Medical Humanities lecture: Madness: Songs of Hope and Despair

13 Sep 2017 - 11:15

As part of the 2017 Medical Humanities lecture series, the School of African and Gender Studies, Anthropology and Linguistics, and the Institute for Creative Arts (ICA) proudly present psychiatrist Sean Baumann on Wednesday 20 September 2017.

Baumann will present a film screening (75 min) of the live production of his cantata, Madness: Songs of Hope and Despair, which explores mental illness and psychotic experiences. Madness showed at the Baxter Theatre in 2016 to critical acclaim.

The project arose from Baumann’s concern that the plight of the seriously mentally ill is either ignored or profoundly misunderstood, and that this contributes significantly to the suffering of those deemed insane. Madness uses a combination of music (both live and recorded), song and imagery in an attempt to portray the complexities and also the wonder of these strange and ultimately unknowable worlds.

Sean Baumann is a senior specialist psychiatrist with a special interest in schizophrenia. He recently retired as the Senior Consultant for the Male Acute Service at Valkenberg Hospital, and as Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health at UCT.

The 75 min film screening, followed by an open question and answer session, will start 15 minutes earlier than previous Medical Humanities lectures: the event will run from 6:00–7:30pm on Wednesday 20 September 2017 in the Anatomy Lecture Theatre, Old Medical School Building, UCT Hiddingh Campus, 31 – 37 Orange Street, Cape Town. 

Refreshments served from 5:30pm. RSVP at

For more information, contact the ICA office: +27 21 650 7156 or

About Medical Humanities

The Medical Humanities lecture series grows out of Medicine and the Arts – a post graduate course jointly offered every second year by Associate Professor of Anthropology (housed in the School of African and Gender Studies, Anthropology and Linguistics) Susan Levine and Professor Steve Reid of the Primary Health Care Directorate. The course aims to facilitate exploration and engagement within a peer group that transcends the disciplinary borders that shape knowledge production in the health sciences, the social sciences, and the arts, and to instil in students an appreciation of the international literature pertaining to health and the medical humanities.

About the ICA

The Institute for Creative Arts is an interdisciplinary institute in UCT’s 

Humanities Faculty – formerly the Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA). The ICA facilitates research projects in the creative and performing arts that disrupt boundaries, while underscoring creative education and practice across discipline and faculty. Interdisciplinarity, live art and public spheres are key themes of the Institute, and projects are imbued with innovation, collaboration and a dialogue with urbanism and community. The ICA was launched on 5 April 2016 as a result of a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.