Monday, December 5, 2016

Mad studies.

I had a busy weekend. On Saturday I trekked out to Victoriaville to visit a handful of antique places with K. I was introduced to K in Victoria when I visited my buddy there. K is in Montreal now, working on a master's degree in interdisciplinary studies, specifically disability studies.

Our day together had us discuss all sorts of things, much of it around disability studies, academia, access, mental illness, graduate work and just everything in and around those subjects.

When I talked to her about my Etsy shop, as well as my blog here, and what I focus on she was very encouraging as to my work being elaborated into graduate work.

She also pointed to an upcoming symposium on feminism and dark humor, as well as the field of "mad studies." Both things seemed so me. 

I'm going through a few "mad studies" links now:

This is a resource site. It seems to be based in Lancaster but many of the links are Canadian. It seems to have started in Canada.

It's linked me to the Centre for the study of Gender, Social Inequities and Mental Health in Vancouver, which sounds right up my alley.

From The Guardian UK, Mad studies brings a voice of sanity to psychiatry by Peter Beresford:
The approach embodied in mad studies offers us a coherent roadmap for rethinking our mental wellbeing by recognising people who have experience of mental distress as both service users and experts.
I'm surprised that with all the reading I've been doing I've not been linked to Ryerson or "mad studies" before today. The symposium was in 2012. Though in all fairness to me in 2012 I was too busy having panic attacks to be reading anything other than Ativan labels.

 From another article, The rise of Mad Studies: A new academic discipline challenges our ideas of what it means to be “sane” by Alex Gillis:
"Mad studies doesn’t reject medical models of madness [but it puts] them into a historical trajectory, one that shows that psychiatry isn’t an absolute interpretation of human mental states,” says Kathryn Church, an associate professor of sociology and director of Ryerson’s school of disability studies.
It contextualizes "madness" - and I hope the representation of actual "mad" voices and experience fill the gaps (and there are many) of the nuances of access, care, and experience. Like any history account, the majority of reading someone's history means negating the histories of others. Views are never fully three-dimensional. Much of our talk about mental health is extremely superficial.

The article ends with a call to represent yourself and your experience, and that's where I'm wading right now.

How best to represent myself and my experiences?

Is academia more limiting than it is a helpful framework?

Do I want limits to how I represent myself and my struggles?

Am I comfortable with a language-based approach?

Does my writing and creative work need to be shared, viewed, and recognized to be valuable?

Am I willing to make such a financial sacrifice, for a degree with no monetary return value?

Am I willing to continue living like a student / someone who is perpetually broke?

Can I afford graduate school?

Do I have the energy for it?

All things I'm thinking of. All of this, and more, of course.

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