social dreaming illustration

If dreams are in part the expression of our unconscious, can we work with the archive as the unconscious of organisational life?

What then happens when we begin to excavate, dislodge, relocate, reassemble the uncovered records of over 70 years of pioneering social science practice?

How will this affect the organisation, what impact does this have on the library that takes on the material?

What is the relationship with the world we live in now?

These are all reasonable questions and emerging hypotheses in the work of a TIHR researcher or consultant and so we have decided to take up the exploration of these questions for the TIHR Archive 2017’s first public events. We will be doing do this through a participative practice that embodies the Tavistock tradition, Social Dreaming.  Social Dreaming was developed by Gordon Lawrence as a way to help groups, organisations, and society to collaboratively connect with, make sense of and work through their collective unconscious.

We would like to invite blog readers, potential researchers, friends, associates of the Tavistock Institute and Wellcome Library to join us in this work.

The six Social Dreaming Matrices (SDM) will take place in the Wellcome Collection’s Reading Room during June and July. As a group, we will explore and discuss our overnight dreams to see what collective meanings we can find. We will associate with dreams to consider what they might tell us about our shared experiences and understandings.

Participation in the SDMs will be voluntary and unregistered, meaning that people can drop in and drop out as they wish.  The story of each social dreaming event will be written up collectively and posted on the TIHR archive blog following each session; all dreams and dreamers will be fully anonymised.

Join us to share your dreams:

Friday, 24th June, 2.00 – 3.15pm

Thursday, 30th June, 2.00 – 3.15pm

Thursday, 7th July, 7.00 – 8.15pm

Thursday 14th July, 7.00 – 8.15pm

Tuesday 19th July, 1.00 – 2.15pm

Thursday, 28th July, 3.00 – 4.15pm

Wellcome Collection is a free visitor destination for the incurably curious. Located at 183 Euston Road, London, it explores the connections between medicine, life and art in the past, present and future. The venue offers visitors exhibitions and collections, lively public events, the world-renowned Wellcome Library, a café, a bookshop, conference facilities and a members’ club.

We really look forward to continuing the conversation there (and here).

Curious to find out more about social dreaming in practice?

  • Read more about a social dreaming project run by TIHR for organisers of Tent City University, the educational arm of the social protest movement, Occupy London, 2011.
  • Explore the Tent City social dreaming blog
  • Visit the Gordon Lawrence foundation website

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Events and engagement, Reflections and Practice, Responding and Researching


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