Mad World: An Exhibition on Sane People in Insane Situations

From individuals interred for their homosexuality, to women who wanted divorces; from teenagers who wanted to write for a living, to malnutrition – discover the history and explore if you can logically spot madness.

Art Exhibition at St Margaret’s House From 27th May to 21st June

Edinburgh: 29th May: Mad World Art Exhibition Opening

Come along and to an art exhibition which is to challenge the world to discover the insane. The concept of ‘madness’ has been a part of human society for arguably millennia, many places – times – and peoples have shaped how we perceive ‘mental health’. Now, in the UK and western world, the dominant perspective is one which medicalizes behaviour, and the medical world has become the overriding voice which gets to speak about what meanings are attributed to these phenomena, and what they represent.

Restraints in an asylum
Restraints in an asylum

This exhibition invites the world to come into the exhibition, look at what is on view and try to decide who is ‘sane’ and who is ‘crazy’ by looking at the art and exhibits. The idea reformulates psychologists David Rosenhan and Martin Seligman’s famous work ‘On Sane People in Insane Places’. This is what happened when two sane people checked themselves into asylums to gain firsthand experience was of the people who went through them.

Here we have brought together work from a number of artists, and woven a panorama of histories revealing perspectives around ‘madness’ which are not commonly found in the rhetoric of the medical institutions.

Historiographer, Michel-Rolph Trouillot suggests that everywhere a fact is created, so too is a silence. You are warmly invited to come and peer in on the silences of the mental asylum, and discover the histories, organisations, and individuals who have dared have a perspective of their own revealing the alternative and sometimes uncomfortable.


This exhibition is inspired by the emerging academic field of Mad Matters, the work of Mad People’s History, Oor Mad History, Asylum Magazine, Advocard and many more organisations; alongside the countless people who have sought to have their experiences valued on their own psyche and behaviour.

You can read more about the themes and premiss of the exhibition here:

Inspector Rosenhan Visits The Asylum


The exhibition will be taking place in Gallery One of Edinburgh Palette

From 27th May to 21st June


Edinburgh Palette

St. Margaret’s House
151 London Road

Telephone: 0131 661 1924
Email: [email protected]

Get in touch if you would like to contribute or have any questions:

Click to Contact