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Centre for Comedy Studies Research (CCSR) Research Seminar Series 2014/15 ‘Comedy, Health and Disability’ – Seminar 1

To celebrate their 1st birthday, the Centre for Comedy Studies Research (CCSR) are holding their first Comedy Matters Research Seminar for 2014-15.

Date: Wednesday 8th October 2014

Time: 4.00pm-5.30pm with a drinks reception/birthday party 5.30pm-6.30pm

Location: Mead Room, Hamilton Centre, Brunel University London, Uxbridge, Middlesex, UB8 3PH

Seminar 1 = Comedy and Mental Health Symposium

This symposium will discuss comedy and its relationship to mental health, with speakers discussing the psychology of the stand-up comedian, the use of stand-up comedy in reducing mental health stigma in the military and uses of comedy with mental health service users.

Speakers: Gordon Claridge is Emeritus Professor of Abnormal Psychology, Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, Emeritus Fellow, Magdalen College, and Visiting Professor, Oxford Brookes University. Professor Claridge is an internationally renowned expert in the relationship between personality and psychological disorders, adopting a broadly dimensional view. Recently, he has been involved in research on the psychology of the stand-up comedian. More generally, his research on the relationship between personality and psychological disorders has been inspired, on the practical front, by working as a clinical psychologist and, on the academic front, by experimental research on the topic. In mid-career he began to focus particularly on psychotic disorders, developing measurement scales for assessing schizotypal characteristics in the general population and using these to examine laboratory correlates in a wide range of subject samples, including relatives of psychotic patients. The central thesis in all of this work is that, while genetically predisposing to mental illness, psychotic characteristics are not in themselves pathological. On the contrary, they may have many healthy adaptive qualities, of which creativity is the most salient example.

Tim Sayers works as one of the arts in health co-ordinators at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT). He has a background in mental health nursing, specialising in working with people with severe and enduring mental health problems and also with people with drug and alcohol problems. Tim has been involved with arts in mental health on a voluntary basis for approximately fifteen years; initially as a founder member of the Brainstorm Arts in Mental Health Group in Birmingham, then as the founder member of BrightSparks: Arts in Mental Health Group in 1999. BrightSparks is dedicated to promoting positive images of mental health through the arts and has an expanding portfolio of arts projects which are mainly delivered in partnership with LPT. Tim is dedicated to using the arts, in particular comedy, to promote positive images of mental health, social inclusion, and service user and carer involvement. Tim is studying for an MSc in Recovery and Social Inclusion at Nottingham University at present, and has had articles published in his field in the past. He has extensive experience of teaching and workshop leading and is also an experienced freelance performer and workshop leader in the fields of music, poetry, comedy, magic and circus skills.

John Ryan is a stand-up comedian and one of seven co-researchers at the Department for Military Mental Health, Kings College, London, on a project that examined ‘modifying attitudes to mental health using comedy as a delivery medium’ in the armed forces. The research aimed to use comedy to help persuade military personnel to seek help with mental health issues. John is also winner of the 2011 Scottish Mental Health and Arts Film Festival Best Short Documentary Award, the 2010 NHS Regional Health and Social Care award winner for Mental Health and Well Being and in 2010 received a Royal Society for Public Health Special Commendation for contributions to the field of Arts and Health Equalities.

We are pleased to announce that we have one £40 travel grant available for a low income researcher or PhD student attending this event. Please email Simon Weaver [simon.weaver@brunel.ac.uk] by Monday 29th September 2014 if you wish to apply.  To apply please send a short paragraph (max 250 words) explaining why you wish to attend the seminar.

For catering purposes please register at comedy.studies@brunel.ac.uk

Everyone very welcome!

For more information, please email Dr Sharon Lockyer (Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Communications + Director, Centre for Comedy Studies Research (CCSR), Brunel University, UK) [Sharon.Lockyer@brunel.ac.uk]

Twitter: @Comedy_Studies

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