Sanity, Madness and the Family/’Family Life’: An Urgent Retrospective

Birkbeck Cinema, Friday 24 April, 2015, 1pm–9pm

It’s just over fifty years since the publication of Sanity, Madness and the Family, R.D. Laing’s and Aaron Esterson’s groundbreaking study of ‘schizophrenia’ in eleven young women. Birkbeck Research in Aesthetics of Kinship and Community (BRAKC) and the Birkbeck Guilt Working Group have organised a one-day symposium at Birkbeck Cinema, 43 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PD, on Friday 24 April 2015 (1pm–9pm) to discuss the lasting impact of that book.

Do people still read it? Why is it almost never referred to in psychotherapy trainings in this country? How have the ideas it introduced been either absorbed into or rejected by clinical, academic and more general discourses about the family and mental/emotional illness?

Andrew Aisbong, co-director of BRAKC, will facilitate the event, and participants include SITE member Chris Oakley, as well as Jacqui Dillon, Robbie Duschinsky, Simon Fernando, Amber Jacobs, Oliver James, Lucy Johnstone, Lynne Segal and Anthony Stadlen.

The symposium will culminate in a screening at 7pm of Ken Loach’s 1971 film Family Life, introduced by the producer of that film, Tony Garnett.

Sanity, Madness & the Family poster