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New Book Release: Work, Psychiatry and Society, c. 1750-2010

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This edited book offers a systematic critical appraisal of the uses of work and work therapy in psychiatric institutions across the globe, from the late eighteenth to the end of the twentieth century. Contributors explore the daily routine in psychiatric institutions within the context of the wider socio-political welfare and control policies and economic conditions. They explore whether work was therapy, part of a regime of punishment, or a means of exploiting free labour. By focusing on mental patients’ day-to-day life in closed institutions, the authors fill a gap in the history of psychiatric regimes. The geographic scope is wide, ranging from Northern America to Japan, India and Western as well as Eastern Europe, and authors engage with broader historical questions, such as the impact of colonialism and communism, and the effect of the World Wars.


Introduction: Therapy and empowerment, coercion and punishment. Historical and contemporary perspectives on work, psychiatry and society (Waltraud Ernst)

1 The role of work in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century treatises on moral treatment in France, Tuscany and Britain (Jane Freebody)

2 Therapeutic work and mental illness in America, c. 1830–1970 (Ben Harris)

3 Travails of madness: New Jersey, 1800–1870 (James Moran)

4 From blasting powder to tomato pickles: Patient work at the provincial mental hospitals in British Columbia, Canada, c. 1885–1920 (Kathryn McKay)

5 ‘Useful both to the patients as well as to the State’. Patient work in colonial mental hospitals in South Asia, c. 1818–1948 (Waltraud Ernst)

6 ‘A powerful agent in their recovery’: Work as treatment in British West Indian lunatic asylums, 1860–1910 (Leonard Smith)

7 Work and activity in mental hospitals in modern Japan, c. 1868–2000 (Akira Hashimoto)

8 Patient work and family care at Iwakura, Japan, c. 1799–1970 (Osamu Nakamura)

9 Work and occupation in Romanian psychiatry, c. 1838–1945 (Valentin-Veron Toma)

10 Between therapeutic instrument and exploitation of labour force: Patient work in rural asylums in Württemberg, c. 1810–1945 (Thomas Müller)

11 The patient’s view of work therapy: The mental hospital Hamburg-Langenhorn during the Weimar Republic (Monika Ankele)

12 They were ‘improved’, punished and cured: The construction of ‘workshy’, ‘industrious’ and (non-)compliant inmates in forced labour facilities in the First Republic of Austria between 1918 and 1938 (Sonja Hinsch)

13 Useful members of society or motiveless malingerers? Occupation and malingering in British asylum psychiatry, 1870–1914 (Sarah Chaney)

14 Work and the Irish District Asylums during the late nineteenth century (Oonagh Walsh)

15 From work and occupation to occupational therapy. The policies of professionalisation in English mental hospitals from 1919 to 1959 (John Hall)

16 Work is therapy? The function of employment in British psychiatric care after 1959 (Vicky Long)

17 The hollow gardener and other stories: Reason and relation in the work cure (Jennifer Laws)


Visualizing Absence: Opening Reception, Art Exhibit and Related Events

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May 22nd to July 3rd, 2015

Opening Reception:
Saturday, May 23, 2015
3:00-5:00 PM, with remarks at 4:00 PM
Free, and all are welcome

L Space Gallery at Humber College, Lakeshore Campus
19 Colonel Samuel Smith Park Drive, Toronto, M8V 4B6

TTC is accessible: from Kipling Subway transfer to the 44 Kipling South bus. The L Space gallery is one block south from the bus stop at Kipling and Lakeshore Blvd. W.

This event is in a barrier-free location. There is an accessible washroom across the hall from the gallery space. We will have ASL interpreters, attendant care, and supportive listeners. We request that you help us to make this a scent-free environment. For any other accessibility arrangements or questions about accessibility, please contact Anne Zbitnew: visualizingabsence at gmail.com. This is a child-friendly event and a sober space.

There will be difficult but important themes of institutional life, including institutional violence and abuse, discussed and represented at this event.

