Mad Studies at Lancaster Disability Studies Conference 2016

Lancaster Disability Studies Conference is hosted by the Centre for Disability Research, Sociology Department, Lancaster University, 6th-8th September, 2016.

Mad Studies stream convened by Peter Beresford (University of Exeter/Shaping Our Lives) and Brigit McWade (Lancaster University).

cedr16 - mad studies


Since the publication of Mad Matters: A Critical Reader in Canadian Mad Studies (edited by Brenda A. LeFrançois, Robert Menzies and Geoffrey Reaume) in 2013, Mad Studies has been gaining a higher profile internationally. In 2014, we convened the first Mad Studies stream at Lancaster Disability Studies Conference which brought together both established figures in the field and those who wanted to know more.

During the last two years, there have been several UK events exploring what Mad Studies is and what it might offer us in terms of critical scholarship and activism in the field of madness and disability. We are very excited to be able to convene a second stream this year, and want to thank Hannah Morgan and CeDR for continuing to support us in doing so.

We are delighted to have two keynote speakers, both closely linked to the development of Mad Studies. Lucy Costa, an activist and advocate based in Toronto, has most recently pioneered work addressing the issue of violence in the lives of people with psychiatric disabilities. Jijian Voronka’s cutting-edge work addresses questions of inclusion and peer-work in mental health. Both bring excellent and concrete examples of what Mad Studies can offer us empirically and conceptually in moving the conversation about “mental health” beyond the current paradigm.

We were inundated with abstracts this year – a clear sign that there’s an appetite for this work. We prioritised paper presentations that either demonstrates the practical application of Mad Studies in research – showing us what Mad Studies can do – and work that is intersectional.

We have a special panel session exploring the links between Mad Studies and Survivor Research, which will celebrate the publication by PCCS Books of Searching for a Rose Garden: challenging psychiatry, fostering mad studies (Russo & Sweeney, 2016). There is also a wealth of Mad Studies work being presented during the stream as posters, which demonstrates the field’s diversity and also highlights many aspects of teaching or doing Mad Studies both in and out of academia.

We have worked hard to ensure those without income or funding were able to attend the stream. In light of this, we would like to extend thanks to the following people who helped us do this: PCCS Books, for providing two fully sponsored places; supporters of our crowd-funding campaign that raised funds for three fully-sponsored places; and, both of our keynotes for generously supporting the attendance of two more unwaged and activist delegates.  We would also like to thanks visual artist, writer, film-maker, and performer Dolly Sen for providing us with the images for this year’s stream.

It is our hope that this stream will offer further opportunities for discussion, connection, and debate, as well as the possibility of continued collective work that will actively build Mad Studies on an international scale.

Look through the CeDR16 – Mad Studies programme and abstracts

Booking is now closed. However, you can get a flavour of the discussions online by following our hashtag #MadStudies #cedr16

Follow us on Twitter: @MadStudies @CeDRLancs

Join the FB event page

Join the Mad Studies FB group

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