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!

Thursday, 19 January 2017


From Andrew Roberts
telephone: 020 8 986 5251
mobile 07505527755
home address: 177 Glenarm Road, London, E5 ONB

The following meetings have been booked for 2017. All meetings will
be at  Together, 12 Old Street, London,  EC1V 9BE with food and drink
to reward those who come. Everyone is very welcome at meetings of the
Survivor History Group.

Wednesday 25.1.2017 Survivors History Group 1pm Together
Wednesday 29.3.2017 Survivors History Group 1pm Together
Wednesday 31.5.2017 Survivors History Group 1pm Together
Wednesday 26.7.2017 Survivors History Group 1pm Together
Wednesday 27.9.2017 Survivors History Group 1pm Together
Wednesday 29.11.2017 Survivors History Group 1pm Together

Our new meetings group will buy the food and set out the room ready
for 1pm. Copies of Asylum Magazine will be available for purchase at
a reduced price. From 1pm we will get to know one another and then
the meeting will probably be in two parts, with a refreshments break.
We should finish and leave Together before 5pm. You are welcome to
come for all or part of the meeting. If you know (or think) you will
be coming, it helps the planning if you let me know.

We are altering the arrangements for payments to those who claim
expenses. Please email me if you may be claiming.

TOPICS - NSUN (survivor? user network) history - SUMP and MPU
(Scotland and England early 1970s) - The history and future of
Welfare and participation - Rose Gardens: Alternative dreams and
realities - The survivor heritage in archives, websites, plaques,
museums and art collections - Your suggestions.

Topics can be put on our agenda at the start of meetings, but we are
also drawing up a list of topics in advance for the year. A group of
people from different parts of England (and possibly other places)
will be helping with this. Let me know if you have suggestions.

The first topic on Wednesday 25.1.2017 will be the history (and
future) of NSUN, the English "network for mental health" which
describes itself as an "independent, service-user-led charity that
connects people with experience of mental health issues to give us a
stronger voice in shaping policy and services". See its website:


In 2006 a 'Doing it for ourselves´ service user conference in
Birmingham developed the idea a National Survivor User Network
(NSUN), leading to funding in 2007 and becoming a fully independent
organisation in May 2010. What has it done? What can it do in the
future? How does it relate to the survivor movement in England and
throughout the world?

Our discussions will be led by Stephanie TaylorKing, who is the web
editor and information officer (part time) at NSUN. Stephanie will be
helping to improve our own web history of NSUN:


In the second part of the meeting we will move from England to
Scotland.  Using our archives, Mark Gallagher of the University of
Glasgow has written an article in "History of Psychiatry" called
"From asylum to action in Scotland: the emergence of the Scottish
Union of Mental Patients, 1971-2".  Andrew will introduce this
article, which is suggested as a discussion topic for later in the
year. The  following extract from is conclusion, comparing SUMP and
the Mental Patients Union, gives some idea of its significance:

"The cases of SUMP and MPU manifest in microcosm a significant
difference in deinstitutionalization between Scotland and the rest of
the UK. When the MPU emerged at Paddington in 1973, the resident
population of mental hospitals in Scotland was 370 per 100,000,
compared with an English occupancy rate of 190 (Martin, 1984: 68).
SUMP emerged from an old asylum, whereas MPU was formed at a day
hospital. As Martin (1984: 70) observed, `day hospital facilities
were unknown in Scotland before the mid-seventies´. Despite having
played a pioneering role over the previous century, with the
introduction of boarding-out and open-door policies, Scottish mental
hospitals in the 1970s were overcrowded and retained large numbers of
long-term residents. A decade after the UK Health Minister Enoch
Powell announced in 1961 that `for the great majority of these
establishments there is no future appropriate use´, Scotland remained
stubbornly yoked to traditional forms of institutional provision (see
Long, this issue). It is perhaps not surprising that the first mental
patients´ union in the UK emerged from an old asylum in Scotland, at
a time when a diminished role was envisaged for such institutions in
the UK and throughout the West".

Other topics for 2017, already agreed, include

The history and future of Welfare and participation - A discussion
based on Peter Beresford's book All Our Welfare - Towards
participatory social policy, published in 2016. Andy Brooker, Peter
Campbell and Peter Barham, and others, are reading an discussing this
in preparation.

Rose Gardens: Alternative dreams and realities - A discussion based
on  Searching for a Rose Garden: challenging psychiatry, fostering
Mad Studies - a collection of articles edited by Jasna Russo and
Angela Sweeney. We need volunteers to read and prepare.

The survivor heritage in archives, websites, plaques, museums and art
collections - It is possible that this discussion could be led by
Sarah Chaney, who has been very actively promoting the issues, if a
suitable date can be found. Sarah has drafted an article called
""Genus: Patient (species: voluntary)": Where is the Survivor
Archive?", which may be published as a blog by The Wellcome Library.

I thought last year was a very interesting one at the London meetings
of the Survivor History Group. Good records were kept by Peter
McGeary and it would be good if Andrew Roberts would use these to
share the discussions with others. As I have not done so yet, plans
are being made for the 2017 meetings that could mean NSUN
distributing summaries of the meetings.

One of the  most important discussions in 2016 was how people
surviving different things relate to one another. This focussed, in
particular on how disabilities of body, communication and learning
relate to mental distress. It also included discussion of alcohol.
Peter Barham has written a review of "Madness, Distress and the
Politics of Disablement", edited by Helen Spandler, Jill Anderson and
Bob Sapey, for the London School of Economics Review of Books, which
is "based very much on our discussion at the last Survivor History
Group meeting. You can read it at:


Thank you for everyone who has offered to help with making the
Survivor History Group more of a team effort. We are working through
the offers and ideas, and even I am hopeful!

Comments on this outline of our plans will be very welcome - We need
your suggestions.

Best wishes, Andrew

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The Tough Tenor (when I could walk)!

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In a Mellotone
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