|dc.description.abstract||Mad People’s History and Identity (MPHI) is a Mad Studies course delivered
at Queen Margaret University (QMU). The course is a partnership including
academics at QMU, Consultancy and Advocacy Promotion Service (CAPS),
NHS Lothian and people with lived experience of mental health issues.
LeFrançois (2016, p. v) provides a coherent definition of Mad Studies stating
that “mad activist scholarship, a form of knowledge production or collective
intellectual contribution that is embedded in Mad community interventions
MPHI is an exercise in critical pedagogy to facilitate “conscientisation”
through the exploration of individual and collective experiences of madness,
psychiatrisation and oppression. It aims to engage students in challenging
dominant discourses, creating counter-knowledge and activist resistance to
the Epistemic Injustice and oppression experienced by the mad community.
This PAR research proposed to explore the experiences and impacts of
being part of the course. Its main focus was on the exploration of the
relationship between participation on the course and activism. Congruent
with the philosophy of the course, this research was committed to privileging
the experiences, knowledge and histories of the user/survivor/mad MPHI
students. A PAR group of four students, two partners from CAPS and the
author co-produced this research. Data collection involved the peer
interviews of nine MPHI students. The actions of the research were the
generation of a Photovoice exhibition and the production of a film.
The research revealed that participation in the course had facilitated change
in both mad and intersectional identities. It had given voice to experiences of
distress, psychiatrisation and oppression. The collective experience had
fostered support, solidarity and increased social capital. This included
accessing new communities, occupations and engagement with social
movements. The course had raised consciousness of personal and collective
oppression resulting in agency and engagement with advocacy and activism.
Key words: Mad People’s History, Mad Studies, Participatory Action