WELCOME TO ALL FELLOW CAMPAIGNERS for DISABILITY RIGHTS - a pan disability blog connecting my work with, EQUAL LIVES, the National Survivor User Network (NSUN) and the Survivor History Group.

Protest, Norwich Job Centre

Protest, Norwich Job Centre
Fatso Gets Militant!

Wednesday, 20 April 2016


From Andrew Roberts



telephone: 020 8 986 5251

mobile 07505527755

home address: 177 Glenarm Road, London, E5 ONB


The Survivors History Group has running out of money and so has had to  catch up on the "annual reports" which are a condition of our getting some more. The last one was in 2011, but we now have a draft

for the whole period of our existence (2005 to the present) at




Believe me, it is long. We will just submit to our funders a copy of

the report for 2014 and 2015. A draft copy of that is attached.

Please read it and reflect as it is supposed to be our opportunity to

think about where we have been and where we want to go.


Please let me have some feedback. What did we do that we have not

reported on? What do you think of what we have done? What do you

think we should have said?


Everyone is welcome at our meetings. We will feed you with sandwiches and things. The next one is next week:


Wednesday 27.4.2016 Survivors History Group Extraordinary Meeting 1pm

Together - Talking to Patsy Staddon about being a woman, using

alcohol, stopping using alcohol, being a survivor researcher and

editing books - amongst other things.  Patsy, who has already been

very generous to us with copies of "Mental Health Service Users in

Research: Critical Sociological Perspectives", will be with us in

person to discuss her life, and the light it sheds on society and



The other meetings in 2016 are


Wednesday 25.5.2016


When we will probably take a broad look at the content of "Madness,

distress and the politics of disablement"


Wednesday 27.7.2016

Wednesday 28.9.2016

Wednesday 30.11.2016


Best Wishes, Andrew




Survivors' History 2014

Annual Report from the Survivors History Group

Survivors History 1800-2015: In 2014, a lot of work was expected on the book about survivor history based on our website. None of this happened, because of unspeakable events. Confidence was slowly regained during 2015.

Eric Irwin

In January, the main item was a discussion of Eric Irwin and his contribution to the movement. We heard recollections from Brian Douieb, Liz Durkin, Barbara Morden and Frank Bangay.

The Last Asylum. A memoir of madness in our time Penguin, by Barbara Taylor was published in February 2014 by Penguin.. It told her journey through mental illness and the psychiatric health care system in the context of the wider story of the end of the UK asylum system. Several of us attended the launch event at Queen Mary, University of London on Tuesday 18.3.2014 This was a public discussion of mental health care in Britain, past and present, featuring Peter Barham - Peter Campbell - Annette de la Cour - Antony Garelick and Barbara Taylor herself. Afterwards, we prepared a webpage of the talks and summary of some of the discussion.


Our very own professor in user-led research

One of those who originally promoted the study of survivors history was Diana Rose. In March 2014 we received an excited and exciting email from Diana: "Are you still keeping the timeline up to date? If so, here's some news. I have just been appointed Professor in User- Led Research at IoP, King's College London. No doubt some would see this as co-option of movement intellectuals but I am quite pleased and think I can make a difference 'inside' the system whilst respecting those who choose to do this from the outside. Best wishes Diana". In September Constantina Papoulias and Jenny Walke led a discussion about the Service Users Research Enterprise, which Diana is responsible for, and its current research projects


Vincent van Gogh


March 2014 saw the publication of Splitting in Two: Mad Pride and Punk Rock Oblivion by Robert Dellar

Frank Bangay wrote that Robert traces his life from a working class area of Watford, through Sussex University and London squatting community to what he calls the "murky waters of mental health" including pioneering work in Hackney Hospital setting up a patients' council and advocacy department.

In the mid 1990s, when Hackney hospital was closing, Robert organised some lively gigs, which he describes n colourful detail. He worked at Southwark MIND (possibly the first user-run MIND group) before joining Mad Pride, an organisation which linked mental health to rock and roll through the gigs it produced. Robert and his friend Peter Shaughnessy also turned mental health demonstrations into theatre.

