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SICK! Festival Brighton / Manchester, UK

SICK! FESTIVAL / 2 – 25 MARCH 2015 / BRIGHTON

FESTIVAL

FESTIVAL

The Basement, 24 Kensington Street, Brighton, BN1 4AJ, UK +44 (0)1273 699 733 info@sickfestival.com @SICKfestival facebook.com/sickfestival www.sickfestival.com

2 – 25 MARCH 2015


WELCOME We are delighted to bring SICK! Festival to Manchester for the first time in March 2015. SICK! Festival is not a theatre festival, although you will find many outstanding international performances in the programme. It’s not a dance, film or literature festival, although these art forms are richly represented. It’s not a science festival but you will find many scientists, researchers and doctors within the programme. It’s not a conference, but the programme will include debates, talks and discussions. SICK! is the point where all these come together and everyone can join in the conversation. SICK! is a festival that confronts the challenges of life and death and how we survive them, or in some cases, how we don’t. It’s about challenges that are sometimes rooted in bodies and minds that fail us, sometimes in the complexities of living as members of an imperfect society. SICK! is about bearing witness to the realities of our lives and shining a light on urgent issues that often remain taboo or misunderstood. It’s about the expertise of professionals and the understanding that comes with personal experience. In 2015 the festival programme, taking place for the first time in both Brighton and Manchester, has a particular focus on the issues of sex and sexuality, abuse and suicide. There are some events which do not fit within any one of these areas and others that sit between two or more. However, these were issues that, for a number of reasons, were at the forefront of our minds when we were seeking out new works and making selections. In exploring these issues we received incredible support from our three advisory groups who are listed in this programme, from Prof. Bobbie Farsides (BSMS) and from Dr. Bella Starling (Nowgen). SICK! Festival draws on the expertise and resources of many different partner organisations including arts organisations and venues, academic institutions, charities and community groups. We are extremely grateful for their commitment and support without which the festival would not be possible. We thank Arts Council England and Wellcome Trust for their bold commitment to supporting SICK! and to the many other funders who have contributed to the festival’s delivery. Particular thanks goes to Wellcome Trust’s Sexology programme, with which we have forged a stimulating and thought-provoking curatorial dialogue. We thank the many fantastic artists, speakers and other participants that make up this programme for the intelligence, integrity and honesty of their contributions. Finally, we thank you the audience in advance, for bringing your own thoughts and questions, your ideas and your lives into this festival. We look forward to seeing you during the festival.

Helen Medland

CEO / Artistic Director

Tim Harrison

Director of Development

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CONTENTS PERFORMANCES

LITERATURE

SO YOU CAN FEEL, PIETER AMPE / CAMPO PRURIENCE, CHRISTOPHER GREEN UNDER THE COVERS, CONTACT YOUNG COMPANY WHAT TAMMY NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT GETTING OLD AND HAVING SEX, LOIS WEAVER SEX, CANCER & COCKTAILS, BRIAN LOBEL THE ERADICATION OF SCHIZOPHRENIA IN WESTERN LAPLAND, RIDICULUSMUS LAUGHING HOLE, LA RIBOT HOW TO DISAPPEAR COMPLETELY, CHOP THEATRE NIRBHAYA, YÄEL FARBER CAN I START AGAIN PLEASE, SUE MACLAINE TELL ME LOVE IS REAL, ZACHARY OBERZAN SLAP TALK, ACTION HERO FALLING IN LOVE WITH FRIDA, CAROLINE BOWDITCH WOE, EDIT KALDOR LIPPY, DEAD CENTRE

15 16 19

23 39 48 56

FILM 20 27 31 32 35 36 43 47 51 52 55 60

CONFERENCE RAPE, THE BRAIN & MENTAL HEALTH 7

DEBATES INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY? WHY DO THE RATES OF CONVICTION FOR SEXUAL ABUSE REMAIN SO LOW? 12 WHY BE NORMAL? 28 IS THERE SUCH THING AS A RATIONAL SUICIDE? 44

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IN FRONT OF THE CHILDREN... BARING THE SCARS RISE LIVING LIBRARY IS IT CATCHING?

