Psychoanalysis and the Culture-Breast (3): Performance Art, Amanda Coogan

The final in a series of three public conversations around our experiences with cultural objects

Loading Events
  • This event has passed.

25 March, 2023, 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

£15 – £20

Book Now

We are fed at the breast of culture, not wholly but to differing degrees. A series of public conversations around our experiences with cultural objects, with a focus on our emotional and unconscious attachments to art, literature, music, and film.

What happens to us emotionally and unconsciously when we listen to a song, watch a film, encounter an art object, or read a novel? How might the way we engage with cultural experiences relate back to our earliest encounters with the breast or bottle as infants? How might our encounters with cultural objects be understood as a feeding experience that provides us with sustenance? What might our making of, encounters with, and uses of cultural objects tell us about ourselves?

Each session will focus on a discussion of a particular cultural object made by an invited guest, which attendees are requested to access and engage with either during or in advance of each session. Each session will begin with an informal conversation between psychoanalytic psychotherapist and psychosocial theorist Noreen Giffney and an invited guest from one of the applied fields of art, literature, music or film, before opening up the discussion to everyone in attendance. The invited guests are Jennifer Rubell (conceptual artist, New York), Sue Rainsford (fiction and arts writer, Dublin) and Amanda Coogan (performance artist and sign language interpreter, Belfast).

These sessions will invite attendees to enter into a shared experience with particular cultural objects, to facilitate individuals in the group thinking about their unique encounter with each object, but also to reflect on our experience with cultural objects in our lives more generally.

This series is open to anyone interested in why we react or attach to cultural objects in particular ways. It will be of particular interest to psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, psychologists, counsellors, psychiatrists, group analysts, mental health workers and peer support workers, as well as artists and curators, and academic researchers and students in the fields of psychoanalytic studies, psychosocial studies, cultural studies, visual culture, and the arts and humanities more broadly.

Places are limited so early registration is advised. This event is organised around the idea of a shared experience and conversation, so attendance is necessary. A recording of the event will NOT be available to registrants. 

This series is organised on the occasion of the publication of Noreen Giffney’s book, The Culture-Breast in Psychoanalysis: Cultural Experiences and the Clinic (Routledge 2021), which introduces a new psychoanalytic concept, ‘the culture-breast’, to explore the formative and enduring influence of cultural objects in our lives.

Series Schedule

  • Saturday 28 January 2023 at 12 pm-2 pm UK time Jennifer Rubell (conceptual artist, New York). We will discuss a series of Jennifer Rubell’s artworks during the event.
  • Saturday 25 February 2023 at 12 pm-2 pm UK time Sue Rainsford (fiction and arts writer, Dublin). We will discuss Sue Rainsford’s novel, Redder Days, as a group, so please read the novel in advance of the event.
  • Saturday 25 March 2023 at 12 pm-2 pm UK time Amanda Coogan (performance artist and sign language interpreter). We will discuss a series of images of Amanda Coogan’s performances during the event.


Noreen Giffney is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist and a psychosocial theorist. She is the author of the book, The Culture-Breast in Psychoanalysis: Cultural Experiences and the Clinic (Routledge 2021), and the author and/or editor of a number of additional articles, books and book chapters on psychoanalysis, psychosocial studies, and gender and sexuality studies. She is the Director of ‘Psychoanalysis +’, an international, interdisciplinary initiative that brings together clinical, academic and artistic approaches to, and applications of, psychoanalysis. She lives in County Donegal on the north west coast of Ireland and lectures on psychoanalysis and psychosocial studies at Ulster University, Belfast. She has been taking singing lessons for almost two years and is enjoying the experience of learning how to make sounds.


Invited Guest

Amanda Coogan is an internationally recognised and critically acclaimed artist working across the medias of live art, performance, photography and video. Her expertise lies in her ability to condense an idea to its very essence and communicate it through her body. Using gesture and context she makes allegorical and poetic works that challenge expected contexts. Her works encompass a multitude of media: Objects, text, moving and still image but all circulate around her live performances. The long durational aspect of her presentations invites elements of chaos with the unknown and unpredicted erupting dynamically through her live artworks. Her work often begins with her own body and challenges the expectations of the contexts. Her work moves freely between solo presented live performances, group performances and living installation.

She has performed and exhibited her work extensively, including in the Broad Museum, Michigan; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Jacksonville, Florida; The Neimeyer Centre, Spain; The MAC, Belfast; Lismore Castle Arts, Waterford; HOME mrc, Manchester; The Golden Thread, Belfast; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Contemporary Irish Art Centre LA, Los Angeles; The National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin; The Venice Biennale, Liverpool Biennial, The LAB, Dublin; Limerick City Gallery of Art; PS1, New York, The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, West Cork Arts Centre; Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam; Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris; and the Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin.


Thanks to Lili Spain and Ivan Ward at the Freud Museum London for their enthusiastic support of this series. I am grateful to Nicole Murray, Chartered Psychologist, Student Counselling Service at Atlantic Technological University Donegal for her ongoing guidance and support as a member of the ‘Psychoanalysis +’ International Advisory Board. Thanks to Robert Porter, my colleague and the Research Director of the Centre for Communication, Media and Cultural Studies at Ulster University for his collegial and financial support for this series of events.


25 March, 2023
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
£15 – £20
Event Categories:
Event Tags:



« All Events