We discussed Roberts book in 2015

From March to July 2014, there was an exhibition at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris called Van Gogh / Artaud. Le suicidé de la société. Members of the Survivors History Group visited and made a report to our May meeting when we discussed of art and mental health in relation to Vincent van Gogh. A web report on the meeting was put online and it was suggested we should have a similar report on the work of Mary Barnes and Howard Mingham.

message of recovering health through history. It recorded Ukawsaw Gronniosaw travelling from Africa to the USA, to England (1772?) and to Holland, "mad Mary Lamb" (1764-1847)

Mad World.

On 9.6.2014 we exhibited at the International Service User Leadership and Peer Support Festival, hosted by National Survivor User Network (NSUN) and Together, to showcase international best practice from people with experience of mental health conditions. We called our exhibition "solidarity and diversity in our mad world". A central part of this was a timeline headed "International Survivor History - Solidarity in multicultural diversity". The timeline began with the sankofa bird (Ghana), with its


writing stories for the English speaking world, the 1845 Alleged Lunatics Friend Society in England, (Mrs) Elizabeth Packard versus her husband, Theophilus Packard, in an Illinois, USA, court in 1864 and Vincent van Gogh in Holland and France. In the 20th century it listed Clifford Beers (1876-1943) on the international stage, August Natterer, a visionary (1907) German asylum artist, James Ollier and friends defending rights inside an English asylum in 1924, remembrance of those who were exterminated from 1939, Peter Whitehead organising inside Rampton (England) in 1955, Recovery (now Grow) in Australia (1955) and Ireland (1957), 1968: "We Shall Overcome" formed in Norway in 1968, Coudewater in Holland in 1970 and the Scottish Union of Mental Patients in 1971. Madness Network News started in the USA in 1972. In 1973, groups from France, Germany, England and Spain met together in Fresnes in France. Judi Chamberlin published On Our Own. Patient- Controlled Alternatives to the Mental Health System in the USA in 1978 and brought copies to London, Holland and Iceland to share with users groups in 1982. In Canada in 1980, the call "Cabbages of the world unite" led to the world- wide network of what is now called, Disabled People's International.

In 1982 Frank Bangay's solidarity poster seemed to say it all: "We cried together last night, but our tears were in solidarity with the sadness in the world, and through our solidarity through our tears we found strength"

The World Mental Health Conference held in Brighton, England in July 1985 was the scene of an international user revolution in which Judi Chamberlin, Frank Bangay and users from Holland, Denmark and Scotland played leading roles. Mary O'Hagan in Auckland, Aotearoa/New Zealand, in 1987 was inspired by Judi Chamberlin's book to found "Psychiatric Survivors". In 1990 se went on a world tour and Survivors Speak Out in England published her Stopovers on my way home from mars. Reflective journey through the psychiatric survivor movement in the USA, Britain and the Netherlands in 1993. In 1990 "the initiative was taken in the Netherlands to form a network of associations of (former) psychiatric patients from various European countries.". The World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry began as the World Federation of Psychiatric Users formed at the World Federation for Mental Health Congress in Mexico City in August 1991. These congresses, held every two years, were a convenient place for users to meet as there were always some attending anyway. Tower Hamlets African and Caribbean Mental Health Organisation, formed in 1996, argued that "We must go back and reclaim our past so we can move forward". Through exploring the past of black people, identity is restored and health found through history. SIMBA (Share In Maudsley Black Action), formed in 1998, followed Bob Marley's advice that "none but ourselves can free our minds" and instead of sitting on hospital committees only talked to management if it could do so in poetry and song accompanied by the cubs (children).. Psychiatric Survivors' Archive Toronto (Canada) began meeting regularly in January 2001 - They now have an extensive archive classified as organisational and personal. In India, issue one of aaina - a mental health advocacy


newsletter was published in March 2001. The international language of Japanese comics explored a madness in everyone in Crona "Dark One" (2003). Gender is just one thing s/he does not know how to deal with. The inaugural meeting of organisations representing users and survivors on the African continent took place in 2005, in Kampala, Uganda with representative from Guinea, Ghana, South Africa, Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda. The Pan African Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry is now called the Pan African Network of People with Psychosocial Disabilities. The Oor Mad History project in Edinburgh was inspired by the History of Madness course at Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada, which started in the autumn of 2004. In 2010 it published Oor Mad History. A Community History of the Lothian. Mental Health Service User Movement. In 2013 Canadian survivors followed this by publishing Mad Matters: A Critical Reader in Canadian Mad Studies