THE SPECIAL NEED IT’S ALRIGHT I’M AWESOME THE UNSPEAKABLE CRIME: RAPE THE BRIDGE

24 24 40 59

INSTALLATIONS SCREENING CONTAINER HUNT & DARTON CAFE

8 11

COMMISSIONED ESSAYS INTRODUCTION WHY BE NORMAL? SEX GRAFFITI DISABILITY SPELL STALKING IN THE CONTEXT OF FAMILY VIOLENCE SURVIVING OPEN LETTER TO MY DAD EXPLORING THE IDEA OF A RATIONAL BASIS FOR SUICIDE AND ITS SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS

67 68 72 76 80 84 88

INFORMATION WELLCOME COLLECTION SEXOLOGY SEASON SICK! FESTIVAL SUPPORTS SIGN POSTING ADVISORY GROUPS & THANKS TO AT A GLANCE VENUE MAP SUPPORTERS

5 62 92 94 96 97 98

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WELLCOME COLLECTION SEXOLOGY SEASON What do you know about sex? How do you know it? How does research into sexual health affect our behaviour and attitudes to sex? This eclectic national season links events taking place inside and outside The Institute of Sexology, a Wellcome Collection exhibition in London open until 20th September 2015. Three accompanying programmes in Manchester, Brighton and Glasgow for 2015 will incorporate live performance, films, walks, talks and literature events and much more. The season invites artists, writers, film-makers, academics, health professionals, sexworkers, over-65s, teenagers and cancer-patients to explore and question with us. The Wellcome Collection has worked with arts, culture and community partners, such as SICK! Festival, to help programme and produce an array of exciting events to involve audiences and participants in a conversation about the most publicly discussed of private acts. A related poetry tour features Malika Booker, Kei Campbell and Warsan Shire. Young people’s imaginative responses to recent sexology research are being explored through a national song-writing project. Sex by Numbers by David Spiegelhalter, due to be published spring 2015, looks at our attitudes and behaviour, from one-night stands to transsexuality. Based on statistics from multiple studies, it unravels the web of exaggerations, misdirections and downright lies that surround sex in modern society. A companion interactive infographic lets you playfully explore the stats of sex: sexbynumbers.wellcomecollection.org Some work, like the infographic, will be available beyond the season, e.g. films, debate vodcasts, a podcast drama, postcards, essays, a small touring exhibition and blogs. Much more information is available at wellcomecollection.org/sexologyseason

Wellcome Library London

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CONFERENCE – PRESENTED WITH ST.MARY’S SEXUAL ASSAULT REFERRAL CENTRE

RAPE, THE BRAIN AND MENTAL HEALTH IMPACT, SERVICES AND CARE FOR VICTIMS

The impact of rape on people’s mental health, how the brain is affected by exposure to trauma and how we can improve services for people who have experienced sexual violence is the focus of a two day conference to be hosted by the St. Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Manchester.

www.stmaryscentre.org @stmaryssarc

The St. Mary’s SARC was the first centre of its kind to be established in the UK and each year it hosts a major national conference to encourage debate and discussion on a theme related to rape and sexual assault. The conference attracts speakers and delegates from across the UK and abroad. This year speakers include the Director of Public Prosecution, Alison Saunders and the past President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists; Prof. Dame Sue Bailey. As well as the main plenary sessions, small workshops and seminars are held giving delegates the chance to test their knowledge, gain practical experience and ask questions. Dr. Catherine White, Clinical Director at St. Mary’s Centre, said: “Our Conference has become a key event in the calendar for those working with victims of rape and sexual violence. Delegates find the sessions stimulating, practical and help them improve their services locally.” For further information on Rape, The Brain and Mental Health visit www.stmaryscentre.org Booking forms available at www.stmaryscentre.org/ professional-area/st-marys-training-and-events/ or email charlotte.batra@cmft.nhs.uk

THU 26/02 8.30AM > 5.15PM FRI 27/02 8.45AM > 4PM £320 - £350 (INCLUDES LUNCH AND REFRESHMENTS) THE PALACE HOTEL

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INSTALLATION

SCREENING CONTAINER VARIOUS ARTISTS

Taking SICK! Festival 2015 onto the streets, we present a programme of short films, bite-sized documentaries and video installations exploring the areas of sex & sexuality, abuse and suicide. Presented across three weekends during the festival, Screening Container is a drop-in / dropout experience. Inside you will find a variety of film-based works, demonstrating the capacity of moving images to connect our most intimate and complex narratives, providing a place for both reportage and imagination. The Screening Container will be presenting work that is sometimes harrowing, sometimes uplifting and humorous, but always thought provoking.