This event is presented by the Visualizing Absence Collective in partnership with The City of Toronto’s Cultural Hotspot initiative. Themes from this exhibition will also be reflected in Humber College’s Lakeshore Grounds Interpretive Centre, set to open in 2016. Learn more at www.lakeshoregrounds.ca

The Opening Reception is hosted in collaboration with Doors Open Toronto at Humber Lakeshore. 

Visualizing Absence is an art exhibit about the former Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital grounds, which is now home to Humber College Lakeshore, Colonel Samuel Smith Park and various community organizations. The exhibition features artwork by Anne Zbitnew, students from the Arts Administration and Cultural Management program at Humer College and collaborative artists. This exhibition is co-curated by Tara Mazurk and Anne Zbitnew.

Thomas King (2005) said, “You have to be careful with the stories you tell. And you have to watch out for the stories that you are told.” And, once you know, you are implicated and you can’t say you didn’t know.  You have a responsibility to think actively.

Visit the Official Visualizing Absence website: http://visualizingabsence.wix.com/visualizing-absence.

Operating Hours from May 25th to July 3rd, 2015:

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, & Friday: 10:00am to 5:00pm
Wednesday: 10:00am to 8:00pm

Saturday, May 23rd: 10:00am to 5:00pm
Sunday, June 7th: 11:00am to 5:00pm
Related Events:

Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital Cemetery Installation
Saturday, May 16th, 2015
2:00 pm
Corner of Horner & Evans Avenue, about 2 km from Humber Lakeshore.
An outdoor installation/performance at the Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital Cemetery. In collaboration with Ed Janiszewski and Among Friends, a Lakeshore community mental health program, we will be 'planting' 1,511 paper lilies in the cemetery, marking the mostly unmarked graves in the cemetery. There is a cemetery clean up starting at noon. The installation event begins at 2 pm. All are welcome. The rain date is Sunday, May 17th, 2014. More information here.

Share Your Story! Lakeshore Grounds Community Storytelling
Sunday, June 7th, 2015
1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
L Space Gallery
To respect and present the dynamic history of the site and grow our community's collective memory, we are inviting people to contribute their personal stories about their relationship to the Lakeshore Grounds. Come join our storytelling roundtable where you can share your story with other participants. More Information about the storytelling project here. 

For media inquiries, scheduling a visit outside of our operating hours, and questions about the exhibition, please contact:

Tara Mazurk, Co-Curator for Visualizing Absence
Email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  
416.675.6622 x 79378

Our mailing address is:
Humber College, Lakeshore Campus
19 Colonel Samuel Smith Park Drive, Room L1002
Toronto, ON M8V 4B6
Phone: 416.675.6622 x 79378


A Journey in Mental Health Care: Past, Present, & Future

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Riverview Hospital Historical Society, Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada, invites you to attend a special week of presentations and exhibits. Come to view a selection of historic Riverview Hospital artifacts, learn more about youth mental health, Alzheimer's, mental health programs, and more.

This free event, in partnership with the Coquitlam Public Library, City of Coquitlam and Douglas College, will provide information to create awareness, improve understanding and promote community conversations on mental health.

In addition to the Riverview Hospital artifacts display, there will be a series of guest speakers taking place between Monday, May 4 and Friday, May 8 on the following topics: 

Finally, on Friday, May 8 don't miss our featured movie screening of 'Silver Linings Playbook' nominated for 8 Academy Awards.  Bradley Cooper plays a man with bipolar disorder who tries to rebuild his life after eight months in a state institution. His complicated situation will make you laugh but is also a very emotional and heartbreaking story that provides insight into mental health issues.

For additional information, include the program and exhibit schedule, please visit the event's website: http://www.coqlibrary.ca/journey


New Book Release: Bonnie Burstow. Psychiatry and the Business of Madness

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Psychiatry and the Business of Madness 

Psychiatry and the Business of Madness deconstructs psychiatric discourse and practice, exposes the self-interest at the core of the psychiatric/psychopharmacological enterprise, and demonstrates that psychiatry is epistemologically and ethically irredeemable. Burstow's medical and historical research and in-depth interviews demonstrate that the paradigm is untenable, that psychiatry is pseudo-medicine, that the "treatments" do not "correct" disorders but cause them. Burstow fundamentally challenges our right to incarcerate or otherwise subdue those we find distressing. She invites the reader to rethink how society addresses these problems, and gives concrete suggestions for societal transformation, with "services" grounded in the community. A compelling piece of scholarship, impeccable in its logic, unwavering in its moral commitment, and revolutionary in its implications.

