Some AHP readers may interested in a forthcoming symposium on Mad Studies and Neurodiversity. The one day event will take place Wednesday June 17th at Lancaster University in the UK,and “aims to foster dialogue between two relatively new areas of scholarship and activism in the social sciences – that of Mad Studies and Neurodiversity.” The symposium’s description and aims are provided below and full details, including registration information, for the event can be found here.
Mad Studies and Neurodiversity – exploring connections
Wednesday 17th June 2015 – Lancaster University, UK
Funded by the Centre for Disability Research and the Department of Sociology, Lancaster University.
This symposium builds on conversations that begun during the inaugural Mad Studies stream at Lancaster Disability Studies Conference in September 2014. It aims to foster dialogue between two relatively new areas of scholarship and activism in the social sciences – that of Mad Studies and Neurodiversity.
Mad Studies and Neurodiversity are both emergent areas of scholarship that aim to bring the ‘experiences, history, culture, political organising, narratives, writings and most importantly, the PEOPLE who identify as: Mad; psychiatric survivors; consumers; service users; mentally ill; patients; neuro-diverse; inmates; disabled – to name a few of the “identity labels” our community may choose to use’ (Costa, 2014) to the academic table. To date, academic activities around madness and neurological divergence have failed to include those with lived experience, who are ‘frequently frozen out of the processes of knowledge production’ (Milton, 2014, p. 794). This is not limited to the big business of pharmaceuticals, or the biological or genetic research that seeks to identify bio-markers for and eradicate autism, schizophrenia and the like. Indeed, much of social scientific work in these areas may aim, but continually fail, to include lived expertise equally, positioning patients/users/survivors as outsiders, objects for interpretation and research ‘on’ rather than ‘with’ (Beresford and Russo, 2014; Milton and Bracher, 2013).
A key outcome of the 2014 Mad Studies stream in Lancaster was the call for more time and space being devoted to the development of theories, concepts and tools in order to build Mad Studies into an established academic discipline. One area of interest highlighted the relationship of both neurodiversity and Mad Studies to Disability Studies. In particular, Steven Graby (2015) has written about how neurodiversity might provide a conceptual bridge between the activism of psychiatric survivors/mental health service-users and the Disabled People’s Movement.
This symposium aims to provide a forum for both mad-identified and neurodivergent stakeholders to develop knowledge in this area by exploring the following questions:
- What do the neurodiversity and mad studies movements have to say to each other?
- What concepts might help us explore our shared experiences and our differences?
- How might we make space in the academy for mad and neurodivergent-infused knowledges and practices?
We encourage the participation of those from both within and outside the academic community.