This special event reflects upon Mary Barnes’s life in Scotland, her deep connection to nature and her spiritual beliefs. Join us at Falkland in a celebration of her life and legacy, a place she lived and her final place of rest.

Co-hosted by Ninian Stuart (Keeper of Falkland Palace) and Professor Victoria Tischler, this event brings together therapists, friends and academics to reflect upon and celebrate Mary Barnes’s life and work. They are joined by creative arts worker Anthea McKinlay, developmental psychologist Dr Suzanne Zeedyk, music therapist George Francis, and Dr Huw Lloyd-Richards, Honorary Research Fellow, University of St Andrews.

About Mary Barnes

Mary Barnes (1923-2001) lived at Kingsley Hall from 1965-1970; a radical experiment in anti-psychiatry led by the Glaswegian psychiatrist R. D. Laing. There, Barnes was encouraged to regress to a child-like state to ‘live through’ her psychosis and recover from mental illness. Encouraged by clinician Dr Joe Berke, Barnes became a prolific artist, primarily using her fingers to apply paint to canvas, wallpaper backing paper, and found objects.

Barnes lived in Scotland from 1985 until the end of her life, including a period in Falkland. This was an important time in her life and her funeral took place in the Chapel Royal in 2001. She was laid to rest in Falkland Estate’s cemetery.

The Three Stages of Sacrifice (1991) - Artwork by Mary Barnes
The Three Stages of Sacrifice (1991) by Mary Barnes. Courtesy of Falkland Estate.

About the Speakers

George Francis

George lives next to the palace in Falkland, and shares a wall with the room where many of Mary Barnes’s paintings have been stored. He is a singer-songwriter and music therapist with a particular interest in religious and archetypal imagery. Here he will be performing some of his music and exploring the inspiration that links his own story with Mary’s.

Huw Lloyd-Richards

Huw was the first Director of the Glasgow Association for Mental Health. He later moved to the Scottish Office and in 1988 was appointed as the first HM Social Work Commissioner in the Mental Welfare Commission. He was Founder member of the World Federation for Mental Health in Europe. He was appointed as a Fellow in Leadership development at the Kings Fund in 1993. 

Anthea McKinlay

Anthea created writing with hundreds of people living with dementia in care homes, enabling them to be authors of their own words, thoughts and stories in their own small published books. Anthea was a friend of Mary’s in Falkland.

Ninian Stuart

Ninian was a friend of Mary Barnes. Following an initial introduction through RD Laing in 1983, Mary moved to Falkland for a number of years in the 80s and 90s. Ninian worked with Mary on a range of projects. He is Keeper of Falkland Palace and custodian of a large collection of Mary’s paintings.

Professor Victoria Tischler 

Victoria Tischler is Professor of Behavioural Science at the University of Surrey. She is a Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society. Her research focuses on creativity and mental health. She curated the exhibition Mary Barnes: Rebirth and Revolution and presented a series of radio programmes ‘Art from the outside’ on BBC3 radio (2023) in which Barnes was one of the featured artists. She was a close friend of Joe Berke, who worked with Barnes when she was resident at Kingsley Hall.

Dr Suzanne Zeedyk

Artist Mary Barnes believed that struggles in her childhood contributed to the considerable emotional difficulties that she (and her brother) experienced in adulthood.  She was right.  The extensive scientific evidence we now have about childhood trauma helps in making sense of her life and her art.  Developmental psychologist Dr Suzanne Zeedyk has spent her career engaged in trying to help make this evidence accessible to the public.  The story of Mary Barnes’ life offers an unusual and tender way of recognising the fundamental necessity of emotional connection in human lives.

Rebirth & Revolution: The Life and Legacy of Mary Barnes is presented in partnership with the Falkland Estate, the University of Glasgow, the University of Surrey, and the Wellcome Collection.

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The Chapel Royal
Falkland Palace
Falkland KY15 7BY
The Chapel Royal is accessible via steep stairs and therefore we regret that the venue is not suitable for those with limited mobility.
Includes themes of mental illness, emotional trauma and recovery.
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