About 

Researcher, Activist, Artist, Speaker, Writer, Lecturer, Consultant

All of these titles both correctly and incorrectly describe what I do. "Productive disruptor specialising in trauma" would be a more appropriate description. My work weaves scientific approaches with creative 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?

A key aspect of my work is developing novel interventions to respond to violence, abuse, and neglect. My main focus in this area is on the neurophysiology of childhood trauma and the use of creative body-based methods to both manage post-traumatic expressions and enable traumatic memories to be expressed and processed, thereby supporting healing. The theoretical basis is scientific, the practice is creative, the approach is survivor-led, and the applications are both clinical and non-clinical. For this work, I was awarded Improvement Leader Fellow by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) CLAHRC NWL.

 

Through arts, I raise awareness of trauma and rewrite narratives of violence and abuse on survivors' terms. I have exhibited my artworks and films in the UK and internationally since 2005 at venues such as Central Saint Martins Museum Collection, the Whitechapel Gallery, the BFI, and the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival, and I now also organise and curate group exhibitions by artists who identify with having experienced trauma. (See more of my art here.)

With talks and lectures, I discuss and aim to inspire action on matters related to violence and abuse, trauma healing and growth, mental health, radical vulnerability, arts as activism, arts for health, redesigning PPI, and more. I have spoken at conferences and events in the UK and Europe, including several keynote speeches and TEDx. I am a Special Lecturer at Central Saint Martins and UCL, and I give guest lectures at other universities. 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 work as a consultant in trauma-informed practice, interdisciplinary practice, and working with lived experience in mental health research and healthcare improvement (often called 'patient and public involvement' or PPI) - because I believe that the best way to ensure that science and clinical practice are relevant, timely, and meaningful is through the co-learning and partnership of expertise by experience and expertise by profession. Organisations and institutions I have worked with include the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, Northwick Park Hospital, King's College London, and Nesta, among others.

WHAT ELSE?

I serve on the Editorial Advisory Board of The Lancet Psychiatry, I am an Honorary Research Fellow of NIHR ARC NWL, I work as a Public Involvement Coordinator and Researcher with the McPin Foundation on the Public Mental Health research programme for England, and I am part of the Creative Practices, Education, and Wellbeing Community of Practice at the University of the Arts London.

Conferences & Talks

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 Health & Social Care 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 of Lived Experience, 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 Social Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry 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.), Royal Albert Hall outreach program, Royal Albert Hall, London, UK
2016        Film Screening & Live Score, Silence is Screaming, with London Sinfonietta Orchestra, Southwark Playhouse, London, UK

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

2015        Film Screening & Live Score, Winking Through The Gardens, with London Sinfonietta Orchestra, British Film Institute, London, 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

 

2020        Palgrave (forthcoming)
                Contributor to the book Patient Knowledge: A Cornerstone for the Transformation of Care and
 Health Organisations

2019        The Lancet Psychiatry
                On my work: Trauma Focused Movement Language

2019        House Sparrow Press
                Violence and Trauma: A Societal Reality We Are All Responsible For, essay written for the
 book Doorways

2018        CSM Public

                Trauma-Focused Movement Language, vol. 2, pp. 49

2018        Poésie en Mouvement

                Contributor to the book Arythmie

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

© Laura E. Fischer 2020

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