We have worked together with those subscribed to the mailing list to develop some shared principles to inform our future collective work. These are:
- We aim to work towards making and preserving space for mad people’s knowledges and histories within the academy and within services.
- We aim to protect mad studies from co-option and appropriation as the new and fashionable thing to “do”, or something to make profit from. This involves not being too excited by its prospects ourselves and taking time to consider what will be most beneficial and for whom.
- We aim to achieve parity of involvement between and contributions from psychiatric survivors, mental health service-users, academics (noting that these might be overlapping roles) and the wider mad community.
- We aim to reflect mad studies as an international endeavour, whilst being mindful of local specificities.
- We aim to work in inclusive, accessible, anti-oppressive ways that are as comfortable as possible for everyone who might want to get involved, regardless of mobility and access issues, or other barriers they may face. Shaping Our Lives ground rules offer some collectively developed guidance for this.
- We do not seek to impose new orthodoxies on anyone, but at the same time we support critical thinking about the medicalization of madness and distress.
- We are happy to work with any individual or organisation that is prepared to work with us on truly equal terms in line with our values and principles.
We welcome comments to these principles. If you would like to be part of the ongoing conversation, please subscribe here.