Film programme was supported by: Film Hub South East Partners: Oska Bright and videoclub Supported by: The Wellcome Collection as part of the Sexology Season www.filmhubse.org www.oskabright.co.uk www.videoclub.org.uk @filmhubse @oskabright

CONFIRMED SCREENINGS: Slutphobia: Sunny Bergman 69: Love Sex Senior: Barbara Truyen Save Us From Saviours: Andrea Cornwall The Joy of Sex Education: Eelco de Jong The Weight of Invisible Pain: Mechanics of Emotion 3: Nada Gambier Suicide Walk: Nathan Burr & Louis Buckley Normal: Nicola Mai A full programme of titles and screening times is available online at www.sickfestival.com. Information on the festival and sign-posting to relevant services, support groups and charities will be available at the Screening Container.

MON 02/03 > WED 25/03 SCHEDULE TBC - SEE WEBSITE FREE UNIVERSITY PLACE CERTIFICATION TBC

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ENQUIRIES: 01273 699733 TICKETS: SICKFESTIVAL.COM


Image credit: Christa Holka


Image credit: Christa Holka

INSTALLATION – COMMISSIONED BY SICK! FESTIVAL

HUNT & DARTON CAFE HUNT & DARTON (UK)

A fully functioning cafe that blends art with the everyday, Hunt & Darton Cafe is a social and artistic hub where spontaneity and performance meet great food and drink.

Funded by: Arts Council England

Jenny Hunt and Holly Darton expose the inner workings of their business by presenting everything as art – from the food served, the people serving, the décor and public display of their bank balance to the lovingly handpicked charity shop crockery.

Associate artists: Artsadmin and Cambridge Junction

Presented in association with: hÅb and Word of Warning

www.huntanddartoncafe.com @HuntDarton

Hunt & Darton Cafe encourages playful participation and meaningful social encounters through its alternative service from its hosts Hunt & Darton in their iconic fruit or veggie attire, comic interaction through their ‘set menu’ performances, guest waiters and themed days such as ‘You-Do-It’ or ‘Health & Safety’ day. As this year’s hub for SICK! Festival guest waiters include Pigeon Theatre, Nikki Hobday, Sara Cocker and Erini Kartsaki. There are new theme days responding to the festival themes such as ‘Sexy day’ on which it is encouraged to speak frankly about sex, the food is phallic and served up accompanied by sexual innuendos. Hosted talks will approach the core themes of the festival collaborating with medical practitioners, academics, artists and local groups. Imagine being served your tea whilst getting that leg looked at! Or perhaps you would like a bowl of Coco Pops served with a conversation about mental health. Make sure you join us for Unhappy Hour to enjoy pre-show 2for1 drinks offers and great food. Just show us your ticket and you are in! At Hunt & Darton Cafe we are proud to satisfy appetites in more ways than one. ‘A pop up establishment of disarming eccentricity’ Lyn Gardner, Guardian

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04/03 > 25/03 (CLOSED MONDAYS & TUESDAY) 12 NOON > 7.30PM LOCATION – CHECK WEBSITE FOR DETAILS