Bonnie Burstow is Senior Lecturer at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Canada

ISBN 9781137503831
Publication Date April 2015
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) Paperback 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

For further details and ordering information, visit the book's home page at: http://www.palgrave.com/page/detail/psychiatry-and-the-business-of-madness-bonnie-burstow/?K=9781137503831


Studio Central Bulletin - April 21 to May 1, 2015

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Artbeat Studio is pleased host an exhibit from the University of British Columbia - Man-Up Against Suicide -A Photo Exhibit. The photography in this exhibit features the works of men and women whose lives have been affected by suicide. Man-Up Against Suicide runs from May 1 - 29 at Studio Central. Please join us for the Reception on May 1 from 7 - 9 p.m. All are welcome to attend.

On the tenth of each month Artbeat Studio publishes ten poems to Kaleidoscope Online (ten on the tenth) - to read this vast array of poetry go to -  http://artbeatstudio.ca/kaleidoscope-online/.

Join us at Studio Central - our day programs, Thursday Performance Rehearsal and Self Directed Studio are in full swing. Please call 204 -943-8290 to register. We look forward to seeing you!
You can download a PDF print version of the Bulletin here, and keep up to date with the online here.

Studio Central

Tuesday - Friday 10 AM - 5:30 PM


1st National Symposium on Alternative Mental Health Knowledge / Premier symposium national sur les connaissances alternatives en santé mentale

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Viewpoints of the Psychiatrized Since 1987 / Points de vue des psychiatrisés depuis 1987

1st National Symposium on Alternative Mental Health Knowledge
Saturday May 2, 2015 - 8:45 AM – 3:30 PM
Wedgewood Hall, 80 Lockhart Avenue, Moncton, NB
(In the Curling Beauséjour building)
• ROB WIPOND: Pitching Mad: News Media and the Psychiatric Survivor Perspective (ENGLISH ONLY)
• BRENDA LEFRANÇOIS: Alternative practice in “mental health”: building survivor-led services (BILINGUAL)
• LIA TRAN: Can the status quo bring on recovery? (BILINGUAL)
• ED POMEROY: The Ying and Yang of a Good Professional Background (ENGLISH ONLY)
• NÉRÉE ST-AMAND: While the wealthy continue to promise, the poor are still waiting! (BILINGUAL)

HOW TO REGISTER: $29 per person (coffee breaks and lunch included)
Registration deadline is April 27, 2015
PayPal at www.ourvoice-notrevoix.com (click: DONATION)
Mail : P.O. Box 29004, Moncton, NB, E1G 4R3
(Make check payable to: Our Voice / Notre Voix)
For registrants, the afternoon will conclude with a 5 minute walk to an open house tour of:
Wine, cheese, juice and snacks will be served at this grand opening.
Cancellation policy: $5 penalty until April 17, 2015. No refunds after this date.
Questions or for more information: Eugène LeBlanc : This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
We gratefully acknowledge support from the New Brunswick Mental Health Consumer NetworkPayPal at www.ourvoice-notrevoix.com (click: DONATION)

Viewpoints of the Psychiatrized Since 1987 / Points de vue des psychiatrisés depuis 1987

Premier symposium national sur
les connaissances alternatives en santé mentale
Samedi le 2 mai 2015 - 8:45 AM – 3:30 PM
Wedgewood Hall, 80 avenue Lockhart, Moncton, NB
(À l’intérieur de l’édifice du Beauséjour Curling)
• ROB WIPOND: Pitching Mad: News Media and the Psychiatric Survivor Perspective (ANGLAIS SEULEMENT)
• BRENDA LEFRANÇOIS: Pratique alternative en santé mentale: la mise en place de services menés par les survivants (BILINGUE)
• LIA TRAN: Est-ce que l’établissement mène au rétablissement? (BILINGUE)
• ED POMEROY: The Ying and Yang of a Good Professional Background (ANGLAIS SEULEMENT)
• NÉRÉE ST-AMAND : Les riches promettent encore; les pauvres espèrent toujours! (BILINGUE)

