Live stream Conference: Mad Activism in Academia.

MAD ACTIVISM in ACADEMIA: Challenging Traditions – University College Cork- will be LIVE STREAMED ONLINE tomorrow (Monday April 18th 2016) – AND video recordings will be available after the day.

Awesome speakers are Jacqui Dillon, Helen Spandler, Dina Poursanidou and panellists Liz Brosnan, Rory Doody, Pat Bracken.

Link to programme 

Link to live stream 



Call for papers: Making Sense of Mad Studies

Wednesday, 30 September 2015 at 10:30 Thursday, 1 October 2015 at 17:30 (BST), Durham, United Kingdom

Sign up here:

‘Making Sense of Mad Studies’ is a two day conference to be held on 30 September and 1 October 2015-funded by the Welcome Trust and hosted by the Centre for Medical Humanities at Durham University in collaboration with the North East Mad Studies Forum.  The aim of the conference is to provide a platform for the development and critical exploration of the emerging discipline, Mad Studies, with specific emphasis on nurturing new researchers and collaborations in this area- both inside and outside of the University. There will be a particular critical focus on exploring the following themes:

  • What are the challenges Mad Studies face and what can we do about them?
  • What does ‘doing’ Mad Studies mean?
  • Connections between Mad Studies and disciplines such as sociology, disability studies, geography, psychiatry, social policy, healthcare and medicine;
  • Mad Studies, ‘recovery’, and the co-option of activist terms;
  • Narratives of madness and distress- drawing on literature and cultural representations as a source for understanding mental distress.

We are delighted to announce that we already have five keynote speakers confirmed: Prof. Peter Beresford, Representatives from ‘Recovery in the Bin’, Prof. Brenda LeFrancois, Dr Helen Spandler, Prof. Brendan Stone.

We hope this conference provides space to begin and continue conversations, and for delegates to think about how we make sense of Mad Studies, reflecting on what Mad Studies has done and can do. If you have any questions about the conference please do not hesitate to contact Victoria Armstrong, one of the conference organisers at  Also, if you have any particular access requirements please let Victoria know.  We expect demand for places at this conference will be high so please book early.  Booking for the event will close on 1 September 2015.

Do you have questions about Making Sense of Mad Studies? Contact Victoria Armstrong

“Saneism”: discriminatie van de “insane”

Morgen lezen we een artikel over “saneism” van PhebeAnn Wolframe

“I was aware of the discrimination I had faced as a “mentally ill” person, but I accepted that oppression. I believed, at the time, that I was sick, and I believed that this sickness caused me to hurt myself and others. Should I not then, I reasoned, be restrained by the straightjacket of unequal treatment?

It was only later when I came to reject the medical model of madness 6 that I questioned my own internalization of an oppression I came to know as saneism.”

Uit: “The Madwoman in the Academy, or, Revealing the Invisible Straightjacket: Theorizing and Teaching Saneism and Sane Privilege” gepubliceerd online in Disability Studies Quarterly.

Call for Papers: “Madness, violence, and power: A radical anthology”

 ~  Andrea Daley  (York  University,  Toronto,  ON,  Canada) 

~  Lucy  Costa (Systemic  Advocate, The  Empowerment  Council:  A  Voice for Clients  of CAMH,  Toronto, ON,  Canada) 

~ Peter Beresford (Brunel University, Uxbridge, England, UK) 

The  editors  are working  with  an  international  advisory  group  that  includes  service users/survivors  from  the  UK, Germany and Canada. 

Summary of Topic 

This  interdisciplinary  anthology  will discuss  violence  as  manifest  in  the  lives  of diversely-situated people  who identify  in  various  ways  including  but not limited  to mental  health services  users;  people  with  mental illness, psychiatric  disabilities  or    psychosocial disabilities;  psychiatric  survivors/consumers, and  neurodivergent  (herein referred  to as  ‘people who have had  contact  with psychiatry  and  the mental health  system’).  We  are  motivated by an  apparently  increased discussion  and  coverage of violence  in  relation  to ‘mental illness’  within  the  public  sphere including the media, governments, community agencies, and psychiatric and penal institutions. 

Our goal  is  to challenge  common  ways  of talking  about  violence  related to  people  who  have had  contact  with psychiatry  and  the mental  health  system.  These  common  ways  include biomedical  frameworks  and  statistical assertions that position  people with psychiatric  diagnosis  as  more likely  to  be victims  of violence and  enact violence compared  to people without  psychiatric  diagnosis.   This  narrow  binary  separates  violence from  its  social context, often reducing it to an individual issue. 

The  purpose of the  anthology  is  to broaden  understandings  of violence in  the lives  of  people  who have  had  contact with  psychiatry  and  the  mental health system  and  develop  current  debate  in  ways that explore the  impacts  of systems  and  institutions  that  manage ‘abnormality.’  Another  purpose  is  to examine the role of  service  users  in legal, social, policy and medical transformations in relation to such systems and institutions. 