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DEBATE

INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY? WHY DO THE RATES OF CONVICTION FOR SEXUAL ABUSE REMAIN SO LOW? ‘Only 1,070 rapists are convicted every year despite up to 95,000 people – the vast majority of them women – suffering the trauma of rape – according to the new research by the Ministry of Justice, the Home Office and the Office for National Statistics.’ The Independent, 10th January 2013. In a supposedly progressive society which aims to protect the individual how can this be? Do our other values, such as the assumption of innocence until proven guilty have a role to play? Should this assumption be questioned for situations in which hard evidence beyond individual testimony is notoriously hard to come by? Or are there other ways in which the system needs to change to protect people from the most traumatic and often life-threatening crimes? Hugh Whittall (CHAIR) Hugh is the Director of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, whose task is to identify and report on ethical questions raised by new developments in biological and medical research. He was previously at the Department of Health, involved with human tissue legislation and establishing the Human Tissue Authority, plus end-of-life and transplantation policy. Prior to that, Hugh spent three years at the European Commission in Brussels, involved in the funding of bioethics research, and he was for several years Deputy Chief Executive of the HFEA. Dr. Sam Taylor Sam is a co-director of Veritas, a Community Interest Company focusing on issues of domestic abuse, stalking and family justice. Sam is a creative writing facilitator and runs Writing for Recovery courses for people affected by these issues. In 2011 Sam gave evidence as part of the Stalking Law Reform campaign, which led to a new law for Stalking in England and Wales being introduced on 25th November 2012.

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Dr. Catherine White OBE Cath is the Clinical Director of St. Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre which provides a comprehensive and co-ordinated forensic, counselling and aftercare service to men, women and children living in the Greater Manchester and Cheshire area who have experienced rape or sexual assault. She received Fellowship of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologist and was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to vulnerable people in The Queen’s 2014 New Year’s Honours List. She has been a Forensic Physician, specialising in the examination of women, men and children since 1995. Nazir Afzal OBE Nazir is Chief Crown Prosecutor for the North West of England and has prosecuted some of the most high profile cases in the country. The present high profile of several subjects owes a considerable amount to Nazir’s tireless ‘campaigning’ on the issues. He leads nationally on several legal topics including violence against women & girls and child sexual abuse. He has responsibility for more than 100,000 other prosecutions each year. Nazir’s has received many accolades, in 2005, he was awarded an OBE by the Queen for his work with the CPS and involvement with local communities. He won the the Daily Mirror & UK Government’s Justice Award 2007. He was Asian Media Group’s ‘Man of the Year 2012’. Recently, he was given an Honorary Doctorate by Birmingham University. Dr. Kate Cook Kate is a feminist who lectures in law who specialises in research about rape, child sex abuse and domestic abuse. She has worked within the rape crisis movement and a number of other women’s organisations, in a voluntary capacity. Her current projects include work on undocumented migrant women experiencing violence, the impact of revelations about historic cases of child abuse and the role of advocates in court.

MON 02/03 7.30PM £4 (50% DONATED TO ST. MARYS SEXUAL ASSAULT REFERRAL CENTRE) MANCHESTER MUSEUM 9() MINS

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Image credit: Bart Stadnicki


PERFORMANCE – UK PREMIERE – PRESENTED WITH CONTACT

SO YOU CAN FEEL

PIETER AMPE / CAMPO (BELGIUM) After a series of duets and a quartet, dancer and performer Pieter Ampe is going solo. While staying in New York, Ampe immersed himself in a world of transformations, an environment where standards are continuously shifting and blurring, where sexual and emotional energy go hand in hand with individual emancipation. Are we aware of how others perceive us? Which energy do we emanate through our bodies? Do we need to be liberated? Pieter Ampe will find out. This regained sensuality could be suggested by a subtle movement of the hip. Alternatively he might try to seduce you (literally or metaphorically) with the grandest of gestures. In any case, it is a solo performance to eagerly look forward to: the coming of age of a man and his body.

Created & Performed by: Pieter Ampe Music by: Jakob Ampe Production: CAMPO Co-production: Moving in November (Helsinki, FI), Kaaitheater (Brussels, BE) & Bit Teatergarasjen (Bergen, NO) Supported by: The Wellcome Collection as part of the Sexology Season www.campo.nu @campo_nu

