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The Interpretation of Dreams. Members of the audience take part in each dream discussion, and also watch the painting process directly, and projected onto a large screen behind the dreamer. Each dream discussion and artwork session takes about 60 minutes, after which there can be is 30 minutes general discussion about the dream, the artwork, and about the science and art of dreaming. Personal insights for the dream sharer can arise by identifying and discussing the waking life memory sources that are incorporated into the dream. The dream sharer later receives a high quality mounted Giclée print of the painting as an artwork to display at home and to discuss with family and friends. Together they can further explore the dream and its waking life background. Examples of artworks from previous DreamsID events can be seen on the Gallery page of this website.

When the dream is first told Julia Lockheart chooses a page or pages from Sigmund Freud's book The Interpretation of Dreams on which to capture the dream, having regard to the shapes of the text on the page. Julia then paints the dream during the discussion, so as to show the completed painting to the dream and audience at the end of the discussion. We are grateful to the publisher Wordsworth Editions Limited for kind permission to use their edition of the 1st English translation of The Interpretation of Dreams for the production of our artworks. Particular relevant words on the pages are incorporated into the artwork, often serendipitously.

DreamsID events have occurred at the British Science Festival, British Science Week, Freud Museum London, Goldsmiths, RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts,Manufactures and Commerce), Paris, Los Angeles (UCLA), The Netherlands, ESRC Festival of Social Science, art galleries, public and family science festivals, and broadcast on the BBC. These have been very popular for audiences, and for people who have had their dream discussed and illustrated, and who own, display and discuss the artwork thereafter. The session is a group experience of engagement with art, with the dreamer, and with the science of sleep, dreaming, and empathy. A film of our April 2019 event at the Paris Institute for Advanced Study can be seen here.

Dreams themselves, with their plots, characters, and emotions can simulate a social world that captures the waking world of the dreamer in a metaphorical way. Our aim is to discuss at length the relationship of the dream to the recent emotional waking life of the dreamer, and then to return the dream to the social waking world that led to its creation. Much empirical work has shown the personal insight effects of identifying and discussing the memory sources of a dream, more on this can be found on our Science page. Our research, at Swansea University, University of Wales Trinity St David, and Goldsmiths, also aims to investigate whether mutual understanding and empathy increases between the dreamer and the people who hear the dream. We are grateful to the International Association for the Study of Dreams whose conferences provide a forum for discussing these ideas.

The discussion of a dream follows the dream appreciation method devised for dream discussion groups by psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Montague Ullman. Further information about Montague Ullman can be seen on the website The method is described in his (1996) book Appreciating dreams: A group approach. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. The method comprises the following stages:

•The dreamer reads aloud their dream;

•The group asks questions about the dream so that it is described as fully as possible;

•The group members other than the dreamer briefly describe how they would relate the dream to their own lives, as if the dream were their own;

•The dreamer responds to what the other group members have said;

•The dreamer describes their own life circumstances, with emphasis on recent waking life concerns and recent emotional or important events;

•The dream is read back to the dreamer in the second person;

•The group and dreamer make or suggest connections between the dream and what the dreamer has said about events and concerns in their recent waking life.


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