Critical Inquiries Workshop 2011

The CGSM’s annual workshop took place May 9th and 10th, 2011. The event, Critical Inquiries in Mental Health: Paradigms and Praxis, was attended by Centre investigators, trainees, staff, knowledge brokers, Advisory committee members, invited speakers and students. The event was a great success, over 50 people attended the two day event which explored and debated innovative methodologies and conceptual frameworks for understanding the intersections among gender, social inequities and mental health; showcased the application of intersectional and other critical frameworks to practice related to mental health and substance use; and highlighted and discussed theories of change, social justice and resistance in the context of mental health.

The first day of the workshop began with an opening plenary panel highlighting recent CGSM research, with a focus on paradigms for studying gender and social inequities in mental health and the implications of these paradigms for research, policy and practice: Mental Health, Gender & Social Inequities: Paradigms into practice, presenters included: Renee Cormier (CGSM) and Marina Morrow (SFU); Judith Cook (University of Illinois at Chicago); Lori Ross (University of Toronto); Jill Cory (BC Women’s Health Centre) and Vicki Smye (University of British Columbia).

From the Centre for Afro-American and African Studies, University of Michigan, Elizabeth Cole gave a keynote address that had the audience buzzing, “Toward a Coalitional Model of Intersectionality: Implications for Research and Practice”, a video of the talk will be posted soon on the CGSM website.

The final panel of the day, Mental Health, Resistance and Social Change, provided attendees with first hand accounts of the practice of community-based activism directed toward realizing social justice. Presenters included Zarina Mulla (City of Vancouver), Adrianne Fitch (West Coast Mental Health Network), Marion Allaart (Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users) and Thanya Al-Saadoon (CGSM).

The day was capped off with a powerful commissioned art show Resist Sense and short performance at Gallery Gachet, a collectively-run exhibition and studio space in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Seventeen artists from the Gallery’s art collective contributed works and many pieces were sold. A short selection of skits illustrating the findings of a recently completed CGSM project on mental health recovery were performed by Julia Weisser, Cat Omura and branwen Willow (all CGSM). The postive social enterprise, Potluck Café catered the event.

The second day started with the a final panel: Discourse, Representation, Science and the State. The presentations disrupted social constructions of mental illness, substance use, disability and gender through discussion of sanism, racism and documentary film representations of madness, addiction and crime. Presenters included: Richard Ingram (CGSM), Erick Fabris (University of Toronto); Kathy Kendall (University of Southampton, UK); Susan Boyd (University of Victoria); and Rachel Gorman (York University). The panel was followed by a Roundtable discussion session. The day ended with time for Centre investigators to meet with their team members to plan next steps regarding current and future projects.

Over the next month expect to see more information such as presentations posted on our website. We hope to bring some of the learning and engagement to a wider audience so you too can experience the buzz – as the following comments illustrate participants were positive and enthusiastic about the event:

“I loved being a part of this workshop & Centre. Hearing about the different projects & aspects was inspiring & gave me a sense of belonging to a community of work.”

“The information and events are available, accessible, varied and invariably interesting, informative and valuable!”

“Innovation and methodology was front and centre, revealing intersectionality in many ways, as well as other critical frameworks. This allowed participants to identify gaps in knowledge and discuss many frameworks, contexts, and possibilities for social change related to mental health and addiction.”

“Liz Cole was great!!”


This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 at 3:07 pm and is filed under News.