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  4. Peer support and experiential knowledge: the foundations of Survivor Research and Mad Studies’




Peer support and experiential knowledge: the foundations of Survivor Research and Mad Studies’



Staff, Students, Alumni, Academics

'Survivor research' has expanded significantly in the UK in recent years, most recently connecting with the discipline of 'Mad Studies'. Both are concerned with challenging the basis of mainstream mental health knowledge, although Mad Studies has a more explicitly cross-disciplinary knowledge base where survivor research in the UK has tended to be associated more closely with mental health services. Nevertheless the roots of both lie in the experiential knowledge of service users engaged in grassroots activism and peer support.
In this paper I will explore the nature of experiential knowledge and its challenges to mainstream mental health knowledge and evidence, drawing upon the work of survivor researchers and students of the emerging discipline of Mad Studies. I will explore the roots of experiential knowledge in peer support and grassroots activism, foundations which are increasingly threatened by professional co-optation and neo-liberalism. These threats particularly affect service users and user groups from marginalised and racialised communities, many of whom have traditionally relied upon the strength emerging from forms of community development and self-help.
Experiential knowledge has the potential to have a transformational impact on mental health knowledge. Significant barriers remain, in the form of the evidence hierarchy, academic elitism, co-optation and neoliberal conceptions of mental distress. The need to remain accountable and true to our roots across our diverse service user/survivor communities is greater than ever.

About the speaker

Alison Faulkner, Independent Service User / Survivor Researcher
Alison Faulkner is a freelance survivor researcher and trainer in mental health with over 25 years’ experience of working in mental health research and consultancy. She has worked for most of the major UK mental health charities, including the Mental Health Foundation, NSUN (the National Survivor User Network), Mind, Rethink Mental Illness and Together for Mental Wellbeing. She managed the user-led 'Strategies for Living' programme from 1997 to 2002, one of the first user-led research projects in the UK. Alison has personal experience of using mental health services, including inpatient care, medication, psychotherapy and crisis services. She is currently studying for her PhD at City, University of London on the role and value of experiential knowledge in mental health research.

Seminar timings

Time: 1245hrs – 1400hrs
Lunch will be provided from 12:45.
The research seminar will commence at 13:00.
Please accept the invitation only if you will be attending for catering purposes.

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When and where

12.45pm - 2.00pmMonday 23rd January 2017

MG26 Myddelton Street Building City, University of London 1 Myddelton Street London EC1R 1UW United Kingdom

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