28th June 2017: Asylum Magazine 30th Anniversary Conference Party

Please come and help us celebrate the 30th anniversary conference of ‘Asylum Magazine for Democratic Psychiatry’ in the community and promote the ideas which it has represented over the many years it has been running. Asylum magazine is 30 years old now and year after year it has been a platform for people who have had something critical to say about psychiatry. 

Vaudeville bill poster

It has been an important space for giving voice to issues of mental health which get overshadowed as well as people who suffer from various anxieties and labels, and those who work in the field who care about how madness is understood.
For decades Asylum has been an important intellectual expression which has been opening up issues of mental health so a truer representation can be discussed freely and by everybody who is affected. Inspired by the psychiatric survivors movements campaigning for alternatives to the psychiatric mainstream, it has championed a search for different meanings and understandings of madness and distress which are needed.

Come along to Gullivers (109 Oldham St, Manchester M4 1LW) at 6pm for a banquet of food, entertainment, good company and to celebrate the ideas and history of Asylum magazine for democratic psychiatry. There are two stages which have two bands, plus some spoken word, poetry, and short talks.  With a bounty of fresh food from local, independent suppliers, nobody will go hungry.

Vaudeville acts

The Music Lineup from 7pm

For everyone’s delight, delectation, desire and distinguished taste, there is a full line up of distinguished bands.  Music lifts the spirit and serves the soul with information.  Come along to enjoy the band lineup which includes We Are Kin (Prog Rock), Levvy Metal (Balkanesque), Canter Semper (Folk, Soul and Jazz acoustic duo), and the Sandghosts (Rock/Folk) as well as jamming at the end of the evening…:

We Are Kin

We Are Kin

We Are Kin offers melodic and varied compositions that are multi-layered and complex along with underlying narrative describing potential futures. Music to get lost in and themes which challenge.  With complex structure and cinematic overtones, this band hail from the Prog Rock lineage of Brit music.  A well loved Manchester band.



Levvy Metal

Levvy Metal

Levvy Metal are a brass-and-wind community band from Levenshulme (hence the name) with a necessarily fluid line-up including percussion, bass, piano accordion, sousaphone, baritone horn, trumpet, clarinet, soprano sax, alto sax, tenor sax.  They’ll be playing around 9 pieces of either traditional Balkan (or klezmer) pieces or newly written ones (by Richard Fay) as influenced by Balkan music.


Canter Semper

Canter Semper

Canter Semper are an acoustic duo/4 piece hailing from Chorlton, South Manchester. Our eclectic mix of folk, soul and jazz are underpinned by bold and intricate harmonies, giving our sound a unique, live lounge style quality. Influenced by artists such as Florence and the Machine, Eva Cassidy and The Civil Wars, we strive to make music that captivates new audiences with harmony driven, soulful vocals and emotive melodies.





Sandghosts are a three piece; a jazz trained drummer who rocks, a classically trained violinist who rocks, jigs and sings and a lead vocalist/guitarist who chats, sings, makes up stuff on the spot and sounds like a cross between Leonard Cohen and Neil Young (on a good day). We play our own material (check out Sandghosts on Spotify and Amazon) and covers from the Who to Dolly Parton via Davids Bowie and Crosby.




spoken word

Spoken Word Pieces Including:

Between the music and musicians we have a variety of people who will be doing short spoken word pieces on the themes of the Asylum conference and mental health.
What more powerful carriage than the poetry of the spoken word to carry meaning on the back of the only invisible art form – music…

Rowland Urey
Third from right

Rowland Urey: From the Problems of our Nature to the Nature of our Problems

From the individual to society, consciousness as a determinant in history; we need to move from surviving to thriving. To a different life one lived to the full of compassion humour, and if you dont mind a little bit of style

Pete Carruthers

Peter Carruthers: On the Play ‘Fantastic’

A new and innovative play exploring themes of mental health, forced treatment, the clinicalisation of human experience and the pressure to conform to a notion of ‘normal’. Writer, director and actor, Peter Carruthers will read a short extract from the play and talk briefly about his plans for the 2 week production this coming November. He will also talk about how you and your organisation can get involved in the project, through open rehearsals, post-show Q&As with expert guests and a cross-discipline symposium between the arts and health sectors entitled ‘Change of mind: Alternative perspectives on mental health and disorders’.
In a dystopian, not-too-distant future, a ‘miracle cure’ has been discovered. Simply called ‘The Implant’, the treatment promises to cure any psychological disorder by electronically ‘normalising’ brain activity. It promises a happier life, free from distress and a reassurance of finally fitting in. Aisling (a voice hearer) and her brother Joseph (who has synaesthesia and a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome), are potential recipients of the new treatment. ‘Fantastic’ depicts their battle to discover whether the implant is the scientific advancement they’ve been waiting for, or if it threatens the very thing that makes them human.
The ‘Fantastic’ project recently won the award for ‘Social Purpose Learning in Action’ at Health Education England’s ‘Learning Matters – Health and Care Awards’. The award was given in recognition of the project’s drive to provoke debate, reflection and policy change through continued engagement with health professionals, academics, students and experts by experience. If you would like to know more about the project, feel free to ask Pete on the night (he’s here on his own so he’ll be happy for the company!) or if you miss him you can contact him by email or phone: [email protected] 07812756925

Elwood and Harvey

Alex Dunedin: Talking on Am I Mad ? Has Anyone Seen Elwood

Sharing his contribution to the Mad People’s History project ran by David Reville in Toronto, Canada, this is spoken word poetry which is an expression of his experience of a sometimes mad world.  What happens when we encounter a world which is bureaucratically driven but one which does not make sense to the bureaucrats ? A world where our food chain is adulterated with nerve toxins such as organophosphates and flavoured with neurotransmitters ?
Where medicines make us ill and there we are expected to normalise workplace bullying as efficiency achieving practices ?  Where politicians and bankers get eternal pay rises for gross incompetence or malfeasance ?  Does it not stand to say that it is sometimes a mad world ?  Has Anyone Seen Elwood is a friends lament to all the missing presences around him that have taken the place of treasured company.   This is a celebration of the spirit of unbroken people and a howl for those harmed.

Sean Burn

Sean Burn: chalk 3.5% everywhere

Antipsychotics – the gift that keeps on givin even tho yu dont want – heart-attack & vastly inflatin big pharma – not really side effects are they? why were no with yu today. asked to speak on mental health under neoliberalism. easy. the good old days. blairs beloved dangerous & severe personality disorder passed one time we were inside. politicians dont do irony. dda. dla. marketin-based meds. economist yannis varoufakis says neoliberalism ended 2008 in the bankin collapse mega-rich-slash corporations cannibalizin – naomi kleins “shock doctrine” says constant destabilisation post every war-fire-terror attack-market crash-tsunami-3 a.m. tweet keeps us reelin – we are groomed for further shock therapy…




General Feasting

At this wonderful celebration, nobody goes hungry so bring your appetites, your friends and your thoughtful thinking cap as we celebrate together ideas which should be spoken about.  It is free and open to everyone. There will be all sorts of food from a large buffet with lots of variety for people to choose from.


This event is the migration of the 30th anniversary coming together of contributors and thinkers to Asylum magazine and the field of critical psychiatry.  A conference in the community will accumulate contributions which will travel in a mobile art exhibition around the city and then to Edinburgh for the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival.

Gullivers frontage
109 Oldham St, Manchester, M4 1LW


Get your gladrags on and come along folks.  The venue is big with lots of space to break away and chat, munch on all the goodies or absorb the performances on the two stages.

We hope to see you there….


Gullivers oldham street