About

Researcher, Artist / Art Director, Consultant, Speaker, Survivor Activist

My work weaves creative approaches with scientific methods (and vice-versa) and focuses on trauma - often with an activist agenda. The commonality in all that I do is a shift in the dynamics: I believe that trauma survivors are not powerless broken individuals - we are survivors who have the power and the resources to lead our own healing and growth, and contribute to the healing and growth of our communities and the world at large.

So what do I do?

My research focuses on embodied experiences of living with the sequelae of  trauma and novel body-based and survivor-led interventions to support healing and growth. I developed a trauma-focused movement language (TFML), a survivor-led embodied process of co-creating intra-relational and inter-relational healing and empowerment (Fischer, 2019), for which I received a NIHR CLAHRC NWL Improvement Leader Fellowship. You can find out more about TFML here.

Through arts, I raise awareness, open dialogues, and create spaces for survivors to reclaim and redefine sociocultural narratives of trauma on their own termsThis creative voice is not only a testimony to the reality and complexity of trauma: it is a testimony of empowerment and hope, and a stepping stone toward positive change. My artworks, films, and performances have been shown in the UK and internationally at venues including the Whitechapel Gallery, the BFI, and the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival, among others, and some of my work is held in the Central Saint Martins Museum Collection. See more of my art here.

With talks and lectures, I discuss, teach, and aim to inspire action on matters related to violence and abuse, trauma healing and growth, radical vulnerability, arts as activism, arts for health, survivor leadership, lived experience in mental health research, and more. I have given a number of talks, including several keynotes and TEDx, and I regularly lecture at Central Saint Martins, UCL, and QMUL. I also use my voice through the written word with texts that are sometimes academic and sometimes creative. I have notably been published by The Lancet Psychiatry, Palgrave, and House Sparrow Press.

I also provide consultancy to organisations, institutions, researchers, and practitioners on arts for health, arts as activism, trauma-informed practice, strength-based approaches to trauma, survivor-led research and patient and public involvement (PPI). I believe that by ensuring science and clinical practice are informed by lived experience and reflective of the power of survivors, we are ensuring that these are timely, meaningful, and relevant to people's lives. I am currently Patient and Community Involvement Lead for the NIHR ARC National Priorities for Mental Health.

Finally, I facilitate workshops on trauma, body-to-brain connections, healing and growth, visual arts, dance movement, and yoga. My Trauma-Focused Movement Language workshops are offered specifically to self-referred trauma survivors, but many of my workshops, classes, and retreats are open to all - as everyone can benefit from nurturing creativity, self-empowerment, and wellbeing.

Affiliations

Laura Fischer
Trauma
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  • Special Lecturer / Seminar Lead: Central Saint Martins, UCL, QMUL, King's College London

  • Honorary Research Associate, King's College London

  • Editorial Advisory Board Member, The Lancet Psychiatry

  • Editorial Board Member, QI4U

  • Improvement Leader Fellow (2017) / Honorary Research Fellow (2019), NIHR CLAHRC NWL

  • Member, Violence Abuse and Mental Health Network

  • Member, UAL Creative Practices, Education, and Wellbeing Research Network

Speaker TED
Trauma art exhibition
Trauma book

Conferences

2021        Speaker, Annual Scientific Meeting, NIHR School for Public Health Research, webinar

2021        Speaker, Annual Conference, Public Health England, webinar

2021        Speaker, Violence, Abuse and Mental Health Network Event, VAMHN, webinar

2021        Speaker, Youth mental health and COVID-19, Emerging Minds / The Centre for Society and Mental Health, webinar

2020        Speaker, Mad Hearts: The Arts and Mental Health, Queen Mary University of London, webinar

2020        Speaker, Understanding Violence, Abuse and Mental Health, VAMHN, webinar

2020        Panelist, Mental Health Question Time: Should culture be prescribed on the NHS?, London, UK

2019        Plenary Speaker, Royal College of Psychiatrist Annual Conference for NW England, Nottingham, UK

2019        Speaker & Panelist, Vulnerability and Resistance Symposium, Central Saint Martins, London, UK

2019        Keynote Speaker, Brunel Occupational Therapy Conference, Brunel University, London, UK

2019        Plenary Speaker, Wellbeing Event, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London, UK

2018        Plenary Speaker, Journée Romande des Soins Infirmiers, healthcare conference, Lausanne, Switzerland
2018        Keynote Speaker, The Bigger Picture: Activism, Social Practice & Art, Central Saint Martins, London, UK

