Using Art in Mental Health Activism

15 June 2017

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Venue: Dragon Cafe

Organiser: Dolly Sen

As a child, Dolly Sen was an alien in Empire Strikes Back. She knew then she would never know normal life. Her journey as an artist has taken her up a tree in Regents Park, to California’s Death Row, to the Barbican, Tower Bridge and the Royal Academy, Trafalgar Square, and up a ladder to screw a lightbulb into the sky. She is a writer, filmmaker, artist and performer who uses her creativity to spank oppressive systems' arses, and to change the way people view madness.

If you are brutalised or abused by the mental health system and want to challenge and resist that, what can you do without it pathologised as part of your condition? Anger is seen part of your madness; complaints will be ignored and invalidated because any criticism on our part is a feature of our delusion. Where do we have a voice or power? Apart from suggesting we need mad culture, I will show how you can use art and humour to educate the wider public of what is really going on in psychiatry; to reclaim control of our narratives and identity; and to respond powerfully to a system that has hurt too many people. Art is way to make resistance impossible to ignore.