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What's On

What's On

‘An Evening with Daniel Paul Schreber’

13th January 2017, 19:00 to 22:00, Empty Shop, 35c Framwellgate Bridge, Durham DH1 4SJ

Join interdisciplinary sound artist Richard Crow, novelist Alex Pheby, and academic Angela Woods as Durham’s Empty Shop is given over to an exploration of Schreber’s world. Text meets sound, radio becomes theatre, analysis becomes playful. Logic may be defied.

Memoirs of My Nervous Illness offers vivid, insightful accounts of Daniel Paul Schreber’s extraordinary experiences – bodily miracles, mental and physical penetration by God’s rays, persecution by little men, and transformation into a woman – intended to furnish proof of his divine mission and to argue against his incarceration in a psychiatric asylum.

This event is free and all are welcome to attend, but places are limited and can be reserved in advance through Eventbrite:

About the evening’s protagonists:

Daniel Paul Schreber was a distinguished jurist who was spent years in the Sonnenstein Asylum (Germany) at the end of the nineteenth century. Self-published in 1903, Memoirs of My Nervous Illness is still in print and has established Schreber as “the most quoted patient in psychiatry.” Starting with Freud and continuing to this day, Memoirs has inspired over a century of analysis, debate, and creative expression.

Richard Crow is an inter-disciplinary artist working in the field of experimental audio research, live performance and site-specific installation. He utilises sound and noise in a performative way, for its disruptive and subjective qualities and above all for its psycho-physical implications for the listener and viewer. His “Radio Schreber, Soliloques for Schziophonic voices” investigates the recurring theme of ‘hearing voices’ in sonic and literary works by paying homage to Daniel Paul Schreber’s Memoirs of My Nervous Illness.

Alex Pheby was born in Essex and moved to Worcester in his early childhood. He currently lives in London, where he teaches at the University of Greenwich. His first novel, Grace, was published in 2009 by Two Ravens Press. His second novel, Playthings – about the life of the Daniel Paul Schreber – was published in 2015 by Galley Beggar Press. Widely acclaimed in media from the Guardian to the New York Times, and called “the best neuro-novel ever written” in the Literary Review, Playthings was shortlisted for the 2016 £30,000 Wellcome Book Prize.

Angela Woods is Co-Director of the Hearing the Voice project, and a major contributor to the Hearing Voices exhibition on at Palace Green library until 25 February. She has written about Schreber in her book The Sublime Object of Psychiatry: Schizophrenia in Clinical and Cultural Theory (Oxford University Press, 2011), and has also blogged about Schreber and the bicentenary of the Sonnenstein Asylum.

Further information

‘An Evening with Daniel Paul Schreber’ is part of the linked programme of events around Hearing Voices: suffering, inspiration and the everyday, a major exhibition on voice-hearing produced by Hearing the Voice and Palace Green Library.

About Hearing Voices: suffering, inspiration and the everyday

Hearing a voice in the absence of any speaker is one of the most unusual, complex, and mysterious aspects of human experience. Typically regarded, as a symptom of severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia, voice-hearing is increasingly recognized as an important part of many people’s lives and experience, as well as a phenomenon that has had profound significance, not only for individuals, but across communities, cultures, and history.

From the revelatory and inspirational voices of medieval mystics to those of imaginary friends in childhood, and from the inner voices of writers as they craft their characters to the stories of people from the international Hearing Voices Movement, this exhibition will explore the complexity and diversity of the experience and interpretation of voice-hearing.

This exhibition draws on the work of Hearing the Voice, a large interdisciplinary study of voice-hearing based at Durham University and funded by the Wellcome Trust.

Hearing Voices: suffering, inspiration and the everday will be installed at Palace Green Library, Durham, UK from 5 November 2016 to 26 February 2017.

For more information please see the exhibition website:

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