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2 Willow Road
Benjamin Franklin House
Burgh House
Charles Dickens Museum
Dr Johnson's House
Emery Walker's House
Fenton House and Garden
Freud Museum
Handel & Hendrix in London
Hogarth's House
John Wesley's House
Keats House Museum
Kelmscott House
Stephens House and Gardens
06 March - 26 May 2019
Exhibitions

Wunderblock: Emma Smith

In the wake of World War II there was considerable anxiety about how children’s minds could be shaped or influenced to support fascism, communism or liberal democracy. A generation of children had also directly experienced the devastation of war, separation from their families, or life in institutions. Child psychoanalysis and psychiatry gained a prominent role and it was a time of great innovation and debate. However, observing and interpreting the developing mind, nurturing infant mental health, and supporting good parenting, also became powerful political issues. These were inextricably linked to the interests of the state, and aspirations for generating democratic citizens.

Emma Smith’s exhibition Wunderblock turns some of this complex history of debate about nature and nurture, and about benign and malign influences over the child, on its head. Smith asks ‘What is the agency of the child?’, ‘What is innate to the infant and in what ways are they an ‘expert’?’; and, crucially: ‘To what extent does the baby or child influence their environment, and shape the adult’s world?’. Inspired by the rich material surrounding infant observation in psychoanalysis by practitioners such as Melanie Klein, Anna Freud, Margaret Lowenfeld and Donald Winnicott, as well as the emergence of child-centred pedagogy and the anti-psychiatry movement, Wunderblock considers how we might engage with this history and meet the child from their own perspective.

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Freud Museum