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Joe Kelly's Blog - disability arts online
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Joe Kelly reviews the Survivors History Pageant at Kingsley Hall / 29 March 2010

Last weeks Survivors History Pageant at Kingsley Hall in Bromley-By-Bow was a great success. Run by Survivors History Group and F.E.E.L (Freedom for East End Loonies), about seventy people were there. Andrew Roberts was in command as the IT projector unrolled the history of User Survivors in Britain.

Nathalie Fonnescu made a photo/live action record of the evening that can be seen in parts on Youtube. You can find related links by clicking on the video of Frank Bangay's performance of 'A Proud Rhythmn.'

A host of narrators took the stage to tell the story that is the history of our movement. Difficult with the benefit of hindsight to understand the resistance of officialdom, or perhaps not. That’s why so many of us are cynical and why so many call ourselves survivors. The story made interesting listening.

Then pausing for a break we enjoyed a tasty buffet. The food was delicious and shamefully I had two portions of blackcurrant gateaux. The second round was an open mike affair with contributions from the floor.

Frank Bangay gave a sample from his new book Naked Songs and Rhythms of Hope. Peter Campbell gave a rousing monologue. Razz was in good form also with a powerful piece. The mood was militant and uplifting.

There was room for comments and someone spoke about a local daycentre being cut. Mary Nettle spoke powerfully that User Survivors and Institutions did not go well together and that we would be better to run our own day services.

Also worth mentioning is my local user involvement project meeting with official from the local PCT and Trust about CUTS. It's depressing stuff as our local trust goes through a downsizing process. This is the first time I've been in a meeting at close quarters with mental health professionals.

They outlined how much needed to be reduced but they couldn't say where the cuts would be made. Not the most successful meeting I've attended. I think there is a greater need for user/survivors to work more closely for the good of all. This issue goes on...

Loud and Clear are advocates for mental health who are campaigning to stop coercion. They are looking for users and survivors who have direct experience of coertion to be interviewed for their Film. If you would like to participate please phone Sian Phillips on 020 8900 2221 for further details.

This Thursday was the party for our church St John Alpha Group. We had a meal cooked by Nadine and her team. It was truly delicious as we were able to focus on the last ten weeks of the course.

People were invited to talk about their experiences. I spoke about Mind, Body & Spirit, God the Father Son and Holy Spirit; and how I wished to dedicate my life to promoting the human rights of user/survivors. I pray God blesses my work?

This Tuesday there is a conference by the Office of Disability Issues on human rights and the new Convention. It was this time last year I heard in Africa about the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. Tuesday should be a very interesting day.

Keywords: psychiatry,survivor movement,user led organisations,