In case you missed it! ‘Hearing Voices: What do we need to know?’

On 11 September 2019, over two hundred people attended our public symposium on ‘Hearing Voices: What do we need to know?’ at The Assembly Rooms in Newcastle upon Tyne. The event marked the launch of our new website, Understanding Voices, and brought voice-hearers and their allies together with academics, activists and clinicians in order to explore future directions in voice-hearing research, advocacy, policy and clinical practice.

If you couldn’t join us at the event, you can catch some of the talks and presentations below.

Welcome and introduction
Welcome‘ – Angela Woods (Co-director, Hearing the Voice)

Three digital stories
Am I dangerous?’ – Nikki Mattocks
My name is Stephen’ – Stephen Groves
Hearing voices isn’t all bad’ – Wenda Parsons

Launch of Understanding Voices
The Big Picture’ – Charles Fernyhough (PI, Hearing the Voice)
The Process’ – Victoria Patton (Hearing the Voice)
The Promise’ – Rai Waddingham (Chair, Hearing Voices Network England)

The Future of Hearing Voices
The more we look the less we see?’ – Akiko Hart (Mind in Camden)
Psychosis risk and the social environment’ – James Kirkbride (University College London)
Finding new ways to listen to and learn from young people’ – Sarah Parry (Manchester Metropolitan University)
Voices in clinical and non-clinical populations’ – Emmmanuelle Peters (King’s College London)
A world without voices’ – Elisabeth Svanholmer (Voice-hearer and mental health trainer)
Making space for madness’ – Jason Poole (University of East London)
Culture and hearing voices: What do we need to know?’ – Dawn Edge (University of Manchester)
Augmenting the technology of talking: the digital future of help for hearing voices’ – Neil Thomas (Swinburne University of Technology)
Hearing voices: what’s the tipping point?’ – Ben Alderson-Day (Durham University)
I think we got off on the wrong foot. Can we start over?’ – Rachel Waddingham (Voice-hearer, mental health trainer, researcher and Chair of the Hearing Voices Network England)

More information about the speakers and their affiliations can be found at in the event programme, which you can download here. Please feel free to share these resources on social media using the hashtag #UnderstandingVoices.

ICHR 2019 Announcement and Call for New Working Groups

We are pleased to announce that the next ICHR biennial meeting will take place in Durham, on 11–13 September 2019, and will be hosted by Professor Charles Fernyhough, Drs Angela Woods and Ben Alderson-Day, and the Hearing the Voice (HtV) team.

The format will be as follows:

  • Weds 11 Sept (day 1): public multidisciplinary day on voice-hearing, to which we expect working group, the public and other interested parties to attend
  • Thurs 12 and Fri 13 Sept (days 2 and 3): meeting of ICHR working groups (working group members and by invitation only)

As with previous ICHR biennial meetings, we invite new proposals for work groups.  Please note you can submit a working group proposal for the ICHR meeting in September 2019 (Durham), or for the next round (2021).

In Durham, Days 2 and 3 of the meeting will comprise a mixture of presentations from existing and new working groups (work in progress, or final reports).

Working group themes must (1) relate to voices, visions, other hallucinations, or a related experience, (2) present a significant development and advance in concept, and (3) have translational implications into important outcomes in science or clinical practice.

The groups are expected to: (i) develop and submit a project proposal addressing all of the ICHR working group criteria, (ii) identify a group leader whose responsibility entails taking the project to completion, (iii) work together on the defined project within a 12 months to 4 year period (iv) present their completed work (or provide an update on progress) at a biennial ICHR meetings, and (v) work together towards a manuscript for publication or report.

We are particularly keen for working groups to be collaborative and multidisciplinary (encompassing the humanities and social sciences as well as psychological, clinical and neurobiological disciplines).

The number of working groups is typically limited to 10. However, the number of contributors within a group does not have a limit. Groups should ideally include individuals with lived experience and early career researchers (ECRs).

Please send a brief project scope (max 2 page) via email to Flavie Waters by 31 January 2019 (for round 1), or January 2021 (for round 2).

Additional information about criteria, roles and responsibilities, timeline, publications, etc can be found on the website.  For all other queries, please contact a member of the ICHR Committee.

Registration now open! Personification Across Disciplines, Durham, 17-19 September 2018

Personification Across Disciplines
7-19 September | Calman Learning Centre (Durham University) | Durham | UK

Humans have a flair for attributing intentions, traits, agency, emotions and mental states to beings or things – either real or imagined. Whether anthropomorphising natural or abstract shapes, playing with imaginary companions, (re) constructing fictional characters and dialoguing with gods or hallucinatory presences, the attribution of an agentive mentality to human and non-human targets appears both natural and meaningful to our everyday life. The personification of inanimate, non-human, virtual or absent objects or entities seems at the core of human cognition, yet remains in many respects mysterious. To what extent is personification a conscious process whereby we extend intersubjective and narrative relations? When does this capacity emerge? What are its cognitive underpinnings and what are its effects? Is there a continuum to be traced between these different cognitive, narrative, religious and hallucinatory experiences?

