'Madhouse': Performance artists with learning disabilities sharing the history of institutions

Ledger, Susan; Walmsley, Jan and Members of Access All Areas, Access all Areas (2020). 'Madhouse': Performance artists with learning disabilities sharing the history of institutions. In: Soldatic, K. and Johnson, K. eds. Global Perspective on Activism and Advocacy. London: Routledge, pp. 35–51.

Abstract

This chapter is jointly written by two academics from the Social History of Learning Disability Research Group based at The Open University and performers from London-based learning disability theatre company Access All Areas. Inspired by the life and legacy of Mabel Cooper (1944-2013), the chapter describes how we worked together as part of a collaborative advocacy and activism programme. The aim of the project its to raise public awareness and debate on the effects that isolation and confinement have on the bodies and minds of people with learning disabilities. The project also seeks to question whether the closure of long-stay hospitals has ended institutionalisation or if isolation at home has similar mental and physical effects.

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