Birdsall, C., Parry, M., & Tkaczyk, V. (2015). “Listening to the Mind: Tracing the Auditory History of Mental Illness in Archives and Exhibitions,” The Public Historian, 37(4), 47-72. DOI: 10.1525/tph.2015.37.4.47
With increasing interest in the representation of histories of mental health in museums, sound has played a key role as a tool to access a range of voices. This project investigates how sound can be used to give voice to those previously silenced. The focus is on the use of sound recording in the history of mental health care, and the archival sources left behind for potential reuse. Exhibition strategies explored include the use of sound to interrogate established narratives, to interrupt associations visitors make when viewing the material culture of mental health, and to foster empathic listening among audiences. Listening to the Mind: Tracing the Auditory History of Mental Illness in Archives and Exhibitions was published in the Public Historian and presented at the LARM conference on Digital Archives, Audiovisual Media and Cultural Memory, Copenhagen in 2013, the International Federation for Public History Inaugural Meeting in Amsterdam, 2014, and the Wellcome Collection in 2015.