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Mansions in the Orchard 2: Focus group for Bethlem site users

Last month, we announced a new project the Archives & Museum are undertaking, exploring life in the twentieth-century Bethlem Hospital, supported by a Wellcome Trust People Award. We have already started the research: historian Jennifer Walke is collecting oral histories from former site users, while photographer Max Reeves has begun documenting the physical changes to the buildings. An exhibition coming up in January 2014 in the Bethlem Gallery will showcase some of this work.

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We would like to invite everyone who knows or uses the Bethlem site to get involved in the creation of this exhibition, through several events on the hospital site on Monday 18 November. A drop-in session in the morning will give you the chance to explore your artistic talents, by annotating new photographs of the buildings and grounds to reflect your experiences of Bethlem. We will also have a “photo booth” available for you to bring objects that symbolise Bethlem or mental health to you.

If you are or have been a member of staff or patient at Bethlem, you are also very welcome to attend the afternoon session. This small focus group will explore questions about the hospital in greater depth, with participants sharing stories in response to photographs. This session will be recorded, and added to the Bethlem Archive, so that your experiences of the site remain a part of its history.

Date: Monday 18 November

Location: Restaurant Meeting Room

Light refreshments will be provided free of charge at both sessions.

Session 1: Photography, 11.00 – 13.30

All welcome to attend: drop-in at any time during the session. Refreshments and materials will be provided. You are welcome to bring additional photographs of the site and its buildings if you have any. If you would like to use the photo booth, please bring an object or objects that symbolise Bethlem to you.

Session 2: Focus Group, 2.30 – 4.00

A facilitated discussion, exploring your experiences of the Bethlem site in response to photographs. You must have worked or been a patient at Bethlem to participate. Spaces are limited, so please register your interest by contacting us.