Supervisors: Professor Judith Clark, Dr Claire Bunyan, Adam Phillips, Professor Hugh Haughton
Associations are our mental companions. They colour and shape our experiences from daily life with sensorial, emotional and psychological reminiscences from five minutes ago, last year or our childhood. They are nonlinear, infinite in their connections and do not know failure or success. The act of free association defines and connects us individually and collectively and allows us to explore how thoughts and beliefs were and are constructed.
Associations have rather anonymously been the vehicle of wanderings through the arts and humanities, and never formed the main subject of investigation. This research explores the practice of free association (established by Sigmund Freud and Josef Breuer) as applied to the arts and humanities and creative practice from late 19th century to present day.
Through an interdisciplinary scope and the pairing of case studies, theorists and creatives from disciplines such as linguistics, philosophy, psychoanalysis, art history, literature, curation, film and theatre come together in an atlas of close readings. Using free association to bring critical and creative writing methodologies together, this research develops a new, more interdisciplinary mode of academic writing.
Aims and Objectives
- To understand the origins, concepts and processes of free association. Mapping the origins and characteristics of free association, and documenting the adaptation and development of free association within the arts and humanities from late 19th century to present day.
- To examine how free association has influenced creative practice from the 19th century to present day, creating interdisciplinary pairings of case studies, and exploring the incorporation of free association within their oeuvres through close reading.
- To explore how free association can make current academic practice more creative and interdisciplinary by experimenting with different forms of creative writing to present my close reading findings.
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