This  interdisciplinary  anthology  will bring  together  people thinking, researching, writing  and  taking  action  about new  considerations  of power,  violence,  systems  and  institutions in  relation  to  people  who have  had  contact  with psychiatry  and  the mental  health  system. It will include academic  and  non-academic  community  members, activists and  allies  within  the consumer/survivor,  ex-patient  and  Mad movements. We are seeking  first  person  narratives, empirical research  studies  (quantitative and/or  qualitative), and  theoretical contributions  encompassing  a  range of critical theories  including  feminist, queer,  critical  race,  intersectional and  post-colonial as  informed by consumer/survivor, ex-patient, Mad  and  critical disability  movements.  We welcome a  broad  range of contribution styles/formats including artistic contributions including poetry, visual art and photography. 

We welcome papers  that  utilize critical  conceptual  frameworks  that  may include topics  related  to  the following themes: 
Neoliberal  discourses 

o  How do neoliberal discourses  on  ‘health’  and  ‘community  engagement’  depoliticize issues  of  social (in)justice, inequality  and  inequity? 

o  How does the neo-liberal  project  of  medicalizing  social justice  issues  impact  people  who have had contact  with psychiatry and the mental health system? 

Laws,  legislations&  policy frameworks 
o  How do laws, legislations  and  policy  frameworks  serve to  control and  govern  ‘people who  have had  contact with  psychiatry  and  the  mental health system?    Is  this  violence? 
o  How do questions of  power, autonomy  and  dependency  underlie:    hate  crime  legislation;  employment  and disability  insurance policy;  immigration  policy;  community  treatment  orders  (CTOs);  disability  and  mental health  acts;  national  security  policy  (e.g., border  crossing), implementation  of  recommendations  from  inquests into deaths  of persons  involved  in  the  psychiatric  systems,  state power (via laws) which exclude entire  groups of people  such as  First  Nations/Indigenous  from  self-governance and  resources? 

o  How can and how does the  law support and  improve the possibilities  for  citizen  participation? 

o  What considerations  should  be made  on  the application,  relevance  and  utility  of international law  to challenge violence? 

o  What are the barriers  to accessing  justice within  the lower  and  higher  courts  and/or mental health tribunals? Are these barriers  a  type  of violence? 

o  Do people experience  violence  in  legal proceedings  (mental health  courts  and/or tribunals)  as  a  result  of intersections between  Aboriginality, race, ethnicity/culture, sex/gender, class, and/or  living  with  other  evident disabilities  (e.g., physical  disability)?    

 o  How does law reproduce  and  draw  from  other knowledge(s)  or disciplines  in  order  to constitute itself  as  valid and meaningful? 

The practices  of institutions and  the institutionalization  of practices 

o  How the practices  of institutions  and  the  institutionalization  of practices  serve to  enact  violence upon  people who have  had  contact  with psychiatry  and  the  mental health system? Practices  may  include those within education, social services  and  mental health, criminal justice and  policing, and  employment  institutions such as institutional frameworks  associated  with  eligibility  and  documentation  and/or  record keeping;  academic program  requirements  and  research including  ethics  and  funding  criteria;  police training  for, and  responses  to, ‘emotionally  distressed people’;  patient  management  within  psychiatric  hospitals/institutions;  constructions  of mental disorders (DSM). 

Restorative justice  and  madness 

o  While people  who  have had contact  with  psychiatry  and  the mental  health system  are often  the  victims  of violence, and  the  risk  of offending  is  statistically  lower for  mental health  service users  than  the  general  public, this  section  will examine the  enactment  of violence  by  people who are  mental  health  service users. Authors  are asked  to engage with difficult  questions about ‘criminality’  within  Mad/consumer/survivor communities  while critically  exploring  issues  related to  the determination  of ‘perpetrators’  and  ‘victims’, the allocation  of community supports  and  community  responses  to violence such as  strategies  for  redress.  We  invite people who have  committed  violence  such as  assault to contribute.  While not necessarily  conceptualized as  ‘violence’, contributions  that  explore experiences  of self-harm  will also be  considered.  

Questions  for consideration: 

o  How do we analyse and  address  violence  when  enacted  by  individuals  with  mental health  issues/  madness without creating  a  culture  of silence, vilification,  and  apologies  or  excuses? 

o  What are the best  models/frameworks  to address  violence  that  move  us  from  the  biomedical discourse  of risk/safety  to shared  social  responsibility? 

o  What could  be the contribution  of people with experience of psychiatric  treatment  in  developing  an  alternative framework to understand and address violence? 
o  What do mental health service users  with a designation  of “Not  Criminally  Responsible”  or,  “Not Guilty  By Reason of Insanity” feel about their experiences in the forensic system? 

o  What are the implications  of  relying  on  oppressive  institutions/structures  to  address  violence in  the  mental health  service  user communities? 

o  What is the contribution  of  forced  psychiatry  (e.g.,  medication,  restraint, seclusion)  to  violence  committed  by (ex)  psychiatric  patients? 

