Does Interiority Matter? Experiences of Inner Life

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Does Interiority Matter? Experiences of Inner Life

There are certain deep-rooted concepts that come to play upon this subject that require to be extrapolated; with an emphasis on visual culture and theories about imagery and interiority, the topic of interiority will be explored in three sections. In its first section Interiority and Bodily Signs this paper investigates some of the implications of an entrenched enduring link between ideas about interiority and outward bodily signs, and the oft-unfortunate consequences of misinterpretation of outward signs.

In section II, Experiences of Inner Life Revealed, the chapter turns to the concept of apophenia, a general generic tendency of the human mind to find meaningful patterns in random information, and pareidolia as the visual aspect of this general tendency. Though this propensity may be a general human trait across cultures, the perceptions generated, and their explanations are illustrated as being culturally mediated. The complexity of interiority is considered. The section also looks at ideas about projective visualisations as a way of harnessing interiority.

The chapter then moves on to think about interior states and explores how making art, and using techniques from art therapy, can help to make interior worlds visual in a final section, III Depicting Experiences of Inner Life. The implications of employing arts-based research methods for anthropologists, sociologists and others are explored, including highlighting some potential pitfalls of such applications, such as theory-driven reductive interpretation.

Susan Hogan is a Professor of Arts and Health at the University of Derby and an HRC Visiting Fellow in 2024.


Date & time

Tue 05 Mar 2024, 10.15–11.15am


Level 1, Baldessin Precinct Building


Professor Susan Hogan, University of Derby



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