Pieter Ampe grew up in Ghent, moving to Salzberg to study at the Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance before moving on to the Arnhem Dance Academy and P.A.R.T.S. in Brussels. Since 2009 he has been artist in residence at CAMPO creating the duet Still Standing You (2010), in collaboration with Gulherme Garrido. In 2011, he had the première of Jake and Pete’s Big Reconciliation Attempt For The Disputes From The Past, which he created together with his brother Jakob Ampe and mentor Alain Platel. In 2012, he presented A Coming Community at Kunstenfestivaldesarts in Brussels. ‘Pieter Ampe transforms himself, creating gestures that change gender, obscenity glides into noblesse, raucousness breaks into vulnerability.’ Helsinki Daily Newspaper This performance is suitable for Deaf and hard of hearing. The performance will be followed by a short presentation and post-show discussion with Prof. Eric Anderson in conversation with Pieter Ampe exploring new models of masculine heterosexuality. Eric Anderson is Professor of Sport, Masculinities and Sexualities at the University of Winchester.

ENQUIRIES: 0161 274 0600 TICKETS: SICKFESTIVAL.COM

TUE 03/03 8PM £10 / £8 CONCS CONTACT THEATRE AGE 16+ 65 MINS

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PERFORMANCE – PREMIERE - PRESENTED WITH CONTACT

PRURIENCE

CHRISTOPHER GREEN (UK) Pornography ain’t what it used to be. No longer on the top shelf or behind the bike shed, its available on every screen at the click of a mouse, with no apparent consequences. It’s easy to get and there’s an awful lot of it out there. Like kids let loose in a sweetshop, is it any wonder people are filling their faces with the stuff. With humour, honesty and a hard-drive full of research into the effects of pornography on the brain, theatre maker and entertainer Christopher Green asks: Is this just another exaggerated moral panic, or are there implications round the corner of which we are as yet unaware?

Written by: Christopher Green Directed by: Wils Wilson Performed by: Christopher Green and a full supporting cast Supported by: The Wellcome Collection as part of the Sexology Season www.christophergreen.net @kit_green

Prurience invites you to join a fictional self-help group for self-confessed porn-addicts in a performance that looks lust, shame and the web-cam squarely in the eye. Through the voices of addicts, Prurience reveals the predelictions and personal struggles, the excuses, deceits and drives that lead so many down this path. The action will take place around you, but you won’t be forced to participate, be prepared to question your moral assumptions, your ideas about how our culture views sex and addiction. Christopher Green is an entertainer, artist and writer. He is perhaps best known for his comedy characters Tina C, Ida Barr and Jedd O’Sullivan. Christopher makes comedy and drama pieces regularly for BBC Radio 4, including 5 series of Tina C. “Part politician, part shaman, part sociologist, part healer, but you’ll happily only focus on the fact that he’s an entertainer.” The Guardian The performance will be followed by a short presentation and post-show discussion with Prof. Feona Attwood, in conversation with Christopher Green exploring the cultural and psychological impact of pornography. Feona Attwood is Feona Attwood is Professor of Cultural Studies, Communication and Media at Middlesex University.

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WED 04/03 8PM £10 / £8 CONCS METHODIST CENTRAL BUILDINGS AGE 16+ 100 MINS

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Image credit: Tom L Russell

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Image credit: Drew Forsyth


PERFORMANCE – PRESENTED WITH CONTACT

UNDER THE COVERS

CONTACT YOUNG COMPANY Under The Covers will examine young people’s contemporary attitudes to sex, questioning myths and breaking down taboos. This new performance is directed by artist and performer Stacy Makishi, and developed through workshops with artists including Amy and Rosana Cade, and Kate O’Donnell.

Directed by: Stacy Makishi

Contact Young Company (formerly CYAC) is Contact’s renowned young ensemble, made up of young performers, actors, dancers, musicians, poets and MCs. Each year the company creates brand new professional standard shows in collaboration with major national and international artists such as Forced Entertainment, Lies Pauwels and Grupo XIX de Teatro.

