Asylum Conference Action and Reaction: Bob Dylan needs Asylum help give him a home…

Asylum Magazine, which promotes dialogue and debate about mental health and psychiatry, comes out four times a year. The title, ASYLUM, was chosen for its original etymological meanings – through Latin from Greek to English – of a refuge, a right not to be seized. Asylum – which publishes all kinds of writing, including poetry and prose – has a long history of promoting alternative and challenging perspectives on mental health.

Bob Dylan Asylum Dog
Bob Dylan Asylum Dog

The magazine builds community; providing a space to tell stories of struggle and survival, to work through ideas and to grapple with uncertainty.


Asylum magazine

Asylum is holding its 30th anniversary conference – Action and Reaction – on 28 June in Manchester. Please come along! Mental health survivors, workers, activists, educators, researchers, students and others will gather to explore mental health activism, and to share our reactions – individual and collective – to recent changes in mental health.
We aim to draw strength and inspiration from old alliances and to form and bolster new connections. We will be looking for new ideas for forthcoming issues, and for events we can hold in other parts of the UK.
The Asylum conference – which is open to all – will be a low-cost event, with a reduced rate for subscribers to Asylum Magazine. Pressing current issues, raised by six speakers in the morning, will be further explored in parallel sessions in the afternoon.

Themes include: survivor-led research (Diana Rose), creative responses (Rufus May), therapeutic support (Yasmin Dewan), neoliberalism (Mick McKeown), anti-psychiatry (Ian Parker) and critical psychiatry (Joanna Moncrieff).

We aim to learn together and to support new understandings. Other contributors include: ActivaMent, Paulo Beer, David Branson, Alex Dunedin, Suman Fernando, Wilson Franco, Lili Fullerton, Hannah Hull, Bob Johnson, Jen Kilyon, Nancy Leaver, Conor McCormack, David Morgan, Rich Moth, Craig Newnes, Anne Plumb, John Read, Karlijn Roex, Dolly Sen, Clare Shaw, Phil Thomas, Ronald Urey, Sam Warner and Chris Wood. Our contributors come from across the UK, and we also have visitors from Brazil, Canada, Catalunya and Germany.
We are still looking for more posters and stalls, so if you or your organisation would like to exhibit, then please let us know. Alex, from Ragged University, will be collating images of the posters which will be included on the Ragged University Mad World Archive – a collection of critical perspectives in the area of Mad Studies.
Finally, we are organising a party on the evening after the conference, on 28th June, at Gullivers in Manchester. Do come along, whether or not you are attending the conference. Please, if you can, support our crowd-funding for this event. This will help us to make sure it’s free, so anyone can attend. There will be food, drink, entertainment, music and lots of opportunity to talk to other activists… and, er, you might even meet Bob Dylan….


Bob Dylan the Asylum dog has put himself up for auction.

Bob was named by Recovery in the Bin – a user led Facebook group for mental health survivors and supporters who are critical of the ‘recovery’ model. The trigger was a baffling comment in one group member’s medical notes: ‘Has a dog called Bob Dylan’. See ensuing – fascinating and unsettling – twitter thread: #bonkersmedicalnotes.

Bob Dylan

Currently resident in Lancaster, the freewheelin’ Bob is ready to move on. A longstanding Asylum reader, he’d like to live with another.
Any offers?
Bob comes adorned with a full set of limited edition Asylum badges. He will be auctioned at the party which follows the Asylum Magazine conference on 28 June.
If you won’t be there and would like us to bid for you, please tweet your highest offer to @AsylumNW or email [email protected] by 27 June.