Scholars working on various aspects of mental health across the humanities at the University of Birmingham have recently come together to discuss their work and aspiration for a mental health humanities network.
The Salon is being launched as a means to continue that conversation and deepen links and relationships across disciplines and across campus, leading to new and exciting collaborations firmly within and stretching beyond Birmingham.
The Salon will meet virtually for an hour on the last Thursday of each month, beginning on 24th June. Our aim is maximise work pleasure and minimise any burden. Each Salon will offer short, paired provocations, which we anticipate will be organised around a theme related to mental health. These provocations could each be a 5-minute presentation, recollection, experience, reading, piece of music or a poem—or might be a pre-set short story, play extract, radio programme or film which can be read, listened to or watched ahead of The Salon, with a 5-minute summation or presentation about the pre-set piece within the event itself.
These provocations are designed to start conversations, facilitate cross pollinations, and develop ideas and fresh ways of relating and thinking about mental health and medicine. After the first 15 minutes of each event, attendees will be split into groups and will have more intimate exchanges around the theme or questions posed. Everyone will come back together towards the end of the meeting to offer one reaction to the provocations. In between, individuals and groups are encouraged to use the chat function as a wider record. Drinks and nibbles are optional, but considerations about accessibility and an openness to discussions and ideas is a must!
The Salon aims to be stimulating for all without a heavy organisation investment from anyone, most especially at the current time. We are now seeking people willing to be facilitators for one of the sessions, as well as provocateurs. We ask for nothing further at this point than expressions of interest, although respondents are encouraged to share a provocation they might already have in mind and want to volunteer for the inaugural June event. Interested parties should send an email before 24 May 2021 to all organisers: Matthew Broome email@example.com; Anna Lavis firstname.lastname@example.org; and Rebecca Wynter email@example.com.