Media and Mental Health: Block Museum - Northwestern University
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Media and Mental Health

Text reading Media and Mental health over figure of a person
12 PM-9 PM

Event Details

Date & Time:

Thu May 25, 2023
12 PM-9 PM


The Block Museum of Art
40 Arts Circle Drive
Evanston, IL 60208


Open to the public


 Northwestern University’s Pritzker Pucker Studio Lab for the Promotion of Mental Health via Cinematic Arts is hosting an inaugural symposium “Media and Mental Health: Exploring Contemporary Representations of Madness, Melancholy, and Trauma in Film and Television” May 25 to May 27 on both the Evanston and Chicago campuses.

The three-day event includes film screenings and three panels: “Uneasy Living: Climate Anxiety in Contemporary Cinema”; “The Trauma Trope”; and “Madness and Melancholy in Film and Television.” 

May 25th events are held at The Block Museum of Art.  May 26 and May 27 events are held at Abbott Hall, Room 203, 710 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. Learn More

Thursday, May 25, 2023
Block Museum of Art, 40 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston

12 p.m.
Keynote: “Searching for Trauma: Narratives and Politics of Loss and Suffering in Eastern Europe” by Ana Antic, author and University of Copenhagen professor 
The talk explores different ways in which the trauma paradigm informs our understanding of the conflict-ridden history of 20th-century Eastern Europe, and interrogates the relationship between cultural context, political ideology and expressions of psychological suffering and distress with a focus on socialist and post-socialist Yugoslavia.

3 p.m.
Panel: “The Trauma Trope” 
Participants: Robin Means Coleman, Miriam Petty, Ana Antiç, Peter Locke
Trauma has become a defining feature of contemporary storytelling across all mediums and genres. Film and television, in particular, use trauma as a framework for explicating a protagonist’s motivations, as well as to reach towards a preconceived audience of survivors. This panel brings together scholars to discuss, analyze and debate the entanglements of trauma and visual culture. What does it mean to expand our cultural idea of trauma to include such a diverse array of experiences? Is the empathy evoked by traumatic narratives always ethical? Does imagery of trauma cultivate voyeuristic desire?

6 p.m.
Film Screenings:
“No Go Backs”
Synopsis: This 2020 film follows two teenagers as they escape from L.A. into the natural environments surrounding the city, driven to seek a world without adults. Stanya Kahn, an award-winning multidisciplinary artist, films her subjects in found environments across the Southland, sites which double as idyllic and apocalyptic spaces, reflecting the reality that the climate crisis is already upon us – if not always easy to see.

"A Thousand Years Ago"
Synopsis: In this 2022 film, Edgar Jorge Baralt explores the landscape of Southern California, overlaying contemporary footage of the region with speculative narration that imagines how our present might look from the year 2049, on the other side of an unnamed disaster.

8 p.m.
Panel: “Uneasy Living: Climate Anxiety in Contemporary Cinema”
Co-Sponsored with Buffett Working Group, Climate Crisis + Media Arts
Participants: Michael Metzger, Zayd Dohrn, Jake Smith, Edgar Jorge Baralt
This panel brings together two films, "No Go Backs" and "A Thousand Years Ago," that reflect the acute anxiety of living in a prelude to dystopian future. While formally distinct, the two films both reveal how climate anxiety shapes our perception of our environments, as we envision a catastrophic future without the outlines of a troubled present.



Founded in 2022 with a $1 million grant from the Pritzker Pucker Family Foundation and Jessy Pucker ’19, The Pritzker Pucker Studio Lab (PPSL) serves as an incubator dedicated to flipping the script on mental health portrayals in movies, television and media. Its mission is to create, support and examine original narrative screenwriting, television writing and media making centered around mental health.

Contact The Block Museum of Art for more information: (847) 491-4000 or email us at