Institute of Inner Vision

Outside by Dolly Sen
Image still from 'Outside' written and directed by Dolly Sen

The Institute of Inner Vision was set up at London College of Communication within the University of the Arts London in 2013 to engage the public in academic research at the interface of artistic practice and mental health conditions.

The primary aim of the Institute is to create and curate programmes of moving image, performance and public engagement exploring individual and collective inner visions.

This initiative endeavours to bring artists, academics, and audiences - with or without lived experiences of mental health conditions - into the heart of interdisciplinary art-science research and artistic practice.

The Institute’s areas of interest include to date:

  • Stimulating debate on the causes and consequences of mental distress as well as exploring its aesthetics
  • Interrogating the discourses around normality and abnormality on which concepts of pathology are based
  • Promoting greater awareness of social, biomedical and artistic solutions to some of our most important questions of health and wellbeing
  • Challenging stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness


  • Generate and support individual creative insights and self-therapeutic approaches to psychiatric conditions through the convergence of scientific knowledge, individual experience, artistic practice and perception.
  • Work with photography and film to transform the perception of people with mental health conditions by the general public as well as promoting empowerment, personal development and wellbeing through artistic expression.
  • Create opportunities for research, education and public engagement through exhibitions, festivals and collaboration with arts organisations, NHS mental health services, community groups and other academic institutions.


Cinema is an ideal art form for the expression of inner states and the subjective and psychological experience. Moving image, photography and film are often described as reflecting the modalities of human thought; parallels have been drawn between its perceptual field, the movements of consciousness, mechanisms of the unconscious and the dream state.

At the interface of film and photography, medicine and education, the Institute of Inner Vision and its partners research the convergence of scientific knowledge and artistic understanding in pursuing creative goals of social significance and public engagement.

Film Projects


The first series of commissioned films were premiered in 2013 at the launch of the Institute of Inner Vision, as part of The Wellcome Trust’s Wonder in Film 'Cinema and Psychosis' event at the Barbican, London.

Anixety Arts Festival

Sal Anderson co-curated screenings of ‘Safe’, ‘Solaris’ and ‘Waltz with Bashir’, in collaboration with Anxiety 2014 Festival, a project of the Mental Health Foundation, with curator Johnathan Keane and clinicians from the Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma (CADAT) Kings College London, and University College London.

Shuffle Festival

Two of the Institute of Inner Vision commissioned films ‘Outside’ and ‘Adam +1’ were screened in the short film programme at the 2014 Shuffle Festival, curated by Dr Vaughan Bell at the Institute of Psychiatry.

Pilot Event

The pilot workshop was hosted by London College of Communication in April 2010 in conjunction with staff and service users from MIND.

The event consisted of technical training, filmmaking workshops and short films produced and screened as part of a collaboration between LCC, the BFI and MIND under the aegis of the BFI Southbank season “Psycho: A Classic in Context”.

Attended by mental health professionals, service users, film practitioners and the general public, the event culminated in a debate which saw an overwhelming desire for film training to be provided for those with experience of mental health issues. Film training was envisaged as key to ‘having a voice’, increasing confidence and self-worth, influencing public perception and countering stigma.


Sal Anderson, Reader in Interdisciplinary Science-Art Film and Director of the Institute of Inner Vision.