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Symposia & Lectures
02 May 2024

Institutional Psychotherapy: Legacy and Constellations of Francesc Tosquelles

Situated at the intersection of art and psychiatry, the exhibition Francesc Tosquelles: Avant-Garde Psychiatry and the Birth of Art Brut explores for the first time in the United States the legacy of Catalan psychiatrist Francesc Tosquelles. After fleeing the Nationalist government of Franco amidst the Spanish Civil War, Tosquelles arrived in 1940 at the Saint-Alban psychiatric hospital in Southern France, where he devised a series of revolutionary psychiatric practices.

Developed in conjunction with this four-venue international exhibition, the symposium “Institutional Psychotherapy: The Legacy and Constellations of Francesc Tosquelles”  will draw from the themes and contributions featured in the multi-author English accompanying publication (edited by AFAM’s exhibition co-curators Carles Guerra, Joana Masó, Valérie Rousseau and Edward Dioguardi), as well as by Joana Masó’s English anthology on Tosquelles. 

Conceived as an interdisciplinary dialogue, this online symposium will chart the history of the Saint-Alban “asylum-village,” while studying past and present significance of “institutional psychotherapy”. Akin to Tosquelles’ methodologies and epistemologies, the symposium will not offer a doctrinal survey about pioneering psychiatry and occupational therapy. Instead, the presentations will guide us through experiences, artworks and archival materials to reexamine mental health history and reconsider it in a larger political, social, and cultural context. 

Aside from the exhibition co-curators, Joana Masó, Carles Guerra, Valérie Rousseau, and Edward Dioguardi, this symposium will gather speakers from Europe and the United States–scholars and professionals from the fields of French studies, law & social sciences, psychiatry and medical history, Western art and media studies, including Liat Ben-Moshe, Kaira M. Cabañas, Amanda Cachia, Eric Fassin, Fountain House, Lewis Gordon, The Greene Clinic, Jean Khalfa, Raphael Koenig, W.J.T. Mitchell, Allison Morehead, Suzanne Hudson, Camille Robcis, Bárbara Rodriguez Muñoz, Martin Summers, Emily Watlington, Robert Young and Hannah Zeavin.

The first day of the symposium will examine the ways in which Tosquelles’s psychiatric, political, and cultural initiatives contribute to the reflection about mental health care and the search for disability justice. A second part will put in perspective the artistic and intellectual life at the Saint-Alban psychiatric hospital and the legacy of Tosquelles’s institutional psychotherapy in the arts and humanities. Closing remarks by W.J.T. Mitchell and Hannah Zeavin will address mental illness from a critical perspective.  


Day 1: Thursday, May 2

11:00 am – 5:30 pm EDT

Institutional Psychotherapy and Mental Health 


11:00 – 12:30 pm 


Joana Masó, Senior Lecturer at University of Barcelona, a researcher at ADHUC–Research Centre for Theory, Gender and Sexuality, and the UNESCO chair, Women, Development and Cultures

Carles Guerra, Associate Professor at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Department of Audiovisual Communication


1:00 pm – 3:00 pm 

Moderated by Lewis Gordon, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Global Affairs and Head of Philosophy at UCONN; Honorary President, Global Center for Advanced Studies; and Chairperson of the Awards Committee, Caribbean Philosophical Association 


Camille Robcis, Professor of History and French at Columbia University, author of Disalienation: Politics, Philosophy, and Radical Psychiatry in Postwar France

Eric Fassin, Professor of Sociology at the University of Paris 8 St-Denis

Jean Khalfa, Trinity Professor in French Studies at Trinity College, Cambridge, UK, & Robert Young,  Julius Silver Professor of English and Comparative Literature at NYU, and co-editors of Frantz Fanon’s  Alienation and Freedom


3:30 pm – 5:30 pm

Moderated by Edward Dioguardi, AFAM’s Anthony Petullo Foundation Curatorial Fellow and exhibition co-curator 


Martin Summers, Professor of History and Director of Graduate Studies at Boston College, and author of Madness in the City of Magnificent Intentions: A History of Race and Mental Illness in the Nation’s Capital 

The Greene Clinic, a sliding scale psychotherapy practice based in Brooklyn, and the Fountain House, a mental health Clubhouse and a therapeutic community based in New York City

Liat Ben-Moshe, Associate Professor of Criminology, Law and Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago, author of Decarcerating Disability: Deinstitutionalization and Prison Abolition.

