Representing the Mind

Visual and Musical Interpretations of the Mind and Mental Health

On the 16 October 2018, we, in collaboration with Arts Council of Wales and Arts Care Gofal Celf, hosted an exhibition and performance focusing on visual and musical representations of the mind and mental health.

Dr Rhys Bevan Jones, clinician and researcher within Cardiff University’s Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neuroscience, created a number of original artworks illustrating the various ways people ‘see’ their minds and internal thought processes (informed by questionnaires, workshops and discussions with service users, friends and colleagues).

Taking place at our offices at Cardiff University’s Hadyn Ellis Building, guests had the opportunity to view the artwork before a jazz performance (inspired by the art) took place in the lecture theatre.

*Keyo Langford Photography

Many of us, especially the young, can find it difficult to verbally express their emotions, and may find it easier to do so using images or metaphors. The exhibition hopes to draw on this and complement Rhys’s fellowship research in the development of digital health programmes for young people.

Gareth Roberts, Jazz musician and Composer, and friend of Rhys, prepared a musical performance based on the images. He and his four piece band used the images for inspiration and improvised appropriate music for each image.

Some of the images played the role of ‘graphic scores’, which meant the musicians followed the images for direction rather than playing from a conventional score of music.

*Keyo Langford Photography

Following the event the recordings of the music by Gareth and his band were saved online so QR codes could be displayed under the corresponding pieces of art as part of the exhibition. These, along with their respective pieces of artwork are available for you to listen to and download at the bottom of this page.

As part of the project Rhys and Gareth investigated how the mind has been represented through images and music throughout history.

They also created an online questionnaire to explore this question, which was shared widely – one of the questions asked people how they see their own mind (if described in images), the art below uses these responses as inspiration for it’s content.

Other questions included:

How would you describe the/your mind through music/sound?

How would you describe the mind when ‘well’, ‘happy’ or ‘at peace’?

How would you describe the mind, when/if you have experienced (physical/mental) health difficulties?

The exhibition and performance are based on findings from these explorations and developed through collaborative workshops between Gareth and Rhys.

*Keyo Langford Photography

The exhibition is on display in Cardiff University’s Hadyn Ellis Building (CF24 4HQ) between 16 Oct – 2 November. The pair recently featured on BBC Radio Wales and BBC Wales TV news showcasing and explaining their work.

A big thank you to the Arts Council Wales and Arts Care / Gofal Celf for their support. We look forward to the continued development of this project.

There were five artworks created that were used for inspiration during the live performance.

Each of these represents differing ways of interpreting the mind, mental health and someone’s thought processes at differing times. We hope you enjoy each image and the accompanying music.

Thank you to Keyo Langford for the Photographs (marked with an *).  keyolangford.myportfolio.com/

Prints: Rhys Bevan Jones
Jazz Compositions / Trombone: Gareth Roberts
Keyboard: Paul Jones
Bass: Aidan Thorne
Drums: Mark O’Connor

Charlie Hughes

Charlie is a Communications Officer in the Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences at Cardiff University.

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