The British Psychological Society funded an all day symposium at Swansea University to include DreamsID group sessions and discussions on the assessment of the presence of metaphors in dreams. The dreams were discussed as part of group sessions, thanks to Michelle Carr for writing summaries of the dreams.
The Chicken Run Dream
Dream of a husband and wife criminal team that steal chickens. To do so, the husband drives their car along the highway, and the wife hangs underneath the car stealing chickens (and cows?) as they drive by. But the husband is planning to double-cross the wife, he will put two abrasive rectangles under the car which will peel the skin of the back off her knees. In the next scene the husband and wife are at the house of an old woman, pretending to visit a grave on her property (but are really there for a different concealed reason). The husband goes to the bathroom and a little boy who looks sickly is there. The husband tries to carry the boy on his back but his legs are dragging along behind him.
Next scene: Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and his partner are hanging on the outside of a car which a priest is driving. They are forcing the priest to marry them, and The Rock’s partner is hanging onto him by sticking his finger through his neck. The dreamer (as a viewer) is frustrated because she can’t see what happened in the Chicken Run, she rewinds the scene to look for clues, and hears a gun shot off in the distance, signalling that something went wrong with the Chicken Run.
Dream of a giftshop, cafe and male Amazonians in the jungle
Dreamer is entering the forest of the Wizard of Oz, which she had previously told some colleagues that she planned to do, because she ‘really likes trees’. When she reaches the forest, the trees bow down their branches and form a bridge so that she can enter. She reaches a clearing where a tacky tourist gift shop appears, three Amazonian men try to sell her souvenirs, but she declines. She realizes that these men are in cahoots with the forest, and if she doesn’t buy something, the forest may become more dangerous. Nevertheless, she continues on. She comes abruptly to a second clearing, which has a cafeteria filled with people. She realizes they are playing a game and wants to score some points while she’s there. She has a hockey stick now and is smacking fruit out of everyone’s hands for points, including a nice girl from college. The dreamer feels a bit bad, but competitive.
Dream of children and questioning reality
Dreamer was in a messy bedsit with milk cartons on the floor, she was there with her daughter. She notices a toy dog on the floor, which comes to life and jumps up on the bed playfully. She wonders if anyone else can see it or if she is hallucinating, so she takes out her phone to take a video for evidence. When she looks back at the video, there is a scene with a different dog playing on the grass. She is questioning her sanity. In the next scene she is in the car with a friend and they are driving on a very bumpy road. At some point a cheerful friend of hers appears outside the window of the car. At another point there is a group of poverty-stricken children. She finds herself judging these children but then decides it’s not right to be judgmental.
We were invited to hold 30-minute DreamsID sessions across the afternoon and evening at the Swansea Science Festival. It was a very busy festival, we had many people in the audience. The seven drawn interpretations of dreams are pictured below, with the texts of the dreams.
Dream of cat who had died
"I am in a dark interior, looking at my cat Twiggy. (In real life Twiggy died about three years' ago.) I'm surprised she's alive but she looks distressed. Her eyes are really big, and she's not looking at me or engaging in any way. Her stance is rigid, she has very large eyes and tiny paws, striped legs and tail. She is a green / grey tabby with black spots (colour of a Messerschmitt).
I am talking to a woman who seems to own Twiggy now. She is saying that Twiggy doesn't really get the love and attention she needs, as all the people in her family have their own pets. I feel awful, but I still say politely and reticently 'we could always have Twiggy back if you prefer' to the woman. We are in a dark interior, I can't make out the woman's face. It is no-one I know. It left me feeling uneasy rather than comforted. I am annoyed I didn't behave more decisively and take Twiggy back."
Dream of running along a wall
"I am running next to a wall with grey breeze-blocks. In the dream I am running aimlessly but had the thought, every time I had this dream, that I would not be able to wake up. I can see over the wall, the sky is blue."
Recurring dream of a beach with water coming in
"I am lying on a beach on a warm sunny day, very happy and enjoying the time. Suddently I realise that the tide is coming in around me, quietly with no waves, sweeping in like an estuary on both sides. There are rocks on both sides and I begin to panic. I try to run towards the back of the beach before it engulfs me. I keep falling over obstacles in my path and the panic increases, but I eventually get clear of the water. This is a recurring dream."
