The Mad Studies MSc programme at Queen Margaret University is under threat. Students are campaigning to save the course, and an open petition has been created to appeal for its continuation.
Originally a community-participation module that grew out of the Oor Mad History project run by CAPS Advocacy, the collaboration grew into an accredited course which is the first of its kind in the world. The MSc programme in Mad Studies attracts students from around the globe, both online and onto the QMU campus.
Only three years old, this Master’s course was recently awarded the university’s STaR award for programme of the year – yet the intake of new students has been suspended for the upcoming academic cycle and the future of the course called into question.
Not only does the course offer a sorely-needed space for interrogation of the mainstream mental health system, but it provides its students with a respected academic credential – a postgraduate degree – with which to bring the emerging Mad Studies discourse widely and authoritatively into circulation.
The cancellation of this course would be a real loss to the mad movement and to all those engaged in its aspirations. As one QMU student writes:
- Many of us have felt empowered, validated and included in a world that normally victimises, invalidates and stigmatises people with lived experience of significant mental distress.
- Many of us have had liberatory experiences on this course as the explosion in Mad Studies literature has awakened a sense of “me too” and enabled us to co-create knowledge and contribute to this ever expanding new line of enquiry.
- Many of us feel strongly that this programme, a global first, can be a ground-breaking space to disseminate this knowledge and bring about radical change in health care, in society and in social justice.
Queen Margaret University prides itself on a commitment to social justice, citing it as a core value:
We value social justice: In fact, it underpins our world view. We embrace equality, diversity, inclusion, respect, and supporting our communities.
It might prove its commitment to this value by reinstating the MSc Mad Studies course, investing in its development and championing it as a substantial resource for mad scholarship and activism.