Melbourne Mad Studies Network

Next reading group: Tuesday 17th May 2022

For May, we’ll be exploring the topic Challenges to Mad Activism.

Some possible questions to think about are:

  • Do you think Madness is grounds for culture and identity?
  • What does Mad culture mean to you, and how do you cultivate it?
  • How do you feel about the claim made by Jost that “no matter how destigmatized our society becomes, mental illnesses will always cause suffering” and that it therefore doesn’t make sense to take pride in Madness?

***The last half hour of the Reading Group will be devoted to planning topics/sessions for the rest of the year. Please have a think about whether there is a topic you’d be interested in facilitating, and a date that works for you on the 3rd Tuesday of any month***



Tuesday 17th May


7pm-8.30pm AEST

Zoom link:

Meeting ID: 643 6082 8128

Password: 330033

Calendar invite:

Please find attached here should you wish to add to your calendar

Finally, a few general announcements:

The organisers of the International Mad Studies Journal are meeting on Thursday 26th May from 6-7.30pm AEST. Please feel free to get in touch with us if you’d like us if you’d like to get involved and we can forward the Zoom link, or contact the organisers directly on or via Twitter.

​We’d also like to share this call for participants for some research currently being conducted by Chris Maylea, into Recommendation 56 of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System. Please get in touch via the link if you have used IMHA or been to the MHT in Victoria and are interested in getting involved:  

Have you used IMHA or a lawyer at the Mental Health Tribunal?

We want your help to design a service model for how advocacy and legal services should be provided in mental health.

A team from La Trobe University, in collaboration with RMIT University, are looking for people to be involved in service design on behalf of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Branch of the Victorian Department of Health.

This consultation process will be used to develop a model for opt-out non-legal mental health advocacy, and co-design a best practice service model for legal services at the Victorian Mental Health Tribunal.

This is the link:

Do you know anyone who might be interested in leading one of the monthly reading groups? Maybe that person is you? Maybe it’s someone whose work you admire? All that is required is to choose two-three readings on a topic – readings can include a podcast or video, or written texts – that are relatively accessible to a general, but interested audience (i.e. we don’t usually read dense legal theory or highly specialised philosophical texts, although often they will be challenging and we can support each other to understand them!) and contact us and we can lock in a date. The person would then need to come on the night prepared with a little bit of an intro and maybe some questions to prompt discussion (this is very flexible). The group is very friendly and the network facilitators will have your back. Let us know –

‘Madness is the only way I stay alive. I used to be a comedian, a long time ago! It’s true. There’s some good memories. … It’s too late to be sane, too late! You’ve got to go full-tilt bozo. Cos you’re only given a little spark of madness, and if you lose that, you’re nothing. Don’t. From me to you, don’t ever lose that, cos it keeps you alive. … That’s my only love, crazy.’

-Robin Williams (Little Spark of Madness, 1978)

‘Let me begin by saying that I came to theory because I was hurting-the pain within me was so intense that I could not go on living. I came to theory desperate, wanting to comprehend-to grasp what was happening around and within me. Most importantly, I wanted to make the hurt go away. I saw in theory then a location for healing.’

-bell hooks (Theory as Liberatory Practice, 1991)

‘Academia can be an imposing or off-putting environment for many, and Mad Studies grapples with its relationship to class, privilege, language, exclusion, practice, activism and accessibility… It is intended as a bridge between the academic space and people who are contributing to the world in other ways – activists, artists, peer workers, critical thinkers, agitators, survivors and the rest. …with Mad Love!’

-Flick Grey (Mad Studies Conversation Starters, 2019)