Daughter's dream of mother playfully throwing snake at her on a beach
"I was walking along a beach and seashore. It was very sunny. I was wearing very little clothing, just a bikini (unusual for me to walk like that, in a bikini, but I was very comfortable). I became aware of my mother behind me and it became apparent that she was carrying a snake. I don't like them! I felt scared, scared of her and the snake and I started to run. I ran faster and faster and looked back and saw my mum smiling. She playfully threw the snake high in the air, in an arc, at me. I looked up, the sun was very bright, and I knew the snake was going to land on my shoulder or back. I screamed and woke myself up!"
Dream of a gift of a painting
"I was in work in a crisis room. A service user walked in and I began to speak about my life, which is a role reversal. After I finished speaking the service user symbolically presented me with a paining/drawing/image. The image had a fish out of water which had eyes down its spine. The water behind the fish was blue, and with green ripples and pink ripples. There were two mountains either side which were orange and purples and green. In the sky there was a bright full moon with crescent moons either side and a geometric webbing across it. The water ran between the mountains to the sea, where there was a horizon."
Dream of old person in bed with me
"An old horror-movie-feeling lady who I can physically feel gets into my bed. Her hair is wispy and her skin like crepe-paper - it's as if she has risen from a coffin but is very much alive. I can feel her in my bed. All is grey/black/white, like a sepia film. We are on our backs but looking at each other. Once she recognises that I am not afraid and do not fear her she fills out, becoming more health, and gets colour. I then wake. It was a morning dream."
Happy, writing in medieval room, looking out of window
"I am writing at a desk in a medieval castle. I have a rich red and green dress on. All is very comfortable and privileged. I look out of the window, there is a village in which everyone is content and happy."
We were filmed and interviewed by Wales Online while discussing and illustrating a recent dream of Michelle Carr. Michelle is a researcher at the Swansea University Sleep Lab. She had had a dream of being in her old school and a young man changing into a bubblegum pink monster.
The article and film of the event are at:
Julia's illustration of Michelle's dream is below. The link above also has a speeded-up film of the illustration being made.
Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea, 15th July 2017.
We were invited to hold 5 DreamsID sessions and give a talk on the science and art of dreaming across the day.
The five drawn interpretations of dreams and the dream narratives are pictured below.
Log cabin and textiles dream
Where's my place dream
Zombie and vampire narrative dream
Conference of the International Association for the Study of Dreams, Los Angeles, USA.
Los Angeles, 16th to 21st June 2017
Mark Blagrove conducted dream discussion workshops, but without the illustration component, at the 34th Annual Conference of the International Association for the Study of Dreams, Los Angeles, USA.
Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea, 21st May 2017.
We were asked to contribute to the current exhibition at the Glynn Vivian exhibition, IN A DREAM YOU SAW A WAY TO SURVIVE AND YOU WERE FULL OF JOY, curated by Elizabeth Price.
For this performance we used the library at the Glynn Vivian. Participants were asked to book a 30 minute session prior to the event and to write down the dream before the session. All dreams are shown below.
Bamboo shelter on a hot day dream
Feeling of something out of reach dream
Persecution and escape from danger dream
Garden of blue stones and paths becoming water dream
Creatures of the Night, British Science Festival, Swansea, 6th - 9th September 2016.
This was our first event and was planned as part of the British Science Festival (6th - 9th September, 2016), on this occasion held in Swansea. We were housed in 'Plantasia' a glass building constructed to house a selection of small tropical plants, animals and reptiles. Unbeknown to us, this also included a vast number of cockroaches, which as the sun went down on this balmy autumnal night, crawled all over everyone who dared to step inside. It set an interesting backdrop for dreamers to talk about their dreams. Dreamers had their ideas and words discussed and then interpreted by Professor Mark Blagrove (Interpreter of Dreams - Psychologist) and drawn by Dr Julia Lockheart (Interpreter of Dreams - Designer and Artist). Julia drew her visual interpretations of the dreams instantaneously into Freud's book, The Interpretation of Dreams (1900). In the first few moments of the telling Julia chose the pages on which to make the drawing according to key words and phrases mirrored in Freud's text. Words and shapes became apparent from a swift surveying of each page. The event was performative as the drawings were captured on a document viewer which was screened behind Julia's head. A large crowd gathered to see and hear the dreams being interpreted. Images of the event can be seen below.