Intimacy Unguarded

Lindsay Seers
Lindsay Seers

Intimacy Unguarded: Autobiography, Biography, Memoir

Principal Investigators: Dr Joanne Morra and Emma Talbot
College: Central Saint Martins

Project summary

Drawing on the work of artists, writers, and critical theorists this project explores creative and critical approaches to autobiography, biography and memoir. Intimacy Unguarded examines how autobiography operates as a creative space, the use of biography in contemporary art, and the persuasive voice of memoir as a bridge between factual events and imagination.

Aiming to acknowledge the power and function of the subjective as material, this project provides a platform for determining what is at stake for artists and writers who articulate personal, inner worlds to an audience today. Whether in the form of autobiography or memoir, the overlap and simultaneity of intimacy and publicity, questions of authenticity, truth, memory and the reconstruction of events are paramount.

Given biography’s potential as a reflective document and elegy, Intimacy Unguarded also considers its adoption and adaptation by contemporary artists as a non-didactic fragmented form.

Event: Intensive Journal Workshop

Tate Modern, January 10, 2017, 2-4pm.


Intimacy Unguarded, the CSM research project organised by Fine Art staff Emma Talbot and Joanne Morra, investigates the uses of personal material in the production of Art and Writing. In this event, Intimacy Unguarded reconstructs the famous Intensive Journal Workshop developed by psychologist Ira Progoff. The workshop helped to draw material from a person’s life to be used for making Art, Writing or simply reflection. Not focusing solely on the contents but on ‘one’s interior relationship to those contents’, the process enables a deep reflection on how we have come to be who we are. The Intensive Journal Workshop was highly influential on writers such as Anaïs Nin, who wrote an essay on the value of Progoff’s work.

This event outlined the basic steps used by Progoff, and introduce a number of key exercises from the original programme, to open out the use of autobiography for artists, writers, or any interested participant.

The Intensive Journal Workshop was a part of THIS IS AN ART SCHOOL  as part of Tate Exchange at the Tate Modern Switch House which ran from January 9-14. 

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