Critical Inquiries 2013

The Centre’s fourth annual workshop, Critical Inquiries: Engaging Theories and Methodologies for Researching Social Inequities in Mental Health, took place at SFU Vancouver May 9th and 10th, 2013. Over 50 Centre affiliates and students attended the event which included panel presentations from all five Centre research theme groups, a film premiere, a networking dinner and team meetings. The workshop highlighted the great work that is coming out of the research teams, the ongoing progression in theory and methodology development and knowledge and the strength of the relationships that have been built over the last four years since the Centre’s inception.

Here’s an overview of the two-day event with links to presentation slides (where available), the film trailer, and more.

The workshop began with a panel presentation from the Mental Health Reform and Policy team entitled Policy Methods for Mental Health Equity Analysis which explored the framework of intersectionality as a policy approach with the goal of reducing discrimination and increasing opportunities for recovery, inclusion, and citizenship. Also explored were the ways in which power operates within policy contexts and the challenges and opportunities that intersectionality presents when academics, activists and policy makers collaborate in attempts to create space for social and structural understandings of mental health.

Presentations included: Marina Morrow (Simon Fraser University), Advancing Equity in Mental Health; Natalie Clark (University of British Columbia) Intersectionality Based Policy Analysis: An Introduction; Judith Cook (University of Illinois at Chicago), Intersectionality in Action: Mental Health Case Example; Beth Jackson (Public Health Agency of Canada), Navigating Power in the Policy Context.

The second panel Expanding Perspectives on Gender, Social Inequities and Recovery in the Context of Serious Mental Illness featured the work of the Recovery and Housing team that has explored the potential of innovative research methods to evoke experiences of recovery that have been less than explicit; seeking the perspectives of a wide range of stakeholders; and addressing the complexity of attending to factors such as race, ethnicity, size of service sectors, and critical issues related to rights and citizenship.

Presentations included: Terry Krupa (Queen’s University), Recovery and Serious Mental Illness: More than a “One Size Fits All” Construct; Indrani Margolin (University of Northern British Columbia); Using Art-Based Research to Create Research Spaces that Encourage Meaningful Dialogue about Gender, Social Inequity, Recovery and Mental Illness; Michelle Patterson (Simon Fraser University) and Gursharan Virdee (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health), Gender, Recovery, and Housing: A Consultation with Service Providers in Multiple Communities; Denise Zabkiewicz (Simon Fraser University), Mothering, Mental Health and Homelessness:  Developing an Informed Research Strategy for Advancing Knowledge.

The last panel of day-one Knowledge Translation: Theory and Practice featured the Reproductive Mental Health team and Centre staff. The panel included an overview of current knowledge translation theory and explored two examples of unique arts-based KT initiatives: documentary film and forum theatre.

Presentations included: Lupin Battersby (Centre for the Study of Gender, Social Inequities and Mental Health), Knowledge Translation: The Why, What, Whom and How of it; Jake Pyne (Rainbow Health Ontario), Documenting Diversity, Translating Knowledge: The Transforming Family Film Project; Lori Ross (Centre for Addiction & Mental Health), Advantages and Challenges of Theatre as Knowledge Translation: Experiences from a Study of LGBTQ People and Assisted Human Reproduction Services.

The day was capped off with the premiere of the documentary film The Inmates are Running the Asylum about the group, Vancouver’s Mental Patient’s Association (MPA), that transformed Canada’s psychiatric landscape, with a panel discussion including members of the MPA Founders Association, Megan Davies (executive producer) and Marina Morrow (co-producer). View the trailer here.

The second day included a morning of meeting time for the research teams to work on and develop their programs of research followed by two more panel presentations. The first panel by the Violence, Mental Health and Substance Use research theme, Communities of Practice, Circles of Change:  Building Dialogue about Social Justice, Advocacy, and Activism, provided an opportunity for critical dialogue about ‘what do we, as individuals and as CGSM members, do to take care of ourselves and continue to develop new strategies to counter structural violence and push past contemplating decolonizing and intersectional theories to come to social action’? The dialogue was challenging and revealing, leading to more questions then answers pushing the participants to further their thinking and action.

Presenters included: Victoria Smye (University of British Columbia), Sabina Chatterjee (University of Victoria), Nancy Lipsky (Women’s Health Research Institute), Lorraine Halinka Malcoe (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Tessa Parkes (University of Stirling), Ruby Peterson (‘Namgis nation, North Island Crisis Counselling Centre).

The concluding panel Media Representations of Addiction and Madness: Historical Perspectives, discussed three separate projects that have emerged from the work of the Criminal Justice, Mental Health and Substance Use theme group including analysis of historic radio documentaries aimed at educating the public about addiction to illicit drugs, film and television programming educating audiences about the causes and prevention of madness, concluding with an overview of their workshop on contemporary documentary-makers and their films about addiction and madness.

Presentations: Susan C. Boyd (University of Victoria), Gender and the Criminal Addict: CBC Radio Documentaries (1950-1969); Wendy Chan and Dorothy E. Chunn (Simon Fraser University), Madness in the Media:  An Intersectional Analysis of Educational Films and Television Programming 1940-1969; Kathleen Kendall (University of Southampton, UK), Reel Lives: Engaging in Critical Dialogue about Representations of Madness, Addiction and Crime in Canadian Documentary Films.

The workshop successfully met our stated objectives to critically engage with and share the work of the CGSM theme groups and to identify cross-cutting themes and opportunities for collaboration. As always, lessons were learned for next time but we had some very positive feedback: “I feel rejuvenated, inspired, supported, respected and motivated to bring the gifts offered here into my every day teaching and research world.”

This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 29th, 2013 at 3:21 pm and is filed under News.