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Sunday, 27 May 2012

Survivors' History Group News.

The THE SURVIVORS HISTORY GROUP, of which I'm a keen member has asked me if this blog can be used as an eastern outpost for news and comment for the group and the forum (survivor-history@googlegroups.com).

I'm only too pleased to be a vehicle for this important project so here's the first entry.


From: Andrew Roberts Secretary Survivors History Group http://studymore.org.uk/ studymore@studymore.org.uk telephone: 020 8 986 5251 home address: 177 Glenarm Road, London, E5 ONB

The next meeting of the Survivors History Group will be held on Wednesday 30.5.2012 from 1pm to 5pm at Together, 12 Old Street, London. Everybody is welcome and refreshments will be provided. Minutes for the last meeting (largely written by Peter McGeary) follow on news of other issues.

The agenda for the meeting will be drawn up at the beginning of the meeting, but will include Peter Campbell's regular report back on the research he is leading on the history of Survivors Speak Out. We will probably want to discuss how that (and other projects we are engaged in) fit in with the proposed book on Survivor History outlined below. Other projects that are relevant are our visit to Oor Mad History in Edinburgh in June and the Community Archives and Heritage Group conference.

Survivor History - the book

Peter Campbell, Anne Plumb and Andrew Roberts have been asked to submit a proposal for a short (65,000 words) book on survivor history to be published by Palgrave in spring 2015. The book should be a down-to-earth, easy to read, history of the movement set in the context of the development of mental health policy in the UK and internationally. The book will be part of a series aimed at health professionals (especially those in training), health historians, sociologists and the general public. We are working on the proposal with Thurstine Basset, who is one of the editors of the series. The proposal should be submitted for consideration in September (this year).

The description of the book given in the series descriptions suggests that the editors want something that builds on the work already done on the Survivor History website and in articles and the group's recent book chapter. It would also develop the archival work that Anne has done with movement literature and the research that Peter is currently engaged in on the history of Survivors Speak Out.

Such a book cannot be written without drawing heavily on the collective resources of the movement and so we would like to consult members of the Survivor History Group about all aspects of it and to publish the book (if it is published) as being by Peter Campbell, Anne Plumb and Andrew Roberts "in consultation with the Survivor History Group."

This is the (simple) plan that we are provisionally working on for the book:

TITLE: Survivors History 1800-2015 SUB-TITLE The mental health service users movement.

1) Introduction: Who we are, why we are writing and what you can do. 10,000 words

Chronology

2) 1845-1969 - 10,000 words;

3) 1970s - 10,000 words;

4) 1980s - 10,000 words;

5) 1990s - 10,000 words;

6) Second millennium - 10,000 words;

Bibliography

Index

A suggestion we are considering is that the introduction should be the place to discuss issues about teaching and learning and the nature of survivor history, and also the place to explain that perceptions of history differ and that the authors themselves have different views. It could contain an integrated history of the three authors that explains our different interests and perspectives. It could then discuss survivor history as part of self-respect, as part of professional training, as part of life long learning and as a reflection on the human condition. These issue would all reflect discussions at group meetings about the importance of education as a life enhancing activity for survivors and others. It could then discuss ways of researching and writing survivors history and conclude by discussing the content of our history and outlining issues for discussion that we think readers might think about and talk about in groups. Many of these issues are ones that the series wants us to address and, if we discuss them all in one place, it will free the rest of the book for a more concrete outline of history.

Trip to Edinburgh

Anne Plumb, Graham Estop and Andrew Roberts will be visiting the Oor Mad History project in Edinburgh on Friday 22.6.2012 (when we plan to visit the 'Oor Mad History' archive and study how they do it) and on Saturday 23.6.2012 (when there is a plan for a workshop and social meeting people involved in all aspects of Oor Mad History and others as well). We will be travelling (individually) to Edinburgh on Thursday 21.6.2012 (or earlier) and returning to Manchester, Yorkshire and London (respectively) on Sunday 24.6.2012. Others are very welcome to join us. The Survivors History Group has agreed to pay a substantial part of the expenses, especially if you book early enough to get the cheap rates.

Community Archives and Heritage Group (CAHG) Conference 2012

The 2012 Community Archives and Heritage Group conference will take place on Wednesday 27 June at University College London. The theme is "History matters - Community Archives and Learning" - "Hear about projects which are using archives to engage students in schools and higher education as well as a project exploring the involvement of young people in community archives and archaeology."