Bristol Independent Mental Health Network

In August 2014 Bristol Independent Mental Health Network, a new user led network of about 25 user led groups and individuals, had its first Annual General Meeting. This followed two years of development Alison Faulkner as independent trainer help with some of the early development of the group with two workshops in 2013. The Network has individual membership as well as group membership. Group members include Bristol Hearing Voices Group and Bristol Survivors. The aim is to provide a stronger user voice access Bristol. The network now (2016) has a website http://bimhn.org.uk/ , an active twitter and a facebook page. We were kept in contact with developments by our Bristol correspondent, Glen Townshend.

Mad studies: On 9.11.2014 a "mad studies stream" was started at Lancaster University's Disability Studies Conference

In presenting the November 2014 conference, Peter Beresford argued that mad studies was "a movement to bring people with experience of mental distress into the discourse around care and treatment"

Mad Studies is a term that originated in Canada about 2011 to describe a "new discipline" said to be emerging at Ryerson University. David Reville used the term - in connection with his course A History of Madness, writing of mad studies as patients' rather than doctor's views.

A link between survivors in Toronto and Edinburgh goes back, at least, to 2001 and led to a Mad People's History module from 2014, but activities are not called "mad studies" in Scotland.


The idea of Mad Studies received an enormous boost from the publication of Mad Matters A Critical Reader in Canadian Mad Studies in the early summer of 2013. Nederland (Holland) was quick to pick up the new term. The first posting on Mad Studies - Voor high-knowledge crazies in Nederland was made on 6.8.2013. The first major English "mad studies" events took place in 2014 and a conference was organised in 2015.

Courses in Canada, Holland, Scotland and England may operate with different concepts of what Mad Studies is and what its relation is to survivor centred research.


In December 2013 The Court of Appeal upheld a decision that the Work Capability Assessment discriminates against people with mental health problems. This was a victory for the Mental Health Resistance Network. In March 2014 and "Easy Read" guide to the budget said that from April 2015, "the Government will only have a certain amount of money to spend on benefits". In November 2014 a video from Moore Lavan Films, called We're NOT all in this together, told the story of the closure of the Independent Living Fund from 2015 and disabled people's campaigns against this.

Finance end of 2014

At the close of the year our available resources were £1,318.77. Accounts were shown to the November 2014 meeting of the London Group. On 5.3.2015, Peter Campbell examined the accounts and relevant papers from October 2007, when an account was first opened, until 31.12.2014 and signed that he is satisfied that they are a true statement of the organisation's transactions. Peter Barham examined the same accounts and relevant papers on 23.2.2015 and signed that he is satisfied that they are a true statement of the organisation's transactions

Survivors' History 2015

Annual Report from the Survivors History Group A new structure

In September 2014 we began a discussion of the future of the Survivors History Group (What could we do? What shall we do?) with respect to the next few meetings and other events related to them. We decided that we wanted London meetings to continue, as possible, as place for discussing issues about survivor history. In 2015 alterations were made to the structure of the Survivors History Group aimed at making continuation possible. A small group will be responsible for finance and related issues. Networking, through mailings and other electronic means, will be done by those who can, and the discussion meetings will be organised by Andrew Roberts and whoever can help him. We are very grateful to Together for the facilities they provide and their friendly support.


Howard Mingham and Mary Barnes and survivor art

Early in the year, we discussed Howard Mingham and Mary Barnes and survivor art. A memorial meeting for Howard Mingham was held in October 2014, thirty years after his death. At a later meeting, David Kessel commented on how hard Howard worked on his poetry. he also said that he thought there was a connection between Howard (and his) diagnoses as schizophrenics and their poetry. They are deeply connected. "Mental struggle expresses itself in Howard's poetry"

Dina Ibrahim visited the Mary Barnes exhibition and co-authored a report. She also attended the memorial meeting for Howard Mingham. When unable to attend a London meeting, Dina rang as up and talked to the meeting by telephone.

