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Rewriting the Space Between a University and a Healthcare Provider: The Model of Converge

Anderson, Emma ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8909-3335, Bell, Adam, Birch, Paul, Coleman, Lucy, Gowland, Paul, Harper-Hardcastle, Matt, Ingham, Eloise, Ostrowska, Bekhi and Paylor, Kev (2022) Rewriting the Space Between a University and a Healthcare Provider: The Model of Converge. In: Walker, C., Zlotowitz, S. and Zoli, A., (eds.) The Palgrave Handbook of Innovative Community and Clinical Psychologies. Palgrave MacmIllan, pp. 259-276

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This chapter outlines the work of Converge, a partnership between York St John University and Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys National Health Service Trust, which offers free arts-based education to people who access mental health services. The chapter, co-written by Converge students, support-workers, university students and academics, focuses on three interlinked features of Converge that work to bridge the traditional social, cultural and systemic distance between people with experience of mental distress and universities/healthcare providers. First, an emphasis on education rather than therapy, which helps us move beyond the disempowering and often oppressive psychiatric model of mental health. Second, inverting the usual practice of sending university students out to placements in hospitals or community centres by instigating a flow of movement in the opposite direction and opening up the university’s spaces to people with experience of mental distress. And third, the collaborative, exploratory approach of Converge as a community of learners, which helps to facilitate what Freire (1970, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Penguin) calls generative dialogue, one of the basic conditions he proposed as necessary to instigate transformational change. Each of these features is illustrated with pieces of creative and reflexive writing by Converge students. We conclude by arguing that the Converge model of carving out space for creative and participatory enquiry can work as a way of satisfying the contemporary demands on universities to offer added ‘value for money’ to students and demonstrate impact, even though its values and aspirations remain social justice-oriented.

Item Type: Book Section
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-71190-0_14
School/Department: School of Education, Language and Psychology
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/7908

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