A Weekend of Discontent

As a contribution to the BBC Civilisations Festival, the Freud Museum is hosting a 'Weekend of Discontent'

Loading Events
  • This event has passed.

23 June, 2018, 12:00 pm - 24 June, 2018, 6:00 pm

£7 – £10

Book Now

Saturday 23 June: 12pm-5pm
Sunday 24 June: 12pm-6pm

Tickets are for general admission. Events will be taking place throughout the museum over the course of the weekend.

Inspired by art historian Kenneth Clark’s documentary series of the 1960s, the recent BBC Civilisations programmes told a story of beauty, diversity, creativity and achievement from cultures across the world and throughout history.

But there is another story of ‘civilisations’ which is about the cost of civilisation on the lives of those who inhabit them. This is the collective human condition that Freud explores in his book Civilisation and its Discontents (1930), which forms the inspiration behind ‘A Weekend of Discontent’ at the Freud Museum.

Academics and psychotherapists, poets and performers will challenge conventional wisdom by engaging with Freud’s landmark study to ponder some of the difficult questions it raises and investigate the relevance of Freud’s views to our troubled times.

What are the discontents of ‘civilised’ life today?



Download the full programme (PDF) here.

Speakers’ Biographies


Lisa Appignanesi is visiting Professor in Literature and Medical Humanities at King’s College London and Chair of the Royal Society of Literature. A novelist and writer, she is former chair of the Freud Museum and a former deputy director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. She is the author of many books, fiction and non-fiction, including The Things We Do for Love (a novel, 1997), Freud’s Women (with John Forrester, 1992) and Mad, Bad and Sad: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors from 1800 to the Present (2008). Her most recent books are All About Love: Anatomy of an Unruly Emotion (2011) and Trials of Passion: Crimes in the Name of Love and Madness (2014) She was elected Chair of the Royal Society of Literature in 2016 and is the Chair of the Man Booker International Prize 2018. She was for many years Chair of the Freud Museum London and President of English PEN.

Canon Dr Giles Fraser is the priest in charge of St Mary, Newington. He is a journalist and broadcaster. He was previously Canon Chancellor at St Paul’s Cathedral and a lecturer in philosophy at Wadham College, Oxford.

Stephan Feuchtwang is an emeritus professor of the Department of Anthropology at the London School of Economics. He has been engaged in research on popular religion and politics in mainland China and Taiwan since 1966, resulting in a number of publications on charisma, place, temples and festivals, and civil society. He has recently been engaged in a comparative project exploring the theme of the recognition of catastrophic loss, including the loss of archive and recall, which in Chinese cosmology and possibly elsewhere is pre-figured in the category of ghosts. Most recently he has been pursuing a project on the comparison of civilisations and empires.

Claudia Bernard is Professor of Social Work and Head of Postgraduate Research in the Department of Social, Therapeutic and Community Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her research interests  lie in the areas of social work with children and families, gender-based violence, critical race theory, equalities and social justice. She has written widely on these topics, including a book entitled Constructing Lived Experiences: Representations of Black Mothers in Child Sexual Abuse Discourses (2nd Edition, Routledge, 2017), and an edited collection with Perlita Harris, entitled Safeguarding Black Children: Good Practice in Child Protection (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2016). She is currently writing a book entitled Intersectionality for Social Workers: Theory and Practice for a Super-Diverse Society, to be published by Routledge in 2019.

Aaron Balick PhD is a psychotherapist, cultural theorist and author applying ideas from depth psychology to culture and technology. He is an honorary senior lecturer at the Department for Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies at the University of Essex (UK). His books include The Psychodynamics of Social Networking: connected-up instantaneous culture and the self and the illustrated children’s self-help book Keep Your Cool: how to deal with life’s worries and stress.  The Little Book of Calm: tame your anxieties, face your fears, and live free, was released in January of 2018. Aaron is the director of Stillpoint Spaces, a psychology, co-working, therapy, and events hub in London.


Fabian Peake is an artist and writer living and working in London. He has shown his paintings in the U.K. and internationally, including the U.S.A., Mexico, Europe and China. His painting and poetry are closely linked in the way that they are assembled – observation of the world around sparking ideas in both pursuits.

He is particularly interested in the conflicts that can occur when diverse images and ideas are combined in the same space – the canvas or the page.

Fabian Peake taught painting for many years in the U.K. and gave lectures in the U.S.A. and Mexico. He has published poems and articles in journals, magazines and newspapers. He published his first collection of poems a few years ago called ‘Loose Monk’. At the moment he is working on a commission for a war memorial at a London station.

Michelle Fisher is a writer and performer from Glasgow, currently based in London. She was a finalist in Words First; a national collaborative project between BBC Radio 1xtra and the Roundhouse. She has supported some of the UK’s top performers including Kate Tempest, Salena Godden, Hollie McNish, Elvis McGonagall and Luke Wright and was a Resident Artist at the Roundhouse 2017/18. Her work explores wider societal issues, such as class and poverty, and how these affect our every day lives. She had been commissioned by institutions such as BBC and Huffington Post, and has performed across the UK, from Aberdeen to Bournemouth.

Marika Mckennell is a London based actor, poet and playwright who works in a pupil referral unit in Hackney​. She graduated from Cambridge University in 2014 and has written shows for Camden People’s Theatre, Etcetera Theatre, Old Red Lion and The Roundhouse. Marika has performed her poetry at Bestival and Nozstock Festivals, Edinburgh Fringe, Sky Garden, Shaftesbury Theatre, and The Royal Court in the Open Court Festival. She was a member of the Royal Court Playwriting Group in 2016 and a Resident Artist at The Roundhouse 2017/18. Her solo poetry and theatre show ITCH, loosely based on stories gathered from old people’s centres and her community work in Hackney and Tottenham, will be performed at the Roundhouse on the 26th June.

Sam Berkson, aka ‘Angry Sam’, has been hosting and promoting live poetry events with Hammer & Tongue for ten years. He has won slams, performed in three continents and published two books of poetry with Influx Press. His debut, ‘Life in Transit’ was described as “a highlight of 2012” by the late cultural theorist Mark Fisher. He followed this with a commission for Fishbar photogallery of poems written around Dalston’s Ridley Road Market, composing the text of Lorenzo Vitturi’s award winning photobook, Dalston Anatomy.

His most recent collection, Settled Wanderers, records his experience living on the Western Saharan refugee camps and contains the first English translations of Saharawi poetry. Poet Chris Searle, writing in the journal Race & Class, said that the “poems carry a particular kind of powerful witness in their lyrical solidarity. They are narratives of empathy with the lives of people he encountered”.

He works as a teacher in an alternative provision school and has recently returned from solidarity work with refugees on the Greek island of Lesvos.

I have always found Sam’s dedication to poetry inspiring. He has the rare gift of being informed and intelligent without being condescending. He is a good poet, a poet in the true sense of the word.”– Kate Tempest, poet

Supported by the Art Fund
Part of the BBC Civilisations Festival


23 June, 2018, 12:00 pm
24 June, 2018, 6:00 pm
£7 – £10
Event Categories:
, ,


Freud Museum London
20 Maresfield Gardens
London, NW3 5SX United Kingdom
+ Google Map
020 7435 2002


BBC Civilisations Festival
The Art Fund

« All Events