Jenny Hickinbotham’s work encompasses writing, video, sculpture, and songs. Hickinbotham inhabits multiple voices, perspectives and temporalities as she explores the epigenetic impacts of trauma, and the narratives of individuals swept up by the forces of history, institutions, and the places in which they live. Laced with humour, pathos, searing critique, and a powerful imagistic capacity, the songs are profoundly informed by the artist’s own childhood experiences, which resulted in diagnoses of developmental trauma, complex post traumatic stress culminating in the schizophrenia label in early adulthood. Jenny has ‘heard voices’ for most of her life and her work explores her ongoing struggle to challenge the institutional pathologising of these experiences. Understanding these internal voices, listening, giving meaning to them, singing them, and considering their relation to the ghosts of the past and present, is a preoccupation of Hickinbotham’s work.
Hickinbotham writes: ‘I really want to challenge the notion that ‘hearing voices’ is an illness, needing to be controlled, eradicated and sedated into oblivion, thereby reducing the person’s lived experience to denial and inner pain, forcing the person to live on/feed on that internal pain for the rest of their lives, unable to speak their truth or tell their story. My work pushes back against all this. It is a cathartic expression of exploratory story-telling, and in itself a form of recovery.’
The most important lesson Hickinbotham has learned since working with Joel Stern, who was originally Creative Director with Liquid Architecture, but is now Vice Chancellors Post Doctoral Fellow at RMIT, has developed from the re-writing of her attachment/connection brain maps. Stern's extended support, taught HIckinbotham to connect and form healthy attachments with family, friends, colleagues and others demonstrates how such a relationship will changed the lives of those impacted by trauma. Such changes will not succeed from reading books, or using rationalised thinking. Jenny's business: JennyHickinbotham.Info: Tickle Your Brain supports people to experience such growth through connecting with Jenny in art making environments and activities which demonstrate new mental functioning leading to self-knowing, innigkite and integration.