Conference: Encountering R.D. Laing: Mental Health, Care and Creativity

10th October 2014

Organisers: Cheryl McGeachan, Allan Beveridge, Iain Smith, Sarah Hepworth and Karen Laing



As Glasgow marks a significant milestone in its history of mental health care in 2014, being 200-years of organised psychiatric care in the West of Scotland, there is a unique opportunity to develop new conversations across disciplines, professions and communities that question the role of institutions and the future of mental health care in this changing contemporary landscape. Focussing on the life and work of Scotland’s famous and controversial psychiatrist, Ronald David Laing (1927-1989), this event seeks to start critical conversations about the past and present understandings surrounding issues of mental health care.

Through combining a range of themed discussions including sessions focussing on transitions in mental health care from the perspective of those individuals working within the health care system, discussions surrounding Laing’s inspiration on the arts, creative responses to archival materials and experiences from a range of participants and an open film showing of archival materials, this event seeks to engage in cross-disciplinary and cross-community dialogue about mental health care in Scotland and beyond.

This event is open to all but places are strictly limited. To register please go to:

There is no conference fee and all refreshments throughout the day will be provided.

Further questions about this event should be directed to Cheryl McGeachan

Conference Programme

09:30: 10:15                Registration

10:15: 10:30                Welcome
Dr. Cheryl McGeachan

10:30: 12:30                Transitions in Mental Health Care
(Chair and discussant Prof. Chris Philo)
Prof. Andrew Gumley – TBC
Dr. Vicky Long – Historical Perspectives on Public Education
Dr. Iain Smith – From the Hospital to the Community – The Tipping Point in Glasgow Psychiatry

12:30: 13:30                LUNCH and exhibition of materials from the Asylum Spaces Group at the University of Glasgow

13:30: 15:30                Laing as a Renaissance Man
(Chair and discussant Dr. Gavin Miller)
Dr. Allan Beveridge – R.D. Laing and the Arts
Mark Gallagher – Laing and Transcending Boundaries
Dr. Bruce Scott – Raging against the religion of comfortableness; from Nietzsche, R.D. Laing and the Philadelphia Association Communities.

15:30: 16:00                Tea/Coffee Break

16:00: 17:00                Creative Writing through the Archive/Readings of Key Works
Dr. Geraldine Perriam, Dr. Cheryl McGeachan and Sarah Hepworth
Special Guests

17:00 – 18:00              Wine Reception

18:00 – 19:00              Film Showing: “R D Laing in the USA” (Sample). Footage from Laing’s 1972 tour by director/producer Peter Robinson, courtesy of Surveillance Films. Followed by Q&A

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