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Hearing Voices: What do we need to know?

11th September 2019 @ 1:00 pm - 5:45 pm

Hearing the Voice (Durham University) warmly invites you to join a public event which asks ‘Hearing Voices: What do we need to know?’.

The half-day symposium will celebrate the launch of Understanding Voices ­– a new website providing clear, comprehensive and balanced information about hearing voices – and explore visions for the future.

Developed over two years through extensive consultation and collaboration with voice-hearers, Understanding Voices reflects the current state of our collective knowledge and understanding of voice-hearing. But what do we not yet understand about voices? Which directions are we and should we be headed in? This event brings voice-hearers, their families and allies together with academics, activists and mental health professionals in order to explore future directions in voice-hearing research, advocacy, policy and clinical practice.

Conversations will be prompted by short presentations from people with diverse experiences and perspectives, both personal and professional:

  • Steph Allan (University of Glasgow) – Doctoral researcher with an interest in digital and participatory research in psychosis.
  • Dawn Edge (University of Manchester) – Researcher working on the interrelationship between mental and physical health and wellbeing.
  • Akiko Hart (Mind in Camden) – London Hearing Voices Project Manager, Committee Member of the English Hearing Voices Network and Chair of the International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis, UK.
  • James Kirkbride (University College London) – Psychiatric epidemiologist interested in social and environmental determinants of psychosis.
  • Colin King – Mental health survivor, practitioner, commissioner, trainer, teacher and researcher.
  • Sarah Parry (Manchester Metropolitan University) – Psychologist working with young people who hear voices.
  • Emmanuelle Peters (Kings College London) – Clinical academic psychologist working on voice-hearing in people with no need for psychiatric care.
  • Jason Poole (University of East London) – Set up and evaluated the UK’s first Hearing Voices Group at the Heathrow Immigrant Removal Centre
  • Elisabeth Svanholmer – Voice-hearer and mental health trainer.
  • Neil Thomas (Swinburne University of Technology) – Researcher specializing in hearing voices, psychosis and the therapeutic use of online, mobile and digital technology.
  • Rachel Waddingham – Voice-hearer, mental health trainer, researcher, and Chair of the Hearing Voices Network England.

There is no cost to attend, and a number of travel bursaries are available for peer support groups for people who hear voices and individuals with personal experience of voice-hearing. Please contact Rebecca Doggwilerfor more information.

The symposium will be followed by a wine reception.

We hope you can join us for what promises to be a rich and stimulating event.

About Understanding Voices

Understanding Voices (UV) is a new website that will make it easier for people to find information about different approaches to voice-hearing and ways of supporting those who are struggling with the voices they hear. It is being produced by Hearing the Voice (Durham University) in close collaboration with voice-hearers, their families and allies, and mental health professionals.

The website will cover a wide variety of topics, ranging from what it is like to hear voices and what’s happening in the brain, through to the pros and cons of medication, cognitive behavioural therapy and peer support. It will present practical techniques for managing distressing voices, information for families and friends, and also shed light on the links between voice-hearing and inner speech, trauma, creativity and spiritual or religious experience.

The website will launch on 11 September 2019. You can find out more about the project here.

About Hearing the Voice

Hearing the Voice is a large interdisciplinary study of voice-hearing, based at Durham University in the UK. Our project examines the experience of hearing voices from a range of different perspectives, including anthropology, cognitive neuroscience, history, linguistics, literary studies, medical humanities, philosophy, psychology and theology. We also work closely with voice-hearers, their families, allies and mental health professionals.

In addition to shedding light on the relations between hearing voices and everyday processes of sensory perception, memory, language and creativity, we are exploring why it is that some voices (and not others) are experienced as distressing, how they can change across the life course, and the ways in which voices can act as important social, cultural and political forces.

Hearing the Voice is funded by a Wellcome Trust Collaborative Award in Humanities and Social Sciences until 2020.


11th September 2019
1:00 pm - 5:45 pm
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Hearing the Voice, Durham University


The Assembly Rooms
Fenkle Street
Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear NE1 5XU United Kingdom
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