Braga Conference, Portugal – Theme 5 – 2012

The Braga workshop was an initiative for the Psyche in the Arts Network – The School of the Arts, University of Northampton UK.


Below this introduction is the abstract for the conference session that Mike Evans and David Parker held at the IAJS Conference in Braga, Portugal in 2012. These images were created by those who attended the session (about 10) and were made over a period of about 40 minutes. We provided basic materials and a variety of ‘treated surfaces’ and asked each individual to choose one or two they liked and to work into them with the drawing materials — letting their imaginations work ‘actively’ as a response to the surfaces. We were very pleased with the spirit in which everyone worked on them and the variety of work produced — we felt it provided a nice counterpoint to all the cerebral presentations one is engaged with on such occasions.
We started the session by providing a context — presenting a short (15minutes approx) powerpoint of selected work from a range of relevant art and artists in order to set the ‘ imaginative mood’ and help stimulate responses. In this presentation we emphasised the importance of chance as well as keeping sensitively engaged with the materials and their properties.

Some of the participants did not want their names to be attached to the work but were quite happy for us to photograph the work. Respecting their wishes we felt it best to let the images speak for themselves as ‘free agents of fantasy thinking’ so to speak!

Parker, D. and Evans, M. (2012) Drawing and the Unconscious: A practical workshop in imagination and free association. Workshop presented to: International Association for Jungian Studies (IAJS) conference of the IAJS and The international Association for AnalyticPsychlogy (IAAP)., Braga, Portugal, 17 – 22 July 2012.


A significant aspect of Jung’s psychology concerns the value of image making through art. As a method for approaching the unconscious, painting and drawing are uniquely placed as vehicles for the exploration of imagery sitting on the threshold between the personal and the collective. Spontaneous/Automatic processes have been utilized throughout modern art as methods of engaging what Analytical Psychology would call depth experiences.

By practically engaging with visualization through art making and reading, the connections between inner and outer are made tangible as a ‘third’ communal space – one capable of resonating with a symbolic meaning encompassing both the personal and the collective in psyche.

This workshop will provide participants who may have had little experience in drawing and painting to explore psyche as both a personal and collective engagement with the revealing power of art making. Emphasis will be on the development of imagery (seen as both figurative and non-figurative) using spontaneous mark making and a close ‘felt’ engagement with the specific qualities of the media in relation to touch and visual perception.

Participants will be encouraged to work without any pre-planning, trusting in the process through aesthetic engagement with that which unfolds in imagination.

All materials will be provided.

An exhibition of the works produced will be held throughout the conference and, if agreed, may subsequently be uploaded onto the IAJS website to form the focus for theoretical debate via the Psyche in the Arts Network.


Ehrenzweig A. (1967/71) The Hidden Order of Art Los Angeles: Univ. of Cal. Press.

MacLagan D. (2001) Psychological Aesthetics: Painting, Feeling and Making Sense London: Kingsley.

Newton. S. (2001) Painting Psychoanalysis and Spirituality, Cambridge University Press.


  • Ideally a least a one-hour session (longer would be better) in a room with tables and access to a sink/water.
  • Digital projection

Presenters Contact Information:

David Parker: Reader in Fine Art and Psychological Studies School of the Arts The University of Northampton

St. George’s Avenue Northampton NN2 6JD U.K.
Tel Work: 44 1604 893054
Tel Home: 44 1604 624954

Michael Evans: Senior Lecturer in Fine Art School of the Arts The University of Northampton

St. George’s Avenue Northampton NN2 6JD U.K.
Tel Work: 44 1604 893210
Tel Home: 44 1604 473778


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