Several of us went last year and found it really useful. Andrew Roberts plans to be there this year. It is free and you just book online at http://www.communityarchives.org.uk/

The Newhaven Journeyman

Alastair Kemp seeks articles of about 5,000 words for the Newhaven Journeyman (music, madness and politics). Andrew Roberts has agreed to draft one on Charlotte and Freda Mew. To see is you would be interested in the magazine, visit http://www.eleusinianpress.co.uk/

Asylum magazine

Asylum is seeking a more inclusive content. It wants to be less mono- cultural. As the history of the Survivor Movement is a story of contributions from many cultures, maybe we should draft something to help?

MINUTES APRIL 2012

Survivors History Group Meeting, Wednesday 4.4.2012. Together, 12 Old Street London EC1V.

Attending: Peter Campbell, Andrew Roberts, David Kessel, Peter Barham, Eamer O'Keefe, Fabian Tompsett, Peter McGeary.

Agreed: Details of the research fee to be paid to Peter Campbell for his work on the history and archives of Survivors Speak Out. Provisional arrangements for paying expense of members visiting Edinburgh in June.

Anne Beales' presentation to an Australian conference on English national survivor network. The Victorian Mental Health Consumer Workforce Conference 2012 Monday, 28.5.2012 - Tuesday, 29.5.2012

This is in Victoria, Australia and we are represented by one of our founder members, Anne Beales. Anne is one of the two keynote speakers. Read about it at http://www.vmiac.org.au/

Anne showed us her draft presentation, which we thought was good.

Peter Campbell's talk on narrative history of Survivors Speak Out:

Peter Campbell was centrally involved with the Survivors Speak Out Coordinating Group from 1988 to 1996.

This was the first of six scheduled reports from Peter on research conducted for the group into the history of Survivors Speak Out. His first task has been to identify and categorise the records available. To date he has identified four categories of information in his personal archive.

1) General information sheets. AGM notices. 1988-1996. Some of 1998. Reports from officers. Sometimes brief summaries. Resolutions. Correspondence with organisations. Such as the Mental Health Act Commission.

2) Coordinating Group minutes. Peter has (a good but?) limited archive of these minutes and has yet to determine their usefulness. Most were handwritten. They were photocopied for members, but Peter thought it is doubtful that other attenders can fill in any gaps. Andrew thought that Peter Beresford, and Jan Wallcraft kept files and may be a further source. Peter agreed to check.

Peter has since completed his list of the Survivors Speak Out Coordinating Group minutes in his collection, which we are circulating for others to supplement.

1989: February 11th April 8th October 1st November 11th

1990: February 16th April 29th November 19th

1991: May 15th July 1st November 8th

1992: March 4th May unknown June 15th September 21st December 2nd

1993: January 20th March 23rd April 29th September 28th

1994: March 18th May 16th November 14th December 14th

1995: January 16th February 20th April 24th May 22nd August 14th November 13th December 16th

1996: January 15th February 17th April 20th May 20th June 22nd August 17th October 12th December 7th

3) Newssheets from 1985 to 1996. Came out about once a quarter. Peter has a large number of these, which he has ordered chronologically. There may well be gaps, yet to be ascertained. As with minutes, he has since compiled a list for others to check.

Peter Campbell's Survivors Speak Out Collection is made up of the following issues -

??1986 Issue - April/May 1987 - August 1987 - November 1987 - February 1988 - May 1988 - August 1988 - November 1988 - December 1988 - March 1989 - June 1989 - October 1989 - New Year 1989/1990 - April 1990 - July 1990 December 1990 - April 1991 - August 1991 - September 1991 - January 1992 - June 1992 - October 1993 - January 1994 - June 1994 - August 1994 October 1995 - January 1996 - June 1996 - August 1996 - May 1997 - September 1997 - November 2000

There have been discussions about what constitutes a "newssheet" involving Peter, Andrew and Anne Plumb and a common vocabulary will help us.

4) Personal correspondence. There is an archive of letters Peter answered a secretary. These include requests for information, requests to join the organisation and requests for help. People also wrote with their personal stories. Peter has yet to sort the correspondence as he is unsure as to their relevance to Survivors Speak Out's history.

Peter Barham asked if Survivors Speak Out intended helping individuals. Peter Campbell thought it was not designed for this. David Kessel pointed out that he had challenged this at the Minstead planning meeting in August 1986. David had wanted the group to be a union type organisation and to represent service users. But others had not agreed.

In the light of this discussion, Andrew asked about the role of Survivors Speak Out' information service, information officer and the information worker. Peter Campbell said these were not aimed at support, but as information for people who wanted to do things.

