Making Mad Home and Other Love Stories: Mad Performative Autoethnography, Collaborative Research-Creation, and Mad-Accessible Trauma-Informed Practice

  • Author / Creator
    Eales, Lindsay M
  • This is a love story about Mad research-creation, and about what we can learn when we draw together Mad theory with Mad performance and Mad-accessible, anti-oppressive, trauma- informed practice. This research-creation project gives weight to social and political conceptualizations of, as well as deeply embodied and sensorial engagements with, both ‘mental illness’ and trauma. Informed by my work as a Mad artist, performer and inclusive creative movement practitioner who works in the field of adapted physical activity, this project also centers artistic creation, performance, and practice-based suggestions for inclusive and adapted movement programming. In the first chapter of this dissertation, I introduce Mad studies and Mad theory, offer some exemplars of Mad performances that inform this project, and discuss how mental illness and trauma is currently being taken up in the field of Adapted Physical Activity. In chapter two, I explicate research-creation as this project’s overarching methodology, and articulate this research-creation dissertation as a series of nesting dolls: three smaller inter- related research-creation projects that nest together and speak to one another. One of these nesting dolls, discussed in chapter three, mobilizes performative autoethnography and performative writing to theorize Mad autoethnography as episodic and cyclical. To do this, I reference three episodes that (de)compose this cycle of autoethnography, including a performance entitled “Mad Dance,” a publication of Mad performative writing entitled “Loose Leaf,” and a participatory performance entitled “The Mad Dance of Grad School: A Choose Your Own Adventure.” Another nesting doll, detailed in chapter four, highlights choices and learnings from the collaborative research-creation project Mad Home: a sensorio-political participatory performance and website. These choices and learnings include: becoming affected by friends and ancestors across time and space; decorating our walls with the stories we want to tell; finding home through dialogue; honouring our needs and desires in collaboration; inviting into discomfort and distress; curating for anti-pathologization, access, and support; curating for memory and breaking-as-resilience; curating Mad sensory worlds; and sharing Mad Home beyond these walls. A third nesting doll, discussed in chapters five and six, introduces trauma- informed practice to the field of Adapted Physical Activity. Chapter five unpacks a multiplicity of ways to conceptualize trauma and mental distress, including: psychiatric conceptualizations; social and political conceptualizations; embodied conceptualizations; as well as intersectional, intergenerational and historical conceptualizations. Chapter six outlines eight action domains featuring practice-based suggestions for enacting Mad-accessible, anti-oppressive, trauma- informed practice. These include: challenging pathologization, normalization, and sanism; acknowledging that structural inequality exists and does damage; recognizing privilege; dealing with embodied discomfort; doing our homework; valuing marginalized histories, struggles, perspectives and choices; shifting language; and shifting environments. These suggestions are offered to support adapted and inclusive movement practitioners in making our practices more accessible, affirming, and invitatory for all, but most especially for those impacted by trauma and distress. In my conclusion, which is really about beginning again, I outline what I have learned about what maddened art and living can do, and the ways that this project continues to craft new nesting dolls, episodes, homes, practices, and love stories of survival and flourishing.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2019
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
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