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RE:CREATE Psychiatry and Dragon Café
Hysteria: Contested, Popularised, Diagnosed

Dragon Café

5 – 26 March - Mondays 6.30pm-8.30pm


Crypt of St George the Martyr Church
Borough High Street


A series of RE:CREATE Psychiatry events – performances, screenings, and openhearted discussion – at The Dragon Café every Monday throughout March 2018, 6.30pm to 8.30pm

Hysteria is a contested term. It has been framed as an exaggerated, uncontrollable emotion, and diagnosed as the emanation of a psychological trauma manifesting through physical symptoms. Rooted in medical history, our relationship with the term “hysteria” has evolved, mediated by notions of gender, race, and politics. It is entwined with our cultural identities, and firmly embedded in popular vocabularies. We have all laughed hysterically, looked away when someone was “being” hysterical, or worried about being branded hysterical ourselves.

This March RE:CREATE Psychiatry will study the term:

• to understand the social constructs within which it has evolved, • to understand how these constructs influence perceptions of people with mental health experiences in services and beyond • and to crystallise what mental health services can learn from the complex history of the hysterical.

The weekly series of evening events will include an exploration of colonial hysteria and post-colonial experiences in Being BAME, an examination of the politics of language and gender performativity in Unreliable Narrator. We will be asking whether Fake News and the NHS is a modern hysteria, and delving into the shared experiences of the Heterotopias of Mental Health Care.

Grounding our study of hysteria in PS/Y’s research and wider Hysteria programme, RE:CREATE Psychiatry will look to further our understanding of the term – its history, and its present – by considering it within a RE:CREATE Psychiatry contextual framework and bringing the voices of mental health professionals and those with experience together to bear on the conversation.

RE:CREATE Psychiatry events are open to all and are open drop-ins – there is no need to RSVP. All mental health professionals and those with lived experience are welcome and free to arrive later or leave earlier.

RE:CREATE Psychiatry is an exploratory platform, born of The Dragon Café, which works to facilitate open and equal forms of dialogue between those who use mental health services and those who provide them. Through conversation, facilitated yet unfettered, RE:CREATE Psychiatry carves out a space where engagement is predicated on experience not role.

By piecing together the collective, multi-perspectival yet genuinely shared understandings elicited through its unique dialogic model, it allows clinicians and service-users to address – together – the challenges of working in and working through the mental healthcare system.

To receive further information about RE:CREATE and for opportunities to take part in RE:CREATE Psychiatry events and workshops, email, or visit to subscribe to their mailing list.


Image: RE:CREATE Psychiatry ShrinkRadio event ‘State of Emergency: is there space for empathy in a time of crisis?’ at Wellcome Collection, November 2016. Photo by Liz Gorman