Ruth Barker focusing in on Anna Freud

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After spending time at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust (a research and practicing centre for mental health), Tall Tales artist in residence Ruth Barker has honed in on connections to Anna Freud. After learning more about Anna, the ‘father of psychoanalysis’ Sigmund Freud’s sixth child and a pioneering psychologist in her own right, Ruth was delighted to meet staff at the Freud Museum which has influenced her thinking further, with the museum and Anna Freud Centre being only a short walk from the Tavistock Centre.

Ruth has been looking into the relationship between the two psychoanalysts – in particular learning how as a result of Freud’s battle with cancer he ironically lost the ability to speak, with the ground-breaking, and possibly ‘mother’ of child psychology, but lesser known Anna eventually becoming his voice.

These connections are merely a starting point for Ruth in considering the development of new works that may include both video and performance. Ruth has returned to Glasgow to continue her research and development also looking into, as she often does with her practice, key classical figures whose stories, for Ruth resonate with the story of Anna Freud and her father, for example the story of Cassandra.

Meanwhile the Wewioraprojects curators have been back to London to spend some more time with the collection and wonderful Curator and Librarian Karma Percy at the Tavistock Centre, as well as meet with the Freud Museum ourselves learning about the rich Anna Freud archive. Alongside an additional visit to  discover the inner workings of the neighbouring Central School of Speech and Drama, where many students are engaged in voice studies, it appears that the potential connections across the work of these Swiss Cottage/ Finchley Road area institutions, contextual links for Ruth’s developing work and the wider Tall Tales programme are keeping busy minds even busier!

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