20 Maresfield Gardens in Hampstead was the final home of Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, who came here with his family in 1938, after fleeing Nazi-occupied Vienna.
Importantly for Freud, he was able to bring his extensive library and collection of antiquities with him to London. In his new home, he recreated his study and consulting room as it been in Vienna and here you will find the original psychoanalytic couch on which Freud’s patients told him their dreams.
Senior Citizens: £7.00
Concessions £5.00 (Students with valid ID cards, children aged 12-16, unemployed persons, disabled persons.
Children under 12: Free
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Wunderblock is an exhibition of new work by artist Emma Smith, drawing on original historical research into the post-war fascination with the infant mind. This research, undertaken by the Hidden Persuaders Project at Birkbeck, University of London, examines ‘brainwashing’ during the Cold War. Smith’s exhibition particularly focuses on this history in relation to the child.
In the wake of World War II there was considerable anxiety about how children’s minds could be shaped or influenced to support fascism, communism or liberal democracy. A generation of children had also directly experienced the devastation of war, separation from their families, or life in institutions. Child psychoanalysis and psychiatry gained a prominent role and it was a time of great innovation and debate. However, observing and interpreting the developing mind, nurturing infant mental health, and supporting good parenting, also became powerful political issues. These were inextricably linked to the interests of the state, and aspirations for generating democratic citizens.
Smith’s exhibition turns some of this complex history of debate about nature and nurture, and about benign and malign influences over the child, on its head. Smith asks ‘What is the agency of the child?’, ‘What is innate to the infant and in what ways are they an ‘expert’?’; and, crucially: ‘To what extent does the baby or child influence their environment, and shape the adult’s world?’. Inspired by the rich material surrounding infant observation in psychoanalysis by practitioners such as Melanie Klein, Anna Freud, Margaret Lowenfeld and Donald Winnicott, as well as the emergence of child-centred pedagogy and the anti-psychiatry movement, Wunderblock considers how we might engage with this history and meet the child from their own perspective.
Wunderblock will unfold across the Freud Museum through a number of interventions: using sound, interactive installation, and the Museum’s own collection, responding to the significance of this unique domestic setting. The title Wunderblock is taken from the title of Freud’s essay ‘The Magic Writing Pad’, where it refers to the layers of the self that are constantly re-written but may re-emerge from beneath the surface. In the exhibition, these layers are peeled back to reveal the child as a complex person rather than merely a malleable future citizen, a sponge for the influence of others.
Wunderblock is curated by Rachel Fleming-Mulford, and is commissioned by Birkbeck, University of London for the Hidden Persuaders Project, funded by the Wellcome Trust Public Engagement Fund.Full Details
In November 2015, George Osbourne announced the closure of the largest women’s prison in Europe, HMP Holloway. The recently published book, The End of the Sentence, Psychotherapy with Female Offenders, edited by Pamela Windham Stewart and Jessica Collier is part of the Forensic Psychotherapy Monograph Series edited by Brett Kahr. The End of the Sentence records the rich and varied therapeutic interventions provided over 25 years at HMP Holloway.
The Freud in Prison conversation continues thinking about current forensic psychotherapy described in The End of the Sentence. A key part of the discussion will explore the correlation between the high number of inmates who are victims of childhood sexual abuse (estimated at 65% of offenders have been sexually abused). The other aspect for discussion, and related to the first, is the creative power of psychotherapy in a forensic setting.
This conversation will between Pamela Windham Stewart, a psychotherapist and Kelly. While a former inmate, Kelly attended weekly psychotherapy as well as participating in weekly Managing Emotions Groups facilitated by Professor Gill McGauley and Pamela. From this experience Kelly has devised a 10-week group for women who were abused as children which she will discuss.
Can psychotherapy have a bigger, more vocal role to play in prisons and in society as a whole? Is psychotherapy a creative process which should take up a larger political role? And can we also consider what it is about child sexual abuse that is a mental prison for individuals, institutions and society at large?
…And may also have been a prison for Freud?Full Details
An evening of discussion, hosted by artist Emma Smith with contributions from invited guests specialising in child development, children’s rights, and psychoanalysis. This event will consider and seek to unpack some of the key themes and ideas from Smith’s exhibition, Wunderblock.
Wunderblock is an exhibition of new work by artist Emma Smith, drawing on original historical research into the post-war fascination with the infant mind. Set against a history of state interest and intervention into child development after the Second World War, and a preoccupation with the accountability of the mother, Wunderblock questions and inverts some of this complex narrative to consider the agency of the child.