The group agreed with Peter Campbell that the archive of personal correspondence would be unlikely to be relevant to our present project of outlining the core history of Survivors Speak Out. It was agreed, however, that it should be preserved as a future historical resource.

Peter Barham asked if there were any tape recordings of Survivors Speak Out meetings. Peter Campbell said no.

Andrew asked if there were any pictures - Peter said he was unaware of any.

Andrew noted that after Peter's archive ends in 1996, until 2000 the record of Survivors Speak Out is much less consistent. We discussed the dramatic change of officers and Coordinating Group members that took place at the Survivors Speak Out AGM on 9.11.1996 and possible reasons for it.

Peter and others thought there would be value in contacting the people who took over (several of whom are members of the Survivors History Group). Peter reported that Alan Leader took over as secretary in November 1997. Others who were involved included Mark Roberts and Simon Barnet. Using the names of post 1996 coordinating group members that Anne Plumb has put together from her archives, we may be able to contact others.

Andrew pointed out that, from 1996 onwards (but not before), much of Survivors Speak Out's history is traceable on the internet, if you follow up the traces it left. He thought this is not entirely a coincidence and that the internet was an aspect of the changing structure of survivor action from 1996. Peter Campbell and Andrew both thought the archive work might open up new views of Survivors Speak Out's history. Amongst the members who stood down in 1996, it is generally held that Survivors Speak Out went into decline in 1997. It may be that this is not true and that what happened was more a matter of change in changing times

There was some discussion of the influence of personal bad feelings on developments in Survivors Speak Out. This is a complex issue, but one we need to keep some discreet tabs on. There were some problems at the meetings, but these are not thought to have had a big influence. Peter explained that finances became more restricted from 1996 onwards and it was a difficult time to keep the committee going. The Treasurer, John Bowden, resigned mid-term in 1996. The administrative officer (Cheryl Lygo)'s funding ran out in 1999, when she left. Pressure for change and restricted funding may have eventually prevented Survivors Speak Out from continuing.

Agreed: Peter Campbell will complete his review of information, list the key events in the life of the Survivors Speak Out (e.g. Edale; Minstead Lodge, Press release, Charter of Needs and Demands, Constitution, status of allies compared to survivors etc.) and write an account of each one.

Peter Barham suggested it would be useful to have markers (on the website) around each event.

Peter Campbell also has information on local activities and branches from Survivors Speak Out activity - but the group agreed that he keeps his focus on the history of the central group for the time being.

Eamer O'Keefe's report on Brenda Williams' history and article.

Eamer circulated documents on Brenda Williams - who has spent 5.5 years active in protests. The group noted her recent protest against cuts in health services has completed and acknowledged her dedication to good causes.

THACMHO situation report - Fabian Tompsett.

Tower Hamlets African and Caribbean Mental Health Organisation (THACMHO) is a user led and user run voluntary group formed in 1996 with mental health service users, that has played a leading role in researching and publicising the African history of London's East End. With limited resources the organisation is exploring alternative models for survival. THACMHO has been working with MELLOW which was founded in 2000 as part of East London NHS Foundation Trust to work with African and Caribbean people with mental health problems. THACMHO works in Tower Hamlet, Mellow covers Hackney and the City of London as well.

MELLOW is not so user-led but is known to engage well with community. Andrew queried whether THACMHO's archives could be lost, as donating records will allow for their storage but may mean giving up access. Fabian reported that agreement is being negotiated with Bishopsgate Institute. Their financial commitment to cataloguing these records is not yet known and open access to THACMHO's archives is yet to be agreed. Fabian agreed to keep the Survivors' History Group informed of progress.

SUMMARY OF DATES:

Wednesday 30.5.2012 Survivors History Group 1pm Together

June 2012 The Survivor History Group plans to visit Oor Mad History in Edinburgh.

Thursday 21.6.2012 Travel to Edinburgh from different parts of England. Stay in a Youth Hostel.

Friday 22.6.2012 Visit the Oor Mad History archive and study how hey do it.

Saturday 23.6.2012 Workshop and social meeting people involved in all aspects of 'Oor Mad History' and others as well.

Sunday 24.6.2012 Travel home

Wednesday 27.6.2012 Community Archives and Heritage Group AGM.

Wednesday 25.7.2012 Survivors History Group 1pm Together

Wednesday 26.9.2012 Survivors History Group 1pm Together

Wednesday 28.11.2012 Survivors History Group 1pm Together
END OF MAY/JUNE 2012 NEWS

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