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Asylums: Hygge or Scandi Noir?

Asylums: Hygge or Scandi Noir? by Dr Janet Bjorn

This talk draws attention to the idea of “moral treatment” in the 19th Century asylums. This proposed that all asylums of the period should have values which encouraged, entertained and employed the patients i.e. “ hygge” a Danish word meaning roughly “ comfortable”. However, “ Scandi noir” is more likely to describe the patients’ experiences as there was little privacy or recognition of individual needs.

During the talk, Dr Bjorn compares UK facilities for patients with mental illness over the past millennium with those in Denmark, a place which is close to her heart. She focuses on the asylum at Haywards Heath, and the impact that has had upon the local community.

In earlier centuries asylums (“places of refuge”) varied considerably; even well known Bedlam/Bethlem resembled the Palace of Versailles at one time. However its contemporaneous counterparts in Denmark could only be described as “ Snake-Pits”.

About the Speaker

Dr Janet Bjorn is a retired qualified Consultant Neuropsychiatrist. She spent 25 years working in child mental health disorders, specialising in brain injury and neurodisability.

She is speaking on behalf of Action Medical Research, a UK-wide charity funding vital research to help sick and disabled babies and children. We have been funding medical breakthrough since we began more than 65 years ago and have helped beat polio in the UK, fight meningitis, prevent stillbirths and develop ultrasound scanning in pregnancy.

Talk Details

The talk is on Thursday 28th September at 7:30pm.

The talk will take place at East Grinstead Museum. 

Tickets are £6.

Tickets can be ordered from Eventbrite, please use the Book Online Button below.

If you book, and then are unable to attend, please get in contact with the museum as soon as possible, so we can offer your tickets to others.

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