Edward Adamson Collection Talk at Vout-0-Reenee

Welcome to another blog post. I hope you have been checking out most of my blog site as you might already be aware that this site is aimed at those interested in mental health, however a fair bit of the blog site is about mental health through a carers eyes.

Anyway with this particular blog post, I am back over in the art world and I am not sure if you have managed to check out one of my videos on World Mental Health Day 2014, but at the last section of the video I attended a talk by Dr David O Flynn who is the head of the Adamson Collection the largest collection of Psychotherapeutic art.

I thought that this time I wanted to hear more about the Edward Adamson collection, so I attended another event on the 12th of Novemeber 2014. The event was held over at Vout-0-Reenee located over in Tower Hamlets, which is a lovely club where people can swap ideas on art and also attend events on art, poetry and creativity.

Art club

The club is run by Sophie Parkin and her Dutch husband Jan Vink. The club also has a lovely art gallery where many of the paintings I managed to view.

Matthew Mckenzie

After a while David who is a psychiatrist over at Lambeth Hospital begun his talk about Edward Adamson and Edward’s art collection, but who is Edward Adamson?

Dr David O Flynn

Edward Adamson was a British artist, and he is known as the father of Art Therapy and also the creator of the Adamson Collection. Edward Adamson died 3 February 1996, but he left a legacy on Psychotherapeutic art.


Edward main emphasis was on using art to heal people, that being where the inpatients of the asylums would use art as a way to try and slowly recover from mental ill health. The sad thing is that patients of the asylums would be closed off from the world or society and so art therapy was critical for those shut away from others.


Edward Adamson worked alone with 100s of people where he helped them to create and express themselves in art.

The one thing I ve noticed when David does his talks is how he mentions that creativity can lead to healing and I sincerely agree with him. Edward also viewed art as something not to be over examined or analysed. The main thing was to get the patients to just create things and project themselves into their art.

The Adamson collection has had a wide media coverage, exhibition and a festival. The collection is comprised of over 5,000 paintings, drawings, sculpture and ceramics produced by patients who worked with him from 1946 to the mid-1990s.


Talking about festivals. There was a Adamson Arts Festival held over at South London and Maudsley where the festival took placed over at the Maudsley Learning center around mid 2014.

The festival was joined by RAW Sounds, which is a project of creative media sessions for people accessing mental health services, open to young people and adults between the ages of 16-65 accessing mental health services.

David talked about how the collection was placed in Lambeth hospital, but after a while the art became in danger of being neglected. There were 4,500 unframed paintings that was needed to be placed in a safe location.


David managed to have the Wellcome Library relocate a large number of paintings to a safer storage facility.


Throughout the talk, I was very impressed on how much David talked about the use of Art as therapy and his knowledge about Edward Adamson’s view on art. David talked more about the number of different types of art collections from Edward Adamson.

David also talked about the patients work of art and how Edward’s paintings have a strong representation of women.

At the talk we were shown a film called “Insulin Coma Dreams”, which showed more about the Adamson Arts festival, this film was directed and filmed by Andrew locke, who also gave a talk about the film and what it represents.

Andrew Locke

Andrew locke who is an expert by experience was also inspired by work of Adamson, so he made the film on the closing event of the Edward Adamson Festival.


All in all I enjoyed the presentation and talk by David and Andrew, there was lots to learn about the collection. What is more impressive is the energy and dedication by those who wish for people’s works of art to live on.

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