2018        Keynote Speaker, Sheffield Healthcare Improvement Event, Sheffield NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK
2018        Panelist, Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival, Glasgow, UK
2018        Speaker & Panelist, MCA Expo, Sheffield, UK
2018        Plenary Speaker, Collaborative Learning Event, NIHR CLAHRC NWL, London, UK
2017        TEDx Talk Speaker, The Happy Generation, TEDxULB, Brussels, Belgium
2017        Speaker, Future Citizen Innovation Series, Amazon WS, London, UK
2016        Speaker, Kent Mental Health Festival, Folkestone, UK

Exhibitions, Screenings, Performances

 

2019        Exhibition (led + curated),Traumatised Selves: A Collective Voice, Willesden Gallery, London, UK

2019        Film Screening, Trauma and Resistance, Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK

2018        Film Screening, Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival, Glasgow, UK

2018        Film Screening, Mental Health Arts and Film Festival, Lisbon, Portugal

2018        Film Screening, national television, Switzerland

2017        Exhibition (solo), The Traumatised Self, Willesden Gallery, London, UK

2017        Exhibition (duo), The Character of Physical Law, Willesden Gallery, London, UK

2017        Exhibition (solo), The Traumatised Self, MRC SGDP Centre, KCL, London, UK

2017        Exhibition (group), Central Saint Martins Museum, London, UK
2017        Film Screening, Central Saint Martins, London, UK
2016        Performance (site-specific promenade / collab.), RAH outreach program, Royal Albert Hall, London, UK
2016        Film Screening & Live Score, Silence is Screaming, with Sinfonietta Orchestra, Southwark  Playhouse, UK

2016        Exhibition (trio), Focal Perception, ArtMoorHouse, London, UK

2015        Film Screening & Live Score, Winking Through The Gardens, with London Sinfonietta Orchestra, BFI, UK

2015        Exhibition (group), Femme, 1650 Gallery, Los Angeles, USA

2014        Performance (durational / collab.), O&O, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK

2013        Performance (site-specifc promenade / collab.), Toynbee, Toynbee Studios, London, UK

2013        Exhibition (group), Waters, 1650 Gallery, Los Angeles, USA

2013        Exhibition (group), Central Saint Martins, London, UK

2011        Performance (ballet), Rodin, Théatre de Beausobre, Morges, Switzerland

2010        Exhibition (solo), Body Language, Metropolis, Morges, Switzerland

2010        Performance (ballet), Maupassant, Temple, Morges, Switzerland

2010        Performance (ballet), Ballet de la Côte, Théatre de St Prex, St Prex, Switzerland

2009        Performance (ballet), Festival de la Danse, St Prex, Switzerland

2008        Exhibition (solo), Body Language, Le Tempo, Yverdon, Switzerland

2005        Exhibition (solo), Body Language, Art Gallery Casamundo, Morges, Switzerland

 

Publications

Duncan F., McGrath M., Baskin C., Osborn D., Dykxhoorn J., Kaner E., Gnani S., LaFortune L., Lee C., Walters K., Fischer L., Jones O., Pinfold V., Stansfield J., Oliver E. On behalf of the NIHR SPHR Public Mental Health Programme. (2020). ‘Delivery of community centred public mental health interventions in diverse areas in England: a mapping study protocol’, BMJ Open, 10:e037631.

 

Fischer, L. (2019). ‘On My Work: Trauma-Focused Movement Language’, The Lancet Psychiatry, 6(12), pp.991-993.

 

Matthews R., Green S., Myron R., French C., Barber S., Dionne M.,  Sandra J. and Fischer, L. (2019). ‘Connections: the power of learning together to improve healthcare in the United Kingdoms.’ in: Patient Engagement: How Patient-provider Partnerships Transform Healthcare Organizations. Organizational Behaviour in Healthcare. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 129-167.

Fischer, L. (2019). ‘Violence and Trauma: A Societal Reality We Are All Responsible For’, in Perriman, B. Doorways. London: House Sparrow Press, pp. 96-103.

 

Fischer, L. (2018). ‘Amygdala,’ in Poésie en Mouvement, Arythmie, pp. 54-57.

Awards

2018        Winner, Mental Health Arts and Film Festival of Portugal, Lisbon, Portugal
2017        NOVA Award Nominee, Central Saint Martins, London, UK
2011        BCV Award for Academic Excellence, Morges, Switzerland

2008        Award for Visual Arts, Morges, Switzerland

2008        Award for Photography, Morges, Switzerland

2008        Award for Political Science, Morges, Switzerland