Pour les inscrits, l’après-midi se conclura avec une marche de 5 minutes pour une porte-ouverte du:
Vin et fromage, jus et casse-croûte seront servis à cette inauguration
COMMENT S’INSCRIRE: 29 $ par personne (pause café et dîner inclus)
Date limite pour s’inscrire est le 27 avril, 2015
PayPal au www.ourvoice-notrevoix.com (cliquez: DONATION)
Poste : C.P. 29004, Moncton, NB, E1G 4R3
(Chèque payable au: Our Voice / Notre Voix)
Politique d’annulation: pénalité de 5$ jusqu’au 17 avril 2015. Aucun remboursement après cette date.
Questions ou pour de plus amples renseignements : Eugène LeBlanc : This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Nous reconnaissons grandement le soutien du Réseau des bénéficiaires en santé mentale du Nouveau-Brunswick


Mary: Beyond the Asylum

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Based on the diary of Mary Huestis Pengilly, an inmate of the asylum in Saint John in 1883.

Presented by Red Necklace Productions, Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

The one-woman show, "Mary: Beyond the Asylum," is based on the true story of Mary Huestis Pengilly, an advocate for the institutionalized, who had herself been a patient at the Saint John lunatic asylum in 1883. After publishing the diary she kept while in the asylum, she pushed on to help as many people as possible understand what "care" feels like from the insider's perspective. For nine years she toured North America and spoke out for better treatment of people in institutions. Her obituary tells us she was once again adjudged insane in the last weeks of her life; our fiction depicts the effects of the resounding stigma around mental illness. Mary gets us to think on how we can help to heal people we don't understand.

Charlotte Street Arts Centre
732 Charlotte Street
Fredericton, New Brunswick
Friday, January 30th, 2015
7:00 pm

Tickets available at door only: $20 (CASH ONLY)

For groups of 10 or more: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Two New Books on the History of Eugenics

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A Special Hell: Institutional Life in Alberta's Eugenic Years
By Claudia Malacrida
University of Toronto Press, © 2015

Using rare interviews with former inmates and workers, institutional documentation, and governmental archives, Claudia Malacrida illuminates the dark history of the treatment of “mentally defective” children and adults in twentieth-century Alberta. Focusing on the Michener Centre in Red Deer, one of the last such facilities operating in Canada, A Special Hell is a sobering account of the connection between institutionalization and eugenics.

Malacrida explains how isolating the Michener Centre’s residents from their communities served as a form of passive eugenics that complemented the active eugenics program of the Alberta Eugenics Board. Instead of receiving an education, inmates worked for little or no pay – sometimes in homes and businesses in Red Deer – under the guise of vocational rehabilitation. The success of this model resulted in huge institutional growth, chronic crowding, and terrible living conditions that included both routine and extraordinary abuse.

Combining the powerful testimony of survivors with a detailed analysis of the institutional impulses at work at the Michener Centre, A Special Hell is essential reading for those interested in the disturbing past and troubling future of the institutional treatment of people with disabilities.

Claudia Malacrida is a professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Lethbridge.

For further information and to order a copy, please see: http://www.utppublishing.com/Special-Hell-A-Institutional-Life-in-Alberta-s-Eugenic-Years.html

For information on the 26 February 2015 book launch, to be held in Lethbridge, Alberta, please see: http://www.uleth.ca/artsci/event/67972

Facing Eugenics: Reproduction, Sterilization, and the Politics of Choice
By Erika Dyck
University of Toronto Press, © 2013

Facing Eugenics is a social history of sexual sterilization operations in twentieth-century Canada. Looking at real-life experiences of men and women who, either coercively or voluntarily, participated in the largest legal eugenics program in Canada, it considers the impact of successive legal policies and medical practices on shaping our understanding of contemporary reproductive rights. The book also provides deep insights into the broader implications of medical experimentation, institutionalization, and health care in North America.

