Lorna Collins, FHEA, FRSPH is an artist, filmmaker, writer, journalist and arts educator. Her research trajectory examines themes around arts and health. This started during her PhD, where she was a triple scholar at Jesus College, Cambridge University. Lorna’s pedagogical interests include participatory action research, coproduction, health and wellbeing, poststructuralist philosophy, and all aspects of creativity. She is author of the monograph Making Sense: Art Practice and Transformative Therapeutics. She has written articles about mental health, the NHS, creativity and art in The Independent, The Guardian and The British Medical Journal. She spoke about her life story and research in a TEDx Talk (‘How Creativity Revived Me’).

My story: 

When I was 18 I had a severe traumatic brain injury and fell into a coma. When I awoke, I had total amnesia and did not know who I was, who anyone was. I developed a number of psychiatric illnesses, and was locked away for nearly 2 decades. During this time, art was my saviour. I would paint to express the inexpressible, my sheer misery. I would paint, write, express what I could not say. Eventually the doctors would look at my paintings (etc.), diagnose, medicate and treat my illnesses. Art became my medicine (on the list of the drugs I had to take). My creativity nourished me, drove my eventual recovery, feeds my life.