DAY 2: Friday, May 3

11:00 am – 5.30 pm EDT

Institutional Psychotherapy and the Arts


11:00 am -1:00 pm

Moderated and introduced by Allison Morehead, Associate Professor at Queen’s University Department of Art History and Art Conservation, co-director of Confabulations: Art Practice, Art History, Critical Medical Humanities 


Raphael Koenig, Assistant Professor of French and Comparative Literature, Department of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages, Francophone Studies at the University of Connecticut

Valérie Rousseau, AFAM’s Senior Curator of Self-Taught Art & Art Brut and exhibition co-curator 

Kaira M. Cabañas, Associate Dean of Academic Programs and Publications for the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (The Center) at the National Gallery of Art, author of Learning from Madness: Brazilian Modernism and Global Contemporary Art


1:30 pm -3:30 pm

Moderated by Emily Watlington, Art Critic and Senior Editor at Art in America 


Suzanne Hudson, Professor of Art History and Fine Arts at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and author of Better for the Making: Art, Therapy, Process

Bárbara Rodriguez Muñoz, Director of Exhibitions and the Collection at Centro Botín, editor of HealthDocuments of Contemporary Art 

Amanda Cachia, Assistant Professor of Arts Leadership and Assistant Director of the Masters of Arts in Arts Leadership Graduate Program at the Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts at the University of Houston, author of Contemporary Disability Art: Access Aesthetics and Institutional Critique and Hospitable Aesthetics: Rescripting Medical Images of Disability


4:00 pm -5:30 pm


W. J. T. Mitchell, Gaylord Donnelley Distinguished Service Professor of English and Art History at the University of Chicago

Hannah Zeavin, Assistant Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley.

Learn more about our speakers here.


Space is limited; advance registration is required. Please consider making a donation when you register to support ongoing virtual programming.

Instructions for joining with a Zoom link and password will be provided by email upon registration confirmation under “Additional Information.” Closed captioning will be provided in English. For questions or to request accessibility accommodations, please email

Register for DAY 1 on May 2

Register for DAY 2 on May 3


The symposium “Institutional Psychotherapy: Legacy and Constellations of Francesc Tosquelles” is presented in partnership with the Remarque Institute at NYU, and The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University. 

Lead support for this program is provided by the Institut Ramon Llull, Nina Beaty, Susan Weiler, and the Anthony Petullo Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Art Dealers Association of America Foundation, the Dorothea and Leo Rabkin Foundation, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, and the David Davies and Jack Weeden Fund for Exhibitions. 

Co-organized by the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB) and Les Abattoirs, Musée– Frac Occitanie Toulouse, this four-venue collaboration was previously presented at the Abattoirs, CCCB, and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid. It developed from a research project entitled “El llegat oblidat de Francesc Tosquelles” (The forgotten legacy of Francesc Tosquelles), co-produced by the Mir-Puig Private Foundation (Barcelona), the University of Barcelona, and Fundació Antoni Tàpies (Barcelona).

A detailed schedule with speaker abstracts will be released in April. 


Left: Aerial View of the Saint-Alban Psychiatric Hospital, c. 1960, photographic reproduction. Baldran Collection, Saint-Alban-sur-Limagnole, Right: Judith Scott, Untitled, 1989, fiber, string, yarn, 18 x 10 x 10 in. Greenberg–Lee Collection

11:00 am–5:00 pm

Virtual; free with registration