In this piece for Asylum Magazine, Sue Phillips, Penny Stafford, and Shirley Anne Collie discuss their involvement in a participatory action research project evaluating the Mad People’s History and Identity course at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh.
“There was a general feeling of a sense of community, with some people stating the course had changed their lives! We wanted to better understand the motivations, experiences and impact of being involved in Mad Studies on mad-identified students. A MPHI course lecturer, who identifies as Mad + and as an ally of mad-identified people, and who had also been part of the original steering group, invited all the QMU students to work on a participatory action research proposal with her so as to explore the experiences and impacts of the course on students. The lecturer is also using the PAR research for her PhD.
It was important to us for the research to be in keeping with the course by developing people’s skills and building on a newfound sense of community. We wanted to break down the gap between researchers and those being researched, just as the course aimed to blur the lines between lecturers and students, and we thought it vital to bring the message of the course to people in other parts of the university.”