Personification Across Disciplines (PAD2018) is a three-day interdisciplinary conference that aims to explore personifying dynamics and experiences through a variety of disciplines, methods and perspectives. Keynote speakers include H. Porter Abbott (University of California, Santa Barbara) Guillaume Dumas (Institut Pasteur), Nev Jones (University of South Florida) and Ann Taves (University of California, Santa Barbara). Brought to you by Hearing the Voice, PAD2018 is free to attend, thanks to generous funding from the Wellcome Trust.


Registration for PAD2018 is now open and can be completed online before 15 August. Information about travel and accommodation whilst in Durham can be found here.


More information about PAD2018 can be found on the conference website. The full programme, which includes details of the keynote addresses and over 25 different panels on topics ranging from personification in psychosis, fiction and artificial intelligence through to felt presence experiences, tulpas and imaginary companions is available to download here.

We warmly invite you to join us in Durham for what promises to be a rich and stimulating event. And for the latest conference updates on Twitter, please follow the hashtag #personification2018


Hearing Soundless Voices: a Grammatical Analysis of Verbal Hallucinations (May 31)

Thursday 31 May 2018 | 5-7PM

Learning Centre (Palace Green Library) | Durham

Hearing the Voice warmly invites you to attend a public lecture by Mathieu Frerejouan (Université Paris 1 – Panthéon Sorbonne) on May 31 (5-7PM) at Palace Green Library. Exploring whether ‘auditory verbal hallucinations’ (or ‘voices’) should be considered as properly auditory, Mathieu’s talk will use the grammatical analysis proposed by Wittgenstein to suggest that the problem lies not with the language used by voice-hearers – for it is part of ordinary language to speak of mental events in perceptual terms – but instead can be attributed to the concept of ‘auditory verbal hallucinations’ advocated by psychologists and philosophers.

All are welcome to this free event.




A full abstract can be found below:

A recurrent problem regarding ‘auditory verbal hallucinations’ (or ‘voices’) is whether they should be considered as properly auditory. Indeed, it has been observed that the claim of ‘hearing voices’ is sometimes accompanied by the description of these voices as being ‘silent’, ‘inside the head’, or even ‘like thoughts’. These ‘soundless voices’ have received many names throughout the history of psychiatry (such as ‘psychical hallucinations’, ‘pseudo-hallucinations’, and more recently ‘verbal hallucinations’) but, despite these various attempts at classifying them, they still nourish debates and disagreements in psychology as well as in philosophy.

The aim of our presentation will be to defend that the grammatical analysis proposed by Wittgenstein of ‘inner’ phenomena (such as ‘inner speech’ or ‘mental calculation’) can shed a new light on this problem. Indeed, as it is part of ordinary language to speak of mental events in perceptual terms, there is nothing grammatically incorrect in saying that we ‘hear’ a soundless voice. As such, the problem of verbal hallucinations might not come from what the voice hearer says, but rather from the concept of ‘auditory verbal hallucinations’ advocated by psychologists and philosophers, which deceptively implies that ‘hearing’ necessarily means ‘hearing sounds’.


[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Mathieu Frerejouan is a doctoral student at the Université Paris 1 (Panthéon Sorbonne). His research focuses on the concept of hallucination from an historical and epistemological viewpoint. He is a member of the ALIUS research team. [/author_info] [/author]


Registration Open: 25 Years of Madness and Modernism Symposium at Durham University (11 May 2018)

Section from Giorgio De Chirico “The Square” (1913)


Madness and Modernism: Insanity in the Light of Modern Art, Literature and Thought is the magnum opus of the distinguished clinical psychologist and phenomenologist of psychopathology Louis A. Sass. Twenty-five years after its initial publication by Basic Books and then Harvard University Press, a revised edition, published by Oxford University Press in 2017, is introducing new readers to one of the most complex and compelling accounts of the phenomenology of schizophrenia and its reciprocally illuminating relationship with a modernism characterised by paradox and hyperreflexivity, self-consciousness and self-alienation.

A symposium to celebrate, interrogate and reflect upon the significance and wide-ranging influence of Madness and Modernism will be held at Priors Hall, Durham Cathedral on Friday 11 May 2018, 10.15 – 6pm. It features the following presentations:

  • Åsa Jansson (University of Durham) Melancholic Delusions and Modern Madness
  • Joel Krueger (Exeter University) Sass, Schizophrenia, and the Scaffolded Self
  • Elizabeth Barry (Warwick University) Beckett, Sass and Schizophrenia: The Assault on Ipseity
  • Matt ffytche (University of Essex) Reviewing Madness and Modernism through the lens of Outsider Writing
  • Louis Sass (Rutgers University) in conversation with Patricia Waugh (University of Durham)

The symposium is free to attend but places are limited and registration is essential here. Refreshments will be provided throughout the day, which concludes with an informal wine reception.

Please tweet about this symposium using hashtag #MadnessandModernism.

This symposium, convened by Angela Woods (HtV Co-Director), is jointly hosted by Hearing the Voice and the Centre for Medical Humanities and funded by the Wellcome Trust.