What is reVision?
reVision is an alliance of individuals who think critically about mental health. We challenge the orthodox views of mental health treatments, and our group includes academics, students, doctors and those with lived experience of mental health issues.
How can someone become a member?
We invite anyone who wants to object to the current situation and change the system through positive thinking to join us. We meet regularly at the Quaker Meeting House on School Lane, and anyone who agrees with the aims of reVision is more than welcome. Meetings usually include a guest speaker presentation followed by a discussion, and we also hold critical reading group sessions – most recently in the Madlove space at FACT.
Tell us more!
The reading groups are a critical exploration of the current climate in psychiatry and involve debate and working collectively on a manifesto for change. We’re currently working on a pamphlet which will be available soon, which highlights what we think is wrong with the mental health sector at the moment, and gives examples of what we can do to change things.
We are also hoping to hold a conference in 2016 in collaboration with Hope University, Liverpool John Moores Univerosty and University of Central Lancashire to heighten awareness and consciousness of mental health issues to challenge stigma.
How did you get involved with the exhibition at FACT?
Vanessa Bartlett (curator, Group Therapy), got in touch and we had some great exploratory conversations about how we could work together, and the idea of curating a film festival came from there.
How did you go about choosing the film programme?
It’s been great fun coming up with the films for the programme! At our bi-monthly meetings, we threw in suggestions and then worked closely with FACT to decide what was feasible. All of our members have really enjoyed this creative experience and hope to do more work like this in the future.
Out of the final programme, which film do you consider the most important?
We’re Not Mad We’re Angry (a 1980s documentary by Eleventh Hour, being screened on 8 April) bristles with anger and is a critically reflective account of the mental health system by service users themselves. The documentary paints these people as survivors of the system, rather than as recipients of care, and it tells us a lot about what has (or hasn’t) changed since then.
Are there any movies that didn’t make it into the programme that you would have liked to include?
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest - for me, it encapsulates everything about mental health which is challenging and questionable. Deeply moving and beautifully produced, it’s one of the greatest works of art I’ve ever seen and I’d love to see it on the big screen.
Do you think there should be more collaboration between science and the arts?
Working with FACT on this programme has taken me into a different way of thinking about mental health – a sector in which I have been involved for many years now.
Mental health isn’t a science – studying it is more of a cross between social science and philoshopy, which sit much more closely with the arts. I see mental health issues as the product of a dysfunctional society or community, with contributing factors such as racisim, bullying or poverty. We need a more sophisticated approach than what we currently have.
You’re a lecturer in Social Work at LJMU – what do you and your students think of the exhibition?
My students have generally been most interested in the electroconvulsive therapy machine, and the ways that science has been involved in ‘legiitimising’ the treatment of mental health.
We’ve all been excited about Labyrinth Psychotica too – this piece of work challenges visitors significantly, and my students have all had very different experiences, from dizziness and nausea, to feeling very disorientated by the work.
My favourite piece is Lauren Moffat’s Not Eye. In this short 3D film she depicts the fascinating way we experience the world, labelling surveillance as paranoia and presenting her own reaction technique against it.
So the exhibition has made quite an impression then! What are your plans for the future of reVision?
I hope that reVision can continue its relationship with FACT and the art world. We’d love to start collaborating on an annual film festival, with discussions around the future of mental health treatment and awareness. I think this is something that would really benefit Liverpool, and working on this project has triggered lots of discussion, so I hope that we can continue to raise awareness of what we do in this way by intergrating art and academia.
I’d also like to say thank you again to FACT – this has been such an enjoyable experience, both as a lecturer and a reVision member. I’ve been coming to FACT for years and now feel engaged on a new, friendly and creative level which is fantastic.
The next film in the programme will be We're Not Mad, We're Angry, screening on Wednesday 8 April.
The reVision film programme is part of the exhibition Group Therapy: Mental Distress in a Digital Age, on display until 17 May.