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Group Therapy invites readers to reconsider their perceptions of mental health, by asking how far our personal wellbeing is related to the values of the society we live in. In the 21st century, where many of our daily activities are mediated by digital devices, it focuses particularly on the impact of new technologies on our sense of self and our collective wellbeing.
Using provocations and personal testimonies, the book challenges conventional perceptions of mental illness, while offering practical advice on how to deal with contemporary problems such as internet addiction or mental health in the workplace. Written by artists, psychologists and health professionals, and building upon an exhibition at FACT, Group Therapy provides an accessible 'how to' guide for the contemporary day-to-day experience of mental health.
Vanessa Bartlett is a researcher, writer and curator currently based between London, Liverpool and Sydney, Australia. She is a PhD candidate at University of New South Wales, where her research explores digital art as a way of prompting audiences to reflect on their own mental health in the gallery space.
Vanessa's writing has featured in The Guardian and she has given lectures internationally in Belgrade, Ljubljana and Helsinki, as well as at prestigious UK venues like Tate Liverpool, The Arnolfini and The Science Museum, London.
In the past she has worked as a researcher and producer for two of the UK's most exciting digital media festivals: FutureEverything, Manchester and Abandon Normal Devices (part of the programme at FACT, Liverpool). She has also curated a number of successful exhibitions, including Slowness at Red Wire Gallery, which was highlighted as a must see exhibition by Times critic Rachel Campbell-Johnston.
Vanessa's research is motivated by her personal experience, which she first began to document April 2010 on a blog that was called Group Therapy. This blog explored the relationship between contemporary art, mental health and technology and laid the conceptual foundation for the Group Therapy exhibition. Vanessa is currently in the process of developing a project called What Can Art Do? that will serve as a platform for her ongoing work in art and mental health.