Recent Opportunities


2nd Call: Session on mental healthcare facilities and heritage in 4th Biennial ACHS conference "Heritage Across Borders" (China, September 2018)

Submissions of papers are invited for the session “Crossing the Borders between Mental Health and Mental Illness: Spatial Practices and Related Heritage from 1900,” as part of the "Heritage Across Borders" 4th Biennial Conference of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies (ACHS).

The conference will be held at Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China, 1-6 September 2018.

The revised deadline for submission of papers is 31 December 2017.

Organizer: Dr Christina Malathouni, School of Architecture, University of Liverpool, United Kingdom (

For this session, please look at: Theme #3 “Tangible and Intangible”: Session 020 (


In December 2016, the World Health Organization launched a one-year campaign that focuses on “Depression”. Also announced as the main campaign under the broader scope of the 2017 World Health Day, such a choice underlines how mental health is an integral part of all health and evolves throughout the life-cycle with one in four people affected by a mental disorder at some point in their lives. Yet, is this side of human life adequately represented in heritage?

This session aims to challenge any perceptions or definitions of heritage as limited within the experiences and criteria set under the assumption of mental health and to the exclusion of mental illness. It aims to host an interdisciplinary debate on spatial practices and structures related to varying models of mental health care provision from 1900 onwards and to promote a diverse and inclusive re-evaluation of heritage criteria.

The session invites papers on global examples of planned or unplanned spaces that were created for, or adapted to, uses relating to mental health and mental illness from 1900 onwards. Such spaces may be promoting general mental well-being or dealing with defined mental disorders. They may cover any aspect of mental health services: from outpatient facilities, mental health day treatment facilities, psychiatric wards in a general hospital, community mental health teams, supported housing in the community, mental hospitals, to informal or domestic settings. Papers may discuss the built environment and its tangible heritage or intangible spatial practices and experiences.

The role that a diverse and inclusive approach to all heritage relating to mental health can play against stigmatisation will be central to the session discussion, as will also be a discussion of individual or collective memory and forgetting in relation to aspects of human history that are considered to constitute “difficult”, or “dark”, heritage. 
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