Crafting Contention: The role of zines in contesting mental health knowledge and practice


  • Dr Helen Spandler

    University of Central Lancashire

Project summary

Despite user involvement policies, mental health services have failed to deliver the changes demanded by the service user movement. Moreover, despite anti-stigma and awareness-raising campaigns, the stigma and discrimination of people with mental health difficulties persists. Progress depends, at least in part, on conceptualising alternative ways of seeing, practising and imagining mental healthcare.

In this project we will identify, analyse and co-produce ‘MadZines’: zines, comics and graphic memoirs created and self-published by people with lived experience that communicate alternative and challenging ideas about mental health and psychosocial disabilities. We will explore their unique insights into how these conditions are lived with, challenged and understood. We will examine how these insights challenge dominant professional and lay knowledge and provide new ways of confronting stigma and discrimination.

Our research will inform knowledge, practice and policy. Moreover, it will transform our understanding of the unique contribution zines can make to social change.