Recovery: "Recovery In The Bin" is a user led group critical of the recovery model. It published 18 Key Principles in February 2015, saying We believe that there are core

principles of 'recovery' that are worth saving, and that the colonisation of 'recovery' undermines those principles, which have hitherto championed autonomy and self- determination.". Recovery In The Bin's first public presentation was at the 'Making Sense of Mad Studies' conference in Durham in October 2015. AE O'Donnell presented and other Recovery In The Bin members were also present - Sue Phillips, Grietje Keller, Jayasree Kalathil, Ute Maria Kraemer and Alison Faulkner.

Stigma and austerity

In April 2015 the UK National Hearing Voices Network held a conference called "time for (real) change" that was critical of the "current paradigm of pathologising and labelling human experiences". The "(real)" in the title suggested that campaigning against stigma is not enough. A revolution in mental health and society was suggested. But some thought this was not enough. Joanna @maddoggiejo tweeted "no mention of ideological austerity, welfare processes and cuts, and capitalism... I wonder if the ... revolution has any interest in social justice as well as diagnosis/Mental Health Act/alternatives? One does not make sense without the other, we have no movement without social justice at the heart of it"

Beyond Bedlam?

In May 2015, Peter Campbell started a discussion about collaboration and conflict in 1997 by reviewing Beyond Bedlam: Poems written out of Mental Distress, which was published in 1997 in cooperation between Royal Bethlem and Survivors Poetry and Jenny Walke made a presentation about the modern Bethlem Hospital (1930 to the present). Modern Bethlem includes the recently opened Museum of the Mind, which a group of us visited and made suggestions about in March. Our special report on Bethlem Hospital was one of the documents made available on the PPlog internet blog by Mike Cox (Norfolk) at http://micoxpplog.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/survivor-history-special-bethlehem.html


Standing up to madness - An autobiography

In July 2015 we had a presentation of Standing up to madness - An autobiography by Nelsy and discussion. Nelsy focused on the contrast between "capitalist" and "natural" ways of relating to one another.

The Mind Archive: The Survivors History Group has long campaigned for the papers of Mind (the National Association for Mental Health) that were deposited in the Wellcome Library in London to be catalogued and made available to the public. In June 2015, we took part in a seminar celebrating this achievement. This concluded with a discussion of the importance of collecting and preserving survivors' archives.


In June we celebrated ten years of survivor research at St George's Hospital.

Engage Visually drew this six metre cartoon of a river winding through words and pictures of our discussions, and flowing on into

a future that relates to people in the street and the community. We wrote a report called User involvement from a bus to Clapham

In July and September 2015, Peter Campbell introduced us to Mental Health Service Users in Research: Critical Sociological Perspectives, edited by Patsy Staddon. In the discussion, the fancy word of the day was autoethnography. .

Mad Pride and Punk Rock - Penny Poets Manifesto - Madness, distress and the politics of disablement

In September 2015 we had a discussion of Splitting in Two: Mad Pride and Punk Rock Oblivion led by Frank Bangay and Peter Campbell -

David Kessel's Penny Poets Manifesto and the Schizophrenic Salvation Network were introduced by Peter Barham.

In December 2015 we began Helen Spandler, Jill Anderson and Bob Sapey's new collection of articles on Madness, Distress and the Politics of Disablement by discussing a chapter by Anne Plumb. .

Including everyone

One of the issues highlighted by our visits to the Museum of the Mind and to the research seminar at St George's is what might be called the compulsory whiteness of history. The majority of the world's population are excluded. The group has begun to discuss the history of survivors in Africa and of African survivors living in London. Hagir Ahmed said that her Sudanese community group include many mentally distressed people who have witnessed trauma of war, including rape. Now experiencing domestic abuse and violence. In her view the medicalisation of health issues 'papers over the cracks' that originate in peoples misuse of others.

Finance end of 2015

Our bank balance at the close of 2015 was £635, but money was owed to Andrew Roberts for the purchase of refreshments and payment of other expenses.



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