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Art enters places of suffering to create “Healing spaces”

Fifty years ago a collective of health care workers, patients and artists arose and contributed to the closure of some of Italy’s psychiatric hospitals. The very walls which had separated “the mad” from an idealized society made of “healthy human beings” were dismantled.

The International Happening Healing Spaces Festival together with the 22nd International ISPS conference Perugia 2022 Co-constructing Healing Spaces will be held in Perugia the capital of Umbria. In Umbria for the first time in the world, patients released from asylums were offered a complete network of services operating throughout the entire region. The madness of incarcerating suffering souls had finally been substituted with a humane treatment which would revolve around the social context of the patient.

We hope:

  • to co-create with artists, arts therapists, patients, family members, mental health care workers and anyone interested, coming from all over the world a collective happening without authors
  • to produce events, installations, performances, workshops and public presentations  in a festival that aims to share personal and professional experiences
  • to celebrate the creative forces of art in the transformative encounter with psychic suffering
  • to continue the authorless work of the elimination of the walls, both external and internal, which marginalize those suffering with the psychic pain of living without existing


Giardini del Frontone

Palazzo della Penna

Teatro Morlacchi

Chiesa di San Domenico

Museo Archeologico

Palazzo dei Priori

Sant’ Ercolano

Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria

Sala dei Notari


Officine Fratti

Sala Podiani


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We are honoured to invite you to the 22nd International Conference of ISPS in Perugia in 2022
The first regional network working with the country’s mental health services was established in January 1971 in Umbria – and Perugia more specifically. Mental institutions saw an eradication from their violent past thanks to a rise in humanity and political civility. Such was the case in Perugia, Arezzo, Trieste, Gorizia, Parma, Reggio Emilia, Turin, where the first revolutionary flowers of a renaissance in caregiving began to bloom; soon to blossom in the rest of the world.
The ISPS has significantly contributed in this expansion of humane interventions. The passion of its members, their knowledge, and competence were keys to the organisation’s development which represents an extraordinary ongoing voyage full of enthusiasm and hope.
Today after more than 50 years of experience, we ask ourselves, how has the care of psychosis changed in psychological and social terms?
What steps have we accomplished? Where did we get stuck? And, where do we still fall short?
Which methods have flourished and what were and are their limitations which continue to stunt the process of rendering psychotic experiences more humane?
What are the themes that need highlighting within the psychological, social and humane approaches to psychosis present in today’s practice? Which remain unresolved, or invisible? What new approaches are emerging?
In recent months, a questionnaire asked ISPS members what words they would choose for the title of this conference. The three words most frequently chosen were: Healing, Love, and Community.
Love and community both being present in the process of Healing.
We hope to see you in Perugia in September 2022.