Calls for Papers/Participation

Working in alliance


First conference announcement and call for workshop presentations: ‘Critical Perspectives On and Beyond Activism and Acts Of Resistance…’

9 and 10 november 2016

School of Applied Social Studies and School of Nursing and Midwifery, University College Cork, Ireland. In association with Critical Voices Network Ireland.

For many years now, individuals and groups have engaged with activism to raise concerns in the area commonly referred to as ‘mental health’. Such activism has seen the emergence of collective forms of inquiry, knowledge production and resistance (with some innovative changes), which challenge us all to move beyond traditional understandings and practices. This conference, now in its 8th year, aims to explore and debate critical perspectives on and beyond:

– Acts of resistance within and outside academic and service systems

– The impact of activism on democratising mental health care

– The importance of socio-political perspectives in understanding and responding to human distress

– Co-option of resistance into dominant systems.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers

Brigit McWade is a sociologist researching and teaching aspects of mental health from media representations to social policy, from health care practices to identity, social inequalities and neoliberalism. She is currently working with Prof. Imogen Tyler on the Leverhulme Trust Prize funded project ‘Rethinking the Sociology of Stigma’. She is active in establishing an International Mad Studies Network through publications, conference and event organisation, and social media.
Lucy Johnstone is a consultant clinical psychologist, author of ‘Users and abusers of psychiatry’, co-editor of ‘Formulation in psychology and psychotherapy: making sense of people’s problems’ and ‘A straight-talking guide to psychiatric diagnosis’, along with a number of other critical texts on mental health theory and practice. She worked in adult mental health settings for many years and is currently self-employed.
Jacqui Dillon is a respected speaker, writer and activist, who has lectured and published worldwide on trauma, psychosis, dissociation and recovery. She is the national Chair of the English Hearing Voices Network, Honorary Lecturer in Clinical Psychology at the University of East London, Honorary Research Fellow in the School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health, Durham University and Visiting Research Fellow at The Centre for Community Mental Health, Birmingham City University.
Jonathan Gadsby is a mental health nurse and a founder member of the Critical Mental Health Nurses’ Network. He has a Masters in the Philosophy and Ethics of Mental Health, and his PhD concerned the politics of emotions, identity and voice-hearing. He is involved in research about the experiences of critically-minded newly-qualified nurses, and teaches students, nurses, social workers and psychiatrists’ critical perspectives on psychiatry and psychology.
Kathryn Church is Director and Associate Professor in the School of Disability Studies at Ryerson University in Toronto. Author of Forbidden Narratives: Critical Autobiography as Social Science, she analyzed the use of psychiatric survivor narratives in/against the early formations of “consumer participation” in Ontario’s mental health system. An arts-informed ethnographer, she wrote a dozen plain-text documents about psychiatric survivor-led economic development initiatives, consulted to the documentary film Working Like Crazy and co-curated Out from Under: Disability, History and Things to Remember, the first public exhibit of disability history in Canada. Currently engaged in the activist/administrative project of blending disability and Mad studies, Kathryn has been a movement ally for 30 years.
Activism inside and outside mental health systems: Panel discussion with Cork activists: Joan Hamilton, Sli Eile; Mary Maddock, MindFreedomIreland; Rory Doody,Recovery Advocate; Pat Bracken, Consultant Psychiatrist.
Call for Oral Presentations/Workshops (45 minutes’ duration): Please submit an abstract (in Word – 250 words max) related to the conference theme and outlining its aims and intentions by 4 September 2016. Please also submit a brief bio (in Word – 150 words max). Email abstract and bio to Inquiries to or Registration details will be circulated in September 2016.

The Conference organisers are Harry Gijbels, Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery, and Lydia Sapouna, School of Applied Social Studies, University College Cork, Ireland.

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