What separates us? Reimagining life together beyond the psychiatric asylum model. A study of Uruguay's deinstitutionalisation process through audio-visual practice

Year of award: 2019


  • Paola Debellis Alvarez

    Goldsmiths, University of London

Project summary

Recent legislation in Uruguay set a deadline for the closure of all its psychiatric asylums by 2025. The persistent use of confinement for mental ill-health in Uruguay means that this could bring radical changes in mental healthcare – or merely produce new methods of institutionalisation.

Considering the deinstitutionalisation process through the lens of coexistence, I will identify the multiple methods of confinement in contemporary Uruguay and explore the practices that favour treatment in the community. I will use audio-visual practice, combining documentary filmmaking and post-screening discussions to find out the views of service users, carers, professionals and staff in Uruguay’s mental health system, as well as other members of society.

By engaging in public discussion and promoting encounters between people from different disciplines, practice and theory, this research will contribute to a critical understanding of mental health in Uruguay and will advance the development of audio-visual practice as a research method.