Storying Sheffield

In a dark wood: Words and images of mental distress across a century.

in a dark wood

In a dark wood: Words and images of mental distress across a century.

15-25 September 2016
Bank Street Arts

This collaboration between Archive Sheffield, Sheffield Libraries, and Professor Brendan Stone (School of English) will explore changing perceptions of mental distress/illness by drawing both on contemporary accounts and on the photographic record of the former Middlewood Hospital in Sheffield. These large-plate glass negatives, kept in the Sheffield Archives and almost certainly unseen since their deposit at the turn of the 20th century, offer a powerful window into a different era of medical care. These anonymised images will be presented alongside contemporary audio reflections on the nature of illness/distress and care from people currently living with mental health problems. The combination of images and sound will represent a kind of dialogue across time which will generate insight and provoke thought about differing perceptions of mental health, as well as drawing out resonances. Visitors to the exhibition will be invited to leave their own thoughts and reflections in response to the exhibits.

Archive Sheffield is a group of photographers and filmmakers who specialise in documentary, story-driven work. We are building an ongoing archive of contemporary photographs taken in and about Sheffield, and are working with other archival organisations to present interesting work from the past to a new audience.

Sheffield Archives and Local Studies Library collections preserves and makes available information about South Yorkshire from the 12th century to the present.

• Brendan Stone is Professor of Social Engagement and the Humanities, and University Director of Learning and Teaching for Engaged Learning. He is founder and director of the Storying Sheffield project.