March 4 event: Deconstructing Madness

Photograph of the word Madness

What is our understanding of madness? What are mad positive spaces and why are they necessary? These questions and more will be answered during a symposium devoted to madness and mad studies taking place March 4 at York University.

Presented and organized by the Disability Education & Awareness Subcommittee of Access York, this symposium is open to all York faculty, staff, students, and members of the public. The symposium will run from 3 to 7pm in Room 280N, York Lanes and features a workshop and two presenters.

From 3 to 4pm, members of the Mad Positive Student Coalition, a new student group at York University, will talk about their efforts to create mad positive spaces on campus and in the broader community. Their presentation will explain the meaning of mad positive space and highlight the importance of the term “mad positive” as a fundamental approach to working with the consumer, survivor and mad community.

Following this presentation, students from the Mad Students Society will join the coalition for a question and answer session.

Then, from 4:30 to 5:30pm, Lucy Costa, an advocate at the Empowerment Council within the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) , will facilitate a workshop with students interested in mental health research or psychiatric survivor/consumer/mad related research. The workshop offers students a chance to speak with Costa, who will share her experiences in participating in and conducting various research projects. As a full-time advocate with the Empowerment Council, Costa is responsible for outreach, education and advocacy.

Following Costa’s workshop, Natalia Davidson-Smith, an alumna of York University’s Graduate Program in Critical Disability Studies, will talk about her micro and macro analysis into how Canada and Ontario’s international political projects contribute to decisions associated with CAMH’s anti-stigma campaigns.

Davidson-Smith’s research investigates the impact of global hyper-capitalism on the embodied experiences of disabled people, mad folk and/or persons with psychiatric disabilities. Her work is inspired by radical geography and trans-national feminism, and informed by her lived experience as a psychiatrized woman.

An accessible & gender-neutral washroom, computer assisted real-time transcription, interpreters and visually accessible presentations will be provided for this free event. Organizers ask that you RSVP via e-mail to