Sound of mind? Music as therapy in the nineteenth century lunatic asylum

6 November 2017, 17:30 - 18:30
Cambridge campus

Abstract picture of mans head with musical notes

Speaker: Dr Rosemary Golding (The Open University)

Rosemary Golding is a Staff Tutor and Lecturer in Music Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, Open University.

Rosemary studied for a BA and MSt at Merton College, Oxford, and completed her PhD at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her research has focussed on the history of music as an academic discipline during the nineteenth century, and on the status of music and musicians, particularly through professional institutions and accreditation. More recently, she has begun work on a new project investigating the relationships between music, health and wellbeing in nineteenth-century Britain.

Abstract: The approach taken to care and treatment of the mentally ill altered dramatically around the turn of the nineteenth century. Where previously only the rich had been able to afford designated care in private asylums, where the approach focussed on containment rather than cure, the late eighteenth century saw a move towards ‘moral management’ of the insane, aiming towards treatment and potentially cure through careful control of every aspect of patients’ lives. From the early nineteenth century large public asylums, catering for pauper lunatics, were established, with institutions for the middle classes following, together with an increased regulation and medicalisation of mental illness. The move towards a concern for the quality of life of patients included the provision of occupations and entertainments, and in many institutions music played an important part. This talk will examine the many ways in which music was incorporated into the life of both pauper and private asylums. In particular, I will consider the role of music as a therapy, and the ways in which music contributed to new methods of treating and understanding mental illness during this period.

Event Details

6 November 2017, 17:30 - 18:30
Cambridge campus
Jerome Booth Music Therapy Centre. Young Street

No booking is required for this event.