the pop-up institute

reducing stigma by means of creative arts therapies

Good news in difficult times! The Pop-up Institute, jointly designed by Lily Martin and myself, received third-party funding from the Volkswagen Foundation. The project is endowed with a total of 99,900 euros as part of the funding line World Knowledge: Structural Support for Rare Subjects (funding line 2: Science Communication). It is a cooperation project between the Alanus University of Arts and Social Sciences and the HKS – University of Applied Arts and Sciences in Ottersberg. It will take place in Berlin for a period of two years and is expected to begin in January 2021. The Pop-up Institute does science communication. Its goal is to reduce the stigma of mental illnesses using Creative Arts Therapies.

the stigma of mental illnesses

Within the general population, the lack of contact with and understanding of mental illnesses maintains a fearful atmosphere that fuels stigma and fosters social isolation of the people affected. The stigma and discrimination related to mental health problems is even considered “a second illness”.

the pop-up institute

The Pop-up Institute, a location-independent and project-based institute, tackles this social issue. It aims at reducing stigma and promoting empathy towards mental illness by communicating experiences of people affected via artistic media and methods of Creative Arts Therapies.

Collaborating with artists, creative arts therapists and people affected by mental illnesses, it systematically collects non-verbal and pre-reflective expe­riences within artistic media (movement or dance, visual art, music) and offers them to an audience in innovative forms of pre­sentations (e.g. exhibi­tion, performance). This creates a (kin)aesthetic experience and provides a sensual, pre-reflective access to phenomena, which elude verbal descrip­tion and comprehension.

schizophrenia and creative arts therapies

The first project of the Pop-up Institute focuses on one of the most severe mental disorders: Schizophrenia. Within a series of transdisciplinary workshops with a number of diverse collaborators an interactive exhibition is conceptualized, that will be presented at an exhibition space in Berlin. The goal of the exhibition is making schizophrenia tangible: How does it sound, smell, feel like to have schizophrenia? Creating tangible experiences can increase empathy and significantly reduce stigma towards the mentally ill (kinaesthetic empathy, resonance).

Find the Pop-up Institute at the Volkswagen Foundation website.

the project team

The core team of the Pop-up Institute are Lily Martin and me. Lily is a psychologist (M.Sc.), freelance journalist and research assistant at the Research Institute for Creative Arts Therapies (RIArT) at the Alanus University of Arts and Social Sciences. Since 2019 she has been doing her PhD at Heidelberg University (cand. phil.) with Prof. Dr. Dr. Thomas Fuchs and Prof. Dr. Joachim Funke.

The Pop-up Institute collaborates with various institutions:

We are very much looking forward to working with you!

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