Funding and Partnerships
From Nov 2010 to Oct 2011, ‘The Manual Oracle’ project was funded by a Leverhulme Artists-in-Residence Grant at the Department of Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London. As a result of the work emerging from that residency, Phoebe von Held was invited to become a Visiting Artist at the Institute of Psychiatry and a Visiting Research Fellow at the Department of English & Humanities (Theatre Studies), Birkbeck University of London to continue the work on ‘The Manual Oracle’. Both Departments and Universities support this project through research facilities, rehearsal and office space, feedback opportunities and consultancy. In 2012, ‘The Manual Oracle’ was awarded funding from the Maudsley Charity and the Arts Council England for script completion, design conceptualization and pre-production. During this final R&D period from Oct 2012 – June 2013, both Birkbeck University and the IoP, KCL, remain partners in the development of this project. During the current R&D stage, the project has also received generous advice and active input from members of the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust in the development of creative writing workshops for NHS mental health service users.

Collaborative practice has been crucial to the development of the Manual Oracle project. During her Leverhulme Residency, Phoebe investigated performance concepts, undertook dramaturgical research, commissioned and produced new writing, on the basis of exchanges with researchers, therapists and service users affiliated with the Institute of Psychiatry. Central to this dialogue was a shared interest in the topic of paranoia, which constitutes one of the key concepts of the ‘Manual Oracle’. Beyond the IoP, Phoebe has brought together writers, actors, artists, sound and stage designers to contribute to a work-in-progress performance of the Manual Oracle in September 2011. Networks of collaboration with the IoP, BBK, SLaM, and beyond, remain active and pivotal also during the current script completion phase.

Writers associated with the project
Natasha Soobramanien is a writer. Her debut novel ‘Genie and Paul’ was published by Myriad in Aug 2012. Natasha wrote ‘Castles I’ and ‘Castles II’ for the 2011 script version and has contributed to the scene ‘Coaching T.’ for the final script version.

Luke Williams is a novelist and writer, who published his debut novel ‘The Echo Chamber’ in 2011 with Hamish Hamilton. He is a lecturer in creative writing at Birkbeck University of London. For ‘The Manual Oracle’, Luke is writing the scene ‘Floaters’.

Collaboration with members of the Institute of Psychiatry
Professor Philippa Garety is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the Department of Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry, KCL. She is the Clinical Director and Joint Leader for the Psychosis Clinical Academic Group, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. Philippa Garety is a world leading expert on psychosis and paranoia. She generously offered to be project mentor and a first contact at the Institute of Psychiatry during the 2012-13 Manual Oracle project phase.

Professor Elizabeth A. Kuipers was Head of the Department of Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry and Professor of Clinical Psychology until 2012. Her research interest is psychosis, particularly the development, evaluation and refining of family intervention and individual cognitive behaviour therapy for psychosis. She has developed a cognitive model for psychosis and for the carers of those with psychosis. Elizabeth acted as the principal applicant in Phoebe’s first funding application to the Leverhulme Trust, laying out project strata and introducing the artist to the Department.

Professor Daniel Freeman is MRC Senior Clinical Fellow and Professor of Clinical Psychology at the Department of Psychiatry, Oxford. He was previously based at the Department of Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry and a co-applicant in Phoebe’s Leverhulme application. Daniel has widely published on the topic of paranoia, for instance in Paranoia: The 21st Century Fear, and Overcoming Paranoid and Suspicious Thoughts. He provided initial discussion and research guidance on the topic of paranoia; introduced Phoebe to potential collaborators at the IoP, and continues to provide feedback and consultancy at crucial points of the project.

Laura B. Nellums BA, MSc is currently undertaking a PhD at the IoP, investigating the effects of immigration on women’s mental health in the UK. She previously studied Hispanic Studies and medical anthropology. For the ‘Manual Oracle’ she has provided new translations and played an important role in discussing dramaturgical readings of Gracian’s aphorisms.

Gabriel Best is a psychologist for the Support and Recovery Service (Lambeth South East), South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. She has extensive experience as a therapist working with service-users suffering from severe and enduring psychosis and mental illness. She has generously supported the Manual Oracle project offering advice and dialogue on psychosis, paranoia, the relation between therapists and their patients within the therapeutic encounter and how paranoia may affect that rapport.

Dr. Patrick Green is a member of the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre for Mental Health Service User Advisory Group at the Institute of Psychiatry. He is a former environmental campaigner and has personal experience of psychosis. He has generously contributed to this project by sharing and explaining his experience of psychosis, as well as giving feedback on Gracian’s ‘Manual Oracle’, and work produced for the adaptation.

Natasha Vorontsova BA is a clinical psychologist and PhD Student, based at the Institute of Psychiatry, undertaking research on the connection between paranoia and depression. She has given detailed feedback on the original text of Gracian’s Manual Oracle and advised more generally on psychosis and paranoia, in particular, relating to auditory hallucinations.

Anthony Gordon is a psychologist, audiologist and independent researcher. The discussion with Anthony has focused on auditory hallucinations, paranoia and the connection between tinnitus and paranoia.

François Bourque PhD is a psychiatrist and pianist, currently undertaking PhD research at the Institute of Psychiatry into the relation between social context, ethnicity and psychosis in immigrants and ethnic minorities in Europe. Exchanges with him have revolved around questions of immigration and paranoia.