In the history of childhood, the child has emerged from an un-recognised entity to a protected status of vulnerability. But where in this history has the child been acknowledged as having agency in their own right? And to what extent does the child influence the adult world, both the children around us and the child we used to be? What is the agency of the child and what structures of power / societal expectations can this sit within? Can the child’s influence be seen in relation to the feminist idea of power to transform others, rather than to have power over them?
The event will reflect on Smith’s research and that of the Hidden Persuaders Project at Birkbeck, University of London. It will also consider contemporary attitudes to the shaping of the infant mind, and encourage attendees to question and consider their own beliefs in relation to the current status of children and young people in our society.Full Details
There are only three passing references to Kafka in the entirety of Lacan’s vast oeuvre.
In this one-day intensive course, we will scrutinise these passages in their context and show how they can nonetheless throw light on key aspects of Lacanian psychoanalysis.
More generally, through a comparative reading of Lacan’s Seminars and Kafka’s The Castle and The Burrow, we will introduce a number of pivotal psychoanalytic notions such as the object a, the big Other, the fantasy of absolute knowledge, and surplus-enjoyment.
The course will close with an outline of Lacan’s epistemological, ethical, and political stance in his visceral opposition to the so-called university discourse, the contemporary late-capitalist Castle.Full Details
His cinema sparks debate and controversy all over the world, boldly reaching into the darkest recesses of the human soul.
The Danish director is fascinated by Americana, despite having never travelled to the United States due to an overwhelming fear of flying. He investigates American society in an unofficial trilogy of films comprised of Dogville(2003), Manderlay (2005) and The House That Jack Built (2019). In these uncompromising tales of revenge, slavery and serial murder, we find a unique take on the volatility of group dynamics, the discontents of civilization, and all manner of human brutality.
Von Trier believes that the ‘Golden Age’ of democracy is behind us; in the current Trumpian era of bombastic political posturing, we will attempt to elevate the discourse with a psychoanalytic reading of Lars’s ‘America Trilogy’.Full Details
His films Antichrist (2009), Melancholia (2011) and Nymphomaniac (2013) together form the so-called ‘Depression Trilogy’, driven by complex female characters battling profound grief, despair, and loneliness. Von Trier relies on the creative process to work through his debilitating mental health issues, famously saying, “I’m afraid of everything in life, except filmmaking.”
In this intensive day-course, we will psychoanalytically interpret Lars von Trier’s Depression Trilogy, with a special focus on the 1917 essay Mourning and Melancholia, in which Sigmund Freud distinguishes between healthy and pathological responses to loss. We will engage with interdisciplinary concepts to explore von Trier’s dark and compelling emotional landscapes, where courageous performers represent the internal life of the director, shining a light through the dense fog of depression.Full Details
As part of London Craft Week 2019, the Freud Museum will be inviting artists Christie Brown and Barnaby Barford to explore the creative process in the production of their work, chaired by psychoanalyst Lesley Caldwell.
Both artists have formerly exhibited their work at the Freud Museum. Christie Brown’s solo exhibition in 2012-2013 entitled DreamWork was comprised of ceramic figures that responded to Sigmund Freud’s own collection of antiquities. Barnaby Barford contributed to a major in-house exhibition in 2018, Leaving Today: the Freuds in Exile 1938, where he produced a series of artworks with young survivors living in exile in London.
London Craft Week (8-12 May 2019) is an annual event that showcases exceptional craftsmanship through a journey-of-discovery programme featuring hidden workshops and unknown makers alongside celebrated masters, famous studios, galleries, shops and luxury brands.
The Freud Museum’s participation aims to offer an interesting and unique contribution to the London Craft Week agenda, demonstrating the application of psychoanalysis to artistic creation. The Museum has an impressive repertoire of site-responsive exhibitions held in its unique space throughout its 33-year history.Full Details
The Education Service caters for groups in primary, secondary and tertiary education, allowing students to explore the resources of the museum, experience the intense atmosphere of Freud’s Study and consulting room, and discuss Freud’s life and work at times when the Museum is closed to the general public.
For further information (including downloadable worksheets), please visit our website.
Freud Museum London
20 Maresfield Gardens
Finchley Road, Finchley Road & Frognal
Euston, King's Cross
13, 82, 113, 187, 268