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14 September 2023

Artangel and King's College London collaboration to mark World Mental Health Day 2023

Series of film screenings from artist Marcus Coates explore lived experiences of psychosis take place at venues at IoPPN and Science Gallery London to coincide with World Mental Health Day 2023 on Tuesday 10 October.

Marcus Coates Artangel The Directors
Still from The Directors: Mark, Marcus Coates (2022)

To mark World Mental Health Day 2023, the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s College London (IoPPN) and Science Gallery London (SGL) are partnering with Artangel, one of the UK’s most prestigious arts organisations, to host a series of five films exploring lived experiences of psychosis.

Showing at a variety of venues at IoPPN and SGL between 10-12 Oct, The Directors is a collaboration between Artangel, artist Marcus Coates and five individuals in recovery from different lived experiences of psychosis. Following extensive one-to-one meetings with Coates, each individual chose a location of personal significance in which to film Coates embodying and performing particular aspects of their own experience. Positioned behind the camera, each individual directed Coates in a filmed restaging of particular episodes from their lives. During the filming, Coates received instructions from each director leading to a dialogue which remains a key element in each film.

Through The Directors, Coates’ intention was to find ways in which people can relate to the breadth and complexity of psychotic experiences and to help reduce cultural stigma around psychosis and mental health in general.

We are delighted to screen these films, which are truly extraordinary and unique glimpses of what it is like to live with psychosis. Our hope is that through these screenings we will show the audiences what psychosis is really like and counteract some of the misunderstandings and misinformation. The films will also bring new perspectives to our students and staff, who will be able to watch them along with the accompanying discussion panels afterwards through the Artangel resources at 'What’s Going On'.

Professor Sally Marlow, Professor of Practice in Public Understanding of Mental Health Research at IoPPN

On 10 October, IoPPN will host a free public screening at from 17:30-19.00 at Denmark Hill of one of the films, The Directors: Marcus, followed by a panel discussion between the artist Marcus Coates, the director Marcus Gordon, with contributions from clinicians and experts in psychiatry. A satellite event will take place at Guy’s campus at Science Gallery London (London Bridge) from

On 11-12 October the programme continues for King’s faculty and students, underlining the importance of this work in the context of academic learning, as well as staff from South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.

Full details of the public screenings are available on What’s Going On?, a new website created to highlight the project and share associated background materials as an educational resource, free of charge. All five films in the series are available on request via the website, which will continue to be updated with research, resources, and conversations.

My ongoing aim for The Directors is to help reduce the cultural stigma around mental health, psychosis in particular. This partnership with King's College London is an opportunity to share these films with the public and the next generation of psychiatric practitioners but also to create discussion amongst this professional community.

Marcus Coates, artist

The Directors was made with the support of a project advisory group, including Dr Isabel Valli, psychiatrist, neuroscientist and visiting fellow in the department of Psychosis Studies at IoPPN; Peter Bullimore, who spent ten years as a psychiatric patient; Charles Fernyhough, writer, psychologist and part-time Professor of Psychology at Durham University; Laura E. Fischer, artist, researcher, lecturer and mental health activist; David Harper, Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of East London; and Jo Loughran, a leader and strategic thinker with more than a decade of involvement with the UK charity sector, including Director at Time to Change.

For over thirty years, Artangel has generated some of the most widely discussed art of recent times, including prominent large-scale projects with artists who have become household names in the UK, including the likes of Jeremy Deller, Roger Hiorns, Michael Landy, Steve McQueen and Rachel Whiteread.

The Directors is part of The Artangel Collection, an initiative to bring outstanding film and video works, commissioned and produced by Artangel, to galleries and museums across the UK and internationally.

For more information about The Directors please visit the Artangel website here.

In this story

Sally  Marlow

Professor of Practice in Public Understanding of Mental Health Research