Voice-hearing: What does the future hold?’
Wolfson Gallery, Palace Green Library

Durham University
5 November 2016, 10 am – 4 pm

Earlier this month we marked the opening of our exhibition Hearing Voices: suffering, inspiration and the everyday with a day-long event on ‘Voice-hearing: What does the future hold?’ Open to anyone with an interest in voice-hearing or Hearing the Voice research, the event was attended by over eighty experts by experience, mental health professionals, academic researchers and students. It was fantastic to see such a great turnout, and we’d like to thank everyone who attended for joining us to explore future direction in voice-hearing research, clinical practice, activism, peer support and the international Hearing Voices Movement.

HtV collaborator Rachel Waddingham opened the day with a complex and compelling vision of the future, which explored some of the issues she is currently wrestling with both in a personal capacity and as Chair of Intervoice. Rai urged us to consider the strengths and limitations of trauma-based models for understanding voices, particularly the narratives that such models do and do not sanction. She also called for more safe spaces and sanctuaries in mental health services, greater diversity and inclusivity in the communities that form around voice-hearing, and a society that is founded on openness, empathy, understanding and respect for each other’s experiences.

Rai’s talk is available to listen to as a podcast here.

Marius Romme

Professor Marius Romme

The remainder of the day included a panel discussion on ‘Durham Perspectives’, which featured contributions from Charles Fernyhough (Project Director, Hearing the Voice), Guy Dodgson (Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust), Roz Austin and Nicola Armstrong, as well as a public lecture from Marius Romme and Sandra Escher, the founders of the Hearing Voices Movement. In the afternoon session, we divided into smaller groups for a more focused discussion around some of the issues raised in the formal presentations. These included our project’s plans for Integrated Voices – a major new online resource for the treatment and management of distressing voices which Hearing the Voice will be developing over the next few years. We also discussed ways to reduce stigma (particularly in the workplace), and how to ensure that research and voice-hearing networks involve and are accessible to people from diverse backgrounds, including those who live well with their voices in the absence of any need for psychiatric care.

The Hearing the Voice team is grateful to everyone who shared their ideas, knowledge and expertise in this public forum. If you couldn’t make it, we hope you will be able to visit Hearing Voices: suffering, inspiration and the everyday and join us at some of the other events in the exhibition’s linked programme in the future. Full details of the guided tours, discussion events, public lectures and film screenings that surround the exhibition can be found here.

Hearing Voices: suffering, inspiration and the everyday is currently installed in Durham’s Palace Green Library until 26 February 2016. More information about the exhibition, including podcasts featuring interviews with HtV researchers, interactive presentations and links to articles and further resources, is available on the exhibition website.

 If you would like to arrange a group visit to the exhibition for a hearing voices or unusual experiences group, please get in touch with us via email.  

The recording of Rai’s talk was produced by Andrea Rangecroft for Hearing the Voice.

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