'What think you of a wound?': wounding oneself in early modern England


  • Dr Alanna Skuse

    University of Reading, United Kingdom

Project summary

The prevalence of self-harm in the UK has nearly tripled over the last decade (BMJ 2019). However, studies of self-harm have focussed on its biomedical causes to the exclusion of social and cultural factors. This project facilitates new ways of discussing self-harm through artistic practice.

In collaboration with ArtLab (the outreach arm of University of Reading art department) and The AnDY (Anxiety and Depression in Young People) Clinic, the completed project will have delivered a series of creative workshops for people with a history of self harm, their loved ones, and service providers. I will have accumulated artwork and qualitative feedback from these workshops which helps me to understand how my research relates to (and differs from) modern narratives about self-harm. As 'co-researchers', participants will explore and express their ideas about representations of self-harm and generate a greater understanding of one another's perspectives.

These insights will be disseminated as a dynamic online exhibition of (anonymised) artwork and feedback from the workshops, made freely available to mental health charities and NHS trusts as a resource for promoting discussion about the socio-cultural aspects of self-harm.