Mark Balgrove & Julia Lockheart

Dreams Illustrated and Discussed

is an art science collaboration in which sleep scientist Professor Mark Blagrove discusses a recent dream of a person, while artist Julia Lockheart paints the dream live. This is done as a performance in front of an audience. Mark Blagrove is Professor of Psychology at Swansea University, Julia Lockheart is Associate Professor at Swansea College of Art, University of Wales Trinity St David, and is also at Goldsmiths, University of London. A magazine article about these performances, since the collaborations started at the 2016 British Science Festival, held in Swansea, can be seen here

A BBC film about us is here: Performances have occurred worldwide, including in Paris and Los Angeles, and at galleries, museums, arts institutions, and science festivals. Children’s events are also held, in which children learn about the science of sleep, and answer questions about and paint their own dreams.

Since Lockdown the performances have been transferred to Facebook Live, with health and keyworkers from around the world telling dreams to Professor Blagrove and Dr Lockheart, with a worldwide online audience taking part. Paintings from the health and keyworker dream-sharers from several countries can be seen at and in New Scientist at s .

The discussion of the dream uses a standard scientific method for finding out the recent waking life experiences that find their way into the person’s dream. The method aims to allow the person and audience to appreciate where the dream came from, and aims to increase society’s appreciation of the metaphorical films that all people produce about their own lives, each night. The painting is given to the dream-sharer as an enlarged mounted print at some time shortly afterwards. The dream-sharer can then display the artwork at home and discuss it with friends and family. Our aim is to socialise the dream, as the dreams are so often intriguing. Please see below for an example of a final artwork (a flying dream told to us at an event in Los Angeles).


Professor Mark Thomas Blagrove

MA (Cantab), PhD (Brunel), FBPsS is since 2008 Professor of Psychology, Swansea University. 2019-20 Certificate in Humanistic and Psychodynamic Counselling, Goldsmiths, University of London.

Research interests: Cognitive psychology and psychophysiology of dreaming; memory consolidation functions of the stages of sleep, personal insight and empathy effects of discussing dreams; performance and subjective effects of sleep loss; functions of sleep; aetiology of nightmares.

Laboratory website:

DreamsID (Dreams Interpreted and Drawn) website:

Senior Lecturer, Swansea College of Art, University of Wales Trinity St David Associate Lecturer, Department of Design, Goldsmiths, University of London

Julia Lockheart

MA Fine Art, Manchester Metropolitan University, PhD, Goldsmiths, University of London

Recent exhibitions

  • Lockheart, J. (2021) Four pandemic dreams of key- and health-workers. Freud Museum London.
  • Lockheart, J. (2021) Nine pandemic dreams of key- and health-workers. Oriel Science gallery Swansea.


  • Edwards, H. and Lockheart, J. (2013). Creative Writing and the Other Arts. Chapter 10 in A Companion to Creative Writing, (ed. Graeme Harper), pp.144-159. London: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Lockheart, J., Gamble, M., Miller, J., Fisher, G., and Henderson, D. (2008). Practice-based learning and teaching: a real world experience? In: Drew, L. (ed.) The Student Experience in Art and Design Higher Education: drivers for change. Cambridge: Jill Rogers Associates. (ISBN)


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