the human species – it is simply a manifestation in outer space of an internal perception. The process of creating and watching these visual metaphors involves catharsis, releasing psychic tension.

Leaving Today: the Freuds in Exile 1938

Freud Museum London

18th July 2018 | 12:00PM

On Saturday 4 June 1938, Sigmund Freud, his wife, Martha, and their daughter Anna left Vienna forever.  On the same day, Freud sent a note to his friend, the writer, Arnold Zweig. In it he wrote, briefly, “Leaving today for 39 Elsworthy Road, London NW3 …”.

Freud’s note was simple, but behind it lay a complex and dangerous series of events and an urgent need to escape. Hitler’s annexation of Austria to Germany on 13 March had placed Austrian Jews in immediate danger. Within days, Freud’s apartment and publishing house had been raided. A week later, Anna was arrested and questioned by the Gestapo.

Now, after weeks of uncertainty, Freud, Martha and Anna boarded a train to take them across Europe to Paris, and from there to London and a new life. Other family members had escaped just weeks earlier, but many friends and relatives remained behind to uncertain fates.

Featuring original documents, letters and objects, many of which have never been on public display before, this major new exhibition will reveal the stories of Freud’s and his family’s escape and exile. Key items include the original documents required for Freud and his family to leave Austria and enter Britain, Freud’s personal correspondence – including with celebrated figures such as Albert Einstein and H.G. Wells – and personal belongings.

Through the experiences of Freud and his family threads a universal story of flight and exile. Britain remains a refuge for many fleeing persecution, torture, enslavement and murder. At the center of the exhibition will be the voices of young people who attend the Baobab Centre for Young Survivors in Exile through work they have created in collaboration with the artist Barnaby Barford. Each young person has come to Britain, unaccompanied, to seek refuge and safety.

The exhibition includes the first public display of The Psychoanalyst by Marie-Louise Motesiczky a generous gift from the Marie-Louise Motesiczky Foundation. The Museum is very pleased to add this painting from one of ‘Austria’s most important 20th-century painters’ to its collections.

Marie-Louise Motesiczky herself had an interesting link to Sigmund Freud and the Freud family. Marie-Louise and her family moved in similar circles to the Freuds. Her grandmother Anna von Lieben was a patient of Sigmund Freud’s, as were other relatives, while her brother Karl pursued his own studies in psychoanalysis with Wilhelm Reich. Like the Freuds, Marie- Louise and her mother fled Austria immediately after the Anschluss in 1938. They arrived in England in 1939 and spent the rest of their lives in Hampstead.

Lacan/Foucault: Author, Subject, Vitalism/Materialism

Freud Museum London

22nd July 2018 | 10:00AM


Lacan held Foucault’s works in high esteem. He repeatedly refers to and comments on them in his seminars, urging his audience to read them. Conversely, throughout his oeuvre, Foucault paid considerable attention to psychoanalysis. Although these exchanges are far from devoid of mutual criticism, they also witness to a profound awareness that psychoanalysis is not merely an ‘anti-philosophy’ but an innovative praxis, and that philosophy can only be renewed in dialogue with it.

In this one-day intensive course we will compare and contrast Lacan’s and Foucault’s respective stances on subjectivity. We will focus on their apparently convergent but also, on close inspection, fundamentally different critiques of the classical notion of the subject.

First, we will address Foucault’s notion of the subject as unveiled in his discussion of authorship – as elaborated in his 1969 seminal essay “What Is an Author?”. We will pay particular attention to the far from insignificant fact that, in this context, Foucault regards Freud as a “founder of discursivity”. Second, we will dwell on Lacan’s comments on the Foucauldian notion of the author (made in Seminar XVI); we will also see how the Foucauldian notion of the author overlaps with the Lacanian subject of the unconscious. Third, we will oppose Lacan’s and Foucault’s conclusions on the ontological status of the subject.

On the one hand, for Foucault’s vitalist presuppositions determining “who is speaking” in the end no longer makes any difference. On the other hand, for Lacan what materialistically matters in the human form of life, or speaking being, as highlighted by psychoanalysis is absolute difference. We will conclude by examining how this absolute difference amounts to the inextricability of subject and structure.

This one-day course will be followed later in the year by a one-day course on Lacan’s, Foucault’s, and Deleuze’s treatment of aesthetics with specific regard to the gaze and the baroque (30th September).

The Residents of Normansfield

Langdon Down Museum

28th July 2018 | 11:00AM

The stories of the residents who lived in Normansfield from 1868 when it first opened, to the closure of the institution as an NHS hospital in 1997. Developed by Dr John Langdon Down and his wife Mary it was run for 102 years by the Langdon Down family. Residents with learning disabilities who lived in the institution were offered a revolutionary and enlightened approach to their care. They received a special education as well as a training in horticulture and carpentry. They enjoyed a home from home, with holidays, sports, entertainments and church services in the theatre. Some lived in Normansfield for a few years while for others it was a life-long home.

Free talk. Booking not required. Donations welcome.

Nursing a Plague: History, Testimony and Memory

Royal College of Nursing Library & Heritage Centre

31st July 2018 | 5:30PM

“AIDS is not over and neither is AIDS in the past” (Sarah Schulman). That past resonates through our present – through relationships, sexual cultures and sexuality, through art and culture, and through experiences of stigma, fear and guilt. This event will draw powerfully on excerpts from oral histories of HIV/AIDS affected people, including nurses, curated by researchers Tommy Dickinson and George Severs.
This event will be live subtitled.