Tonight I met up with Rick to discuss the work that he and I are currently doing, and our links with mental health organisations. Rick is working on a project investigating the links between creativity and mental health difficulties. He is going to be interviewing 'mad artists' and showcasing the work that they make. The term 'mad artist' is not one that I am familiar with, and I was a little embarrassed to ask Rick to explain what he meant by it. He handed me a scrap of paper from his jacket pocket.
There was this short explanation of the term, and Rick was proud to inform me that the definition had been written by the Canada Council.
"Mad is framed as a social and political identity by people who have been labelled as mentally ill or as having mental health issues. Rather than focusing on awareness and coping with stigma, Mad Pride focuses on expressing the unique ways people experience the world in terms of making meaning, developing communities, and creating culture. Mad arts is the artistic exploration of Mad Pride focusing on mad histories and identities."
It is really encouraging to know that the Canadian Council have such a good understanding of the situation and are keen to support Mad Pride.