Cultural Experiences and Mental Health at Centre for the Creative Brain
14 May 2021
St Edmund Hall’s Centre for the Creative Brain held its fourth online event on ‘Cultural Experiences and Mental Health’ on Thursday 13 May 2021. Through the lens of artistic culture and psychiatry, the seminar explored how cultural experiences influence our brain and contribute to our mental health.
The talk was led by Oxford student Jessica Nicholls-Mindlin (2016, Medicine) who introduced four speakers to help guide the audience through the impact of culture on mental health.
The first session was with speaker Dr Jim Harris, Andrew W Mellon Foundation Teaching Curator at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. He talked about his project at the museum called ‘Exploring Psychiatry through Images and Objects’ and what non-artistically trained people may bring to art.
The second session was a panel of three: Dr Rebecca Sheriff (Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford), Susan McCormack and Helen Adams (Ashmolean Museum). Dr Rebecca Sheriff spoke about her work as a psychiatrist and what led her to set up the O-ACE study. Susan McCormack and Helen Adams discussed their roles at the Ashmolean Museum, and their involvement in the O-ACE study. The seminar covered many aspects of culture and mental health, from how art represents mental wellbeing, how the Ashmolean’s digital content has been received and used during the health pandemic and how culture is rarely used to treat anxiety and depression.
The Centre for the Creative Brain is generously endorsed by St Edmund Hall and the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging, University of Oxford. The Centre is led by Professor Charlie Stagg, Fellow by Special Election in Neuroscience at St Edmund Hall.