Length:  Chapters  should  be approximately  5,000 words  in  length (including  references), but may  be  shorter depending  on  contribution  style  and  format (e.g., poem).  Authors  are invited to  submit  a  350-500  word abstract for  consideration  including author’s  affiliations,  contact  information,  and brief biography  by email to  the  editors  by  MAY  29,  2015: 

Andrea Daley, York  University,  Toronto,  ON  Canada,    

Lucy  Costa,  The  Empowerment  Council,  Toronto, ON  Canada, 

Peter  Beresford, Brunel University, Uxbridge, England,  UK,       

Schizofrenie-bestaat-niet, herstelfilosofie en anti-psychiatrie

Op 7 maart publiceerde psychiater Jim van Os e.a., naar aanleiding van het opstarten van de website, een artikel in het NRC met de titel “Laten de diagnose schizofrenie” vergeten”. Van Os en de zijnen willen de diagnose schizofrenie vervangen door de bredere benaming psychosegevoeligheid, wat volgens hen goed te behandelen is en waarbij 80% een goede prognose heeft. Als reactie daarop schreven psychiater René Kahn en anderen het stuk “Schizofrenie als diagnose schrappen is anti-psychiatrie uit de jaren 70”. Ze vergelijken het voorstel van Van Os e.a. om  “schizofrenie” te vervangen door “psychosegevoeligheid”, met cardiologen die een artikel schrijven waarin zij betogen dat hartfalen niet bestaat om zich vervolgens te richten op mensen met alleen verhoogde bloeddruk.

Ervaringswerker Irene van der Giessen schrijft een blog met de titel “Een hoog semantisch kibbelgehalte!”. Ze vindt dat beide partijen het helemaal niet zo oneens met elkaar zijn. Volgens haar houden zowel Kahn als Van Os vast aan een groep mensen die een slechte prognose hebben. Kahn definieert deze groep met de diagnose schizofrenie en geeft aan dat er biologische markers te vinden zijn waardoor je deze groep kunt herkennen. Van Os wil deze groep niet te vroeg vastpinnen op de diagnose schizofrenie, als later blijkt dat ze wel kunnen herstellen. Wat ik begrijp komt Van der Giessen op voor de ‘ongelukkige’ 20% van de psychosegevoeligen van Van Os, die Kahn definieert met de diagnose schizofrenie. Van der Giessen geeft aan dat velen van deze groep wél een zinvol leven heeft kunnen verwerven. Van der Giessen: “Het waren – en zijn – mensen die u o.a. zélf als zodanig heeft gediagnosticeerd. Het ontkennen van dit feit – of mensen die herstelden van deze diagnose wegzetten als leugenaars – zet uw beroepsgroep in een nog bedenkelijker licht dan het nu al staat.” Ze raadt de psychiaters zich nader te verdiepen in de herstelfilosofie en onderzoeksgeld daarin te investeren.

Psychiater Alan Ralston, medewerker van de website, reageert in de blog “Attack of the 50-ft Antipsychiatrist” op het ‘anti-psychiatrie’ argument van Kahn en collegae. Hij gaat in op wat de anti-psychiatrie nou eigenlijk was (een heterogene groep mensen die om vaak zeer uiteenlopende redenen kritiek hadden op de toenmalige psychiatrie) en wat ze bereikt heeft (veel goeds heeft, in lijn met de huidige idealen in de GGZ) op basis van het proefschrift van Gemma Blok. Wat me opvalt aan het spreken van Kahn c.s. en van Ralston is het idee dat de anti-psychiatrie iets van lang geleden is. Ook heden ten dage zijn er nog anti-psychiatrie activisten die veel zinnige zaken te zeggen hebben. Bonnie Burstow schreef een duidelijke blog “Antipsychiatry Revisited: Toward Greater Clarity” over anti-psychiatrie activisme heden ten dage.

Call for Presentations: The Making Sense Of Madness Project

The Making Sense Of: Madness Project: 8th Global Meeting

Tuesday 15th September – Thursday 17th September 2015
Mansfield College, Oxford, United Kingdom

Pablo David Pitucardi for JKPPCall for Presentations:
Madness: What is it? Why does it exist? Where and when does it happen? How does it happen, and to whom? Like the relation between otherness and identity, madness might have always been used to define its opposite, or defined by what it is not. Madness and its absence may even be intrinsically linked to everything we do and do not, to all we aspire and escape from; it could be part of our origins and fate. But how can it be identified, described, studied and/or treated? We propose to take an interdisciplinary approach, by which we mean one that allows us to develop dialogues about the subject from different points of view, from and between different disciplines and experiences. This will partly allow us to answer the questions above, in direct relation to the specific contexts in which madness is observed, studied and/or experienced and, it is desirable, it might also allow us all to understand that, just by being humans, none of us is actually immune to it.

Further reading