Preview: Freud Symposium


Right, on paper this could seem like a bit of a hard sell. An academic symposium on the broad themes that have arisen from Sigmund Freud’s visits to Blackpool, the correlation of the fairground in his work that can be discerned in film, literature and the visual arts… sounds a little off putting, it could be said, but do read on.

The Grundy art gallery’s new curator, Richard Parry, has fearlessly created a symposium of artists, screenwriters, archivists, professors, poets and playwrights to further explore the current show, Zoe Beloff’s Dreamland to a far greater depth.  Armed with this deeper knowledge, it’s hoped attendees can then relate the themes of ‘The Fairground’ and Freud’s dream interpretations to the observation of the masses and contemporary culture. This wider breadth of information will not only add new depths and nuance to the Dreamland show, but also allow us a glimpse behind the curtain of our psychological and cultural associations with the fairground.

This symposium is the first of what is hoped to be a long running series. The Grundy’s commitment to bringing a new and varied selection of events to Blackpool is embodied by what looks to be an fascinating day long event. It is a ticketed and paid event (an unfortunate necessity to cover costs and the quality of the speakers) but at £15/£10 for students/jobseekers it’s not pricing itself out of the market. The ticket price also includes lunch and food from the intriguing culinary art experimenters MOUTH. Tickets are limited and I would say early booking is advisable.

Dreamland’s artist Zoe Beloff is joined by professor and film documentary maker Michael Eaton, cultural and media professor Scott Wilson and Vanessa Toulmin, who is the director of the National Fairground Archive.  There will be a culinary performance by MOUTH and a performance of local poet and playwright, David Riley’s, new play ‘Memories, Dreams, Reflections’ which will be one of the highlights of a fascinating day.

Living in Blackpool under the shadow of the Pleasure Beach, we all have a very real and some could argue reliant connection to ‘The Fairground’ in our daily lives. An exploration of the deeper themes this creates make this symposium truly relevant and a must attend event.

Freud in Blackpool Symposium is on 2 November between 10am and 5.30pm
Tickets are available from the Blackpool Grand Theatre.

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