Erika Dyck uses a range of historical evidence, including medical files, court testimony, and personal records to place mental health and intelligence at the centre of discussions regarding reproductive fitness. Examining acts of resistance alongside heavy-handed decisions to sterilize people considered “unfit,” Facing Eugenics illuminates how reproductive rights fit into a broader discussion of what constitutes civil liberties, modern feminism, and contemporary psychiatric survivor and disability activism.

Erika Dyck is Canada Research Chair in History of Medicine and an associate professor in the Department of History at the University of Saskatchewan.

For further information and to order a copy, please see: http://www.utppublishing.com/Facing-Eugenics-Reproduction-Sterilization-and-the-Politics-of-Choice.html


Call for Papers: 1st Global Conference: Controlling Sexuality and Reproduction, Past and Present

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Venue: University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
Date: August 12-14, 2015

Sexuality and its effects, as Michel Foucault once claimed, operate as dense transfer points of power relations. As such, states, institutions and citizen groups have been and continue to be deeply concerned with producing an ideal, normative citizenry by controlling sex, sexuality and reproduction.

Certain kinds of sexuality and certain kinds of sexual actors are more likely than others to be policed and contained. In the past and in the current context, marginalized people and practices have been subject to containment, harassment, prosecution or ‘correction’ in terms of their sexual and reproductive lives.

These practices have included the classification or sorting of peoples in the following ways:

• as disabled,
• as gender or sexually deviant
• as Aboriginal or members of a racialized group
• as members of non-normative family forms,
• as inmates, in prisons, asylums  and other institutional sites,
• as dependent on the welfare state,
• as  engaging in non-heteronormative sexual practices
• as involved in sex work and/or sex surrogacy

Historical and current-context efforts at containment of those classified accordingly have included:

• eugenics, or the involuntary sterilization of disabled people, imprisoned people and members of indigenous and other racialized groups;
• policing and prosecuting polygynous and polygamous family forms
• heteronormative surveillance, policing and regulation of queer and trans* people
• the protectionism, infantilization or demonization of disabled or mad people
• limiting support and access to disabled people’s sexual and familial lives
• regulation and prosecution of sex workers and sex surrogates 
• chemical and medical interventions in prisons, institutions, hospitals, and asylums
• segregation through residential schools and other institutions
• segregation and containment embedded in community practice, and in immigration policy

The conference seeks to explore and challenge the seeming naturalness of historical and current efforts to control and marginalize certain kinds of sex and reproduction, and to illuminate commonalities and differences amongst these various efforts to police sexual, reproductive and family lives. We ask why and how particular sets of behaviours or peoples are targets of control, and thus seek to examine what kinds of ‘normal’ values are being upheld. We encourage presentations that illuminate the productions of ableism, heteronormativity, Whiteness, gender, and ideal citizenship.

In addition to academic papers, we are interested in opening up a platform for the discussion of personal experiences of sexual and reproductive control, experiences of resistance, and the engagement of community and self-advocacy groups in working toward inclusive and positive sexual and reproductive models. We welcome proposals from community members, activists and advocates.
Non-traditional presentations are encouraged, including performances, oral history presentations, and roundtable discussion

Instructions on abstract submissions are available at https://www.uleth.ca/conreg/controlling-sexuality/submit-abstract

For further details, please refer to the conference website https://www.uleth.ca/conreg/controlling-sexuality/ and/or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Call for Submissions: Our Voice / Notre Voix

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I am the Publisher of OUR VOICE / NOTRE VOIX (www.ourvoice-notrevoix.com). A future edition of our publication will deal with the following question: Is psychiatry a real science?

"We are seeking answers from the public in response to that question. When responding, the following conditions apply:"

1) It may be sent either in English or French with a maximum of 150 words.

2) Deadline is March 1st, 2015

3) I need either your first real name OR your full name including the city where you live.

4) Honorariums are not provided for this submission.

I will be printing excerpts of your responses for an upcoming issue. My aim is to have an interesting debate and fascinating reading. Please send to my attention to: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Thank you and all the best.
Eugene LeBlanc


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