The art of our dreams and the science of dreaming brought together in a new book


A new book by UWTSD Associate Professor Julia Lockheart is being launched at a sell-out event today. Dr Julia Lockheart, from Swansea College of Art has teamed up with Professor Blagrove, director of Swansea University Sleep Laboratory, to co-author The Science of Art and Dreaming following the success of their science art collaboration (Dreams Illustrated and Discussed).

A new book by UWTSD Associate Professor Julia Lockheart is being launched at a sell-out event this week.

This project sees the pair hold public discussions during which dream content is linked to recent memories and concerns of the dreamer. As the dream is discussed Dr Lockheart returns it to visual form by painting it onto pages of Freud’s famous book The Interpretation of Dreams. Her fascinating artworks incorporate Freud’s words as found poetry.

Dr Julia Lockheart said: “This is the culmination of a body of research that explores the artistic use of books as surface materials for artworks, from which we have created a book which investigates the dream as the dreamer’s self-directed but unintended artwork and the effect of returning the dream to a visual form in the artwork.”

Professor Blagrove added: “The collaboration unexpectedly resulted in some very novel scientific implications, including that dreams might not have a function during sleep but instead have a function when they are shared on waking, they bond people together when the dream is shared and discussed, so we got a paper published on that and have that as the main conclusion of the book.”

The book examines the biological, psychological and social causes of dreaming and outlines recent advances in the study of nightmares and lucid dreaming. It offers a compelling re-reading of the dreams of Freud’s patient, the feminist hero Dora, and illustrates how the playfulness, originality and metaphorical content of dreams link them to art. It also describes how films have drawn on dreams and dream-like processes.

It also encourages sharing dreams to promote imagination, creativity, self-reflection and closeness to others. Each chapter starts with a dream narrative and accompanying painting of the dream, to highlight aspects of each chapter themes.

Professor Blagrove added: “The book is aimed at the general public, and at students and researchers in psychology, as well as people interested in dreams or in art and surrealism.” 

Its official launch takes place today (Friday, March 17) – coincidentally World Sleep Day -  at the Freud Museum in London, as part of events to mark Brain Awareness Week. It will see the authors in conversation with BBC Radio 4 science presenter Marnie Chesterton, who actually participated in one of the DreamsID sessions in 2018.

The book’s Swansea launch will be held at the Glynn Vivian Gallery on Tuesday, March 21 and you can now book tickets to be in the audience to join the authors for a discussion of the book.

The book is already attracting attention ahead of its official release, topping the Amazon chart for sales of new cognitive psychology releases and being ranked fifth for new releases in psychotherapy and eighth in Conceptual Art.  Professor Blagrove and Dr Lockheart are now planning further events promoting their book including visits to Los Angeles and Berkeley in June. 

It has also just been announced that Professor Blagrove and Dr Lockheart will also be taking part in this year’s Hay Festival, with a  special session discussing their book on  Monday, May 28 from 4pm to 5pm.

You can buy your copy now from Routledge using discount code FLE22

Further Information

Rebecca Davies

Executive Press and Media Relations Officer / Swyddog Gweithredol Cysylltiadau â’r Wasg a’r Cyfryngau

Corporate Communications and PR / Cyfathrebu Corfforaethol a Chysylltiadau Cyhoeddus

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