This is the first contribution to this blog by Dean Melbourne. As the project is collaborative it seemed to make sense that one blog would better reflect the tone of experiences as opposed to the repetition of two very similar records. . . 


Over this last week our research project stepped up a gear with a visit to the capital to attend a lecture organised by the C.G. Jung Club, spend some time at the British Museum with the Ancient Egypt collection and visit the studio of Artist Victoria Rance.

The C.G. Jung Club host a rolling programme of Thursday evening lectures covering wide ranging aspects of Jungian thinking. This particular lecture was given by Eva Wertenschlag-Birkhäuser and was entitled What is the Great Dream?

Birkhäuser is a Jungian analyst in Bern and trained at the Jung Institute, Zurich. The talk centred around a selection of paintings by Peter Birkhäuser (the speakers father) who after a “crisis” of creativity in mid-life entered therapy with Marie Von Franz and began painting his dreams. The particular focus on of this talk was on “individuation as the vessel for transformation of archetypal powers threatening our culture”.

For me personally Peter’s story seemed frighteningly familiar and closely mirrored my own recent journey through crisis of psyche. Hearing the symbolic links with the alchemical process and the archetypal within an individual’s dream work was revealing. Even more the way that that individual experience reflected the collective state of world events at that time.

The following day we spent an afternoon at the British Museum looking at Ancient Egyptian objects. The roots of Hermetic thinking begin to be gathered in Egyptian culture and particularly the merging of the Greeks Hermes with the Egyptian God Thoth to become Hermes Trismagistus, the supposed scribe of the Emerald Tablet containain the Hermetic Laws. The objects, making process and symbolism of this time and place seem to resonate with the energy of secret knowledge. We were soon exhausted and overwhelmed with ideas and the threads of thought that seemed to be demanding to be followed.

It will take some time to process all that we saw.


Our final day saw us head to APT studios in Depford to visit the studio of Victoria Rance.

Victoria’s studio space is just wonderful. A treasure trove of work, materials and tools. Chantal and Victoria have in common some making techniques and were able to share experiences of these. For me as I find my way to a new practice Victoria’s example as curious, authentic and deeply committed to her exploration of the imagination and making were just what I needed. A moving and impactful couple of hours that I think will resonate with me for some time. I would like to thank her on behalf of us both for her genouristy and openness.

Whilst at APT studios we visited the Creekside Open which was beautifully curated and felt both sincere and welcoming. Some wonderful work and great to see the work of artists I rarely get to see in the flesh. Was great to get to chat with Jane Millar and Robert Worley whilst there (both showing work in the open).

An intense few days that will move our thinking on tremendously. As we progress towards “NightShaking”.



We had our second meeting with Jungian analyst Catherine Bygott in Somerset on Friday. As well as discussions she led us in a physical exercise to connect us to our unconscious self. It was a challenging activity but really interesting to see how it opened up a connection to less rational, more intuitive thought.

As this project goes on its interesting to see how it is moving from the academic to the experiential and the lines becoming blurred between personal Jungian therapy work, the research work, and the art work in the studio. Matching symbols are passing through all areas and there is merging of the collective and personal unconscious.

Process, experience and ritual are becoming more important in both my personal “inner work” explorations and also in the studio. At times the studio almost touches on feeling like a laboratory and I’m feeling freer to let the materials take some of the lead rather than be in full control of the process. A nice example is the work below that, through an accidental combining of materials, began spontaneous crystallisation over the proceeding days. I had been reflecting on the black “negredo” stage of alchemy (which parallels the “dark night” or depression in psychology) but hadn’t expected a crystallisation effect mirroring the transition into albedo – “the whitening”.