@contactmcr

Supported by: The Wellcome Collection as part of the Sexology Season A Call to Create showcase event www.contactmcr.com #contactyoungco

Contact is committed to boldly re-imagining how a theatre for young people should look and feel. Working with theatre, art, music, spoken word, dance and DJs, Contact is a dynamic space where young people, artists, audiences and staff can come together. It is not simply a producing house or a presenting venue but a space where artistic experiments are explored, developed, and completed, embracing partnerships with organisations and individuals both locally and internationally. Under The Covers is inspired by the new Wellcome Collection exhibition The Institute of Sexology, and the recent National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles. ‘Stacy Makishi has a way of transforming the mundane into the radiant.’ Joshua Sofaer

WED 04/03 > SAT 07/03 7.30PM £9/ £6 CONCS CONTACT THEATRE AGE 14+ 60 MINS

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PERFORMANCE – UK PREMIERE

WHAT TAMMY NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT GETTING OLD AND HAVING SEX LOIS WEAVER (USA / UK)

Tammy WhyNot is in town and she’s on a mission to ask all the difficult questions, talk to those who really know and find out the truth about sex, and all its associations, at midlife and beyond. Part performance, part chat show, What Tammy Needs to Know About Getting Old and Having Sex was developed in collaboration with older people in Manchester, drawing on their (very) personal stories and experiences. Whatever the media might suggest, sex is certainly not just for the young and the photogenic.

Conceived and Performed by: Lois Weaver and Tammy WhyNot

Tammy WhyNot is a former famous country and western singer turned performance artist all the way from the US of A. She is also the creation of artist, writer, director, scholar and activist Lois Weaver. Tammy will present a unique, specially developed performance to share her exploration into aging, desire, pleasure and intimacy. In preparation for the show, Tammy investigated her subject using a series of workshops and public interventions with local elders, generating stories and recruit participants for the show. The show also features special guest appearances by Tammy’s many well-known artists friends.

Music Composition: Vivian Stoll, Amy Surrant, Louise Mothersole, Paul Clark and Sharon Jane Smith

Lois Weaver lectures in Contemporary Performance at Queen Mary University of London and is an independent performance artist, director and activist. She was co- founder of Spiderwoman Theatre and the WOW Café Theatre in New York City and Artistic Director of Gay Sweatshop Theatre in London. Lois has been a performer, director and writer with the Split Britches Company since 1980.

www.splitbritches.wordpress.com

‘Lois Weaver is a playful pixie of performance art.’ NY Times This performance is BSL interpreted. The performance will be followed by a short presentation and post-show discussion with Dr. David Lee, in conversation with Lois Weaver exploring the themes of sex, sexuality and ageing. David Lee is Age UK Research Fellow at the School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester.

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Written by: Lois Weaver in collaboration with Peggy Shaw Assistant to the Director: Amy Rox Surratt Choreography: Stormy Brandenberger Sound Design: Vivian Stoll

Set Design/Lighting: Jo Palmer Videographer: Claire Nolan Costume Design: Susan Young Creative Producer: Charlie Cauchi Associate Producer: Tracy Gentles Supported by: The Wellcome Collection as part of the Sexology Season @whynottammy

FRI 06/03 8PM £10 / £8 CONCS Z-ARTS AGE 14+ 75 MINS

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Image credit: Christa Holka


LITERATURE – PRESENTED WITH DARK & STORMY

IN FRONT OF THE CHILDREN... Curated by novelist Julia Crouch, The SICK! literature strand brings together diverse panels of authors who have addressed the issues considered in each event through their writing – be it fiction, graphic novels, academic writing or memoir. Expect the discussions to be wide-ranging, encompassing personal experience, theory and imagination. Does the easy online accessibility of pornography pose a threat to young people? Does it stand in the way of developing a healthy attitude to love and sex, or does it provide useful information for beginners? These panels bring together writers with wide-ranging interests in sex and sexuality for a full and frank discussion. Paul Burston (CHAIR) Journalist, author of four novels and, until recently LGBT editor for Time Out, Paul is also the founder and host of London’s award-winning LGBT literary salon Polari and creator of The Polari First Book Prize. Emma Jane Unsworth Award-winning novelist Emma Jane is the author of Animals, a raw exploration of female friendship and sexuality. Her forthcoming novel Girl on Fire, partly narrated by a teenage girl, questions when we become adults and explores child sexuality, a huge taboo area in the wake of Yewtree. Jonathan Kemp Prize-winning novelist and teacher of creative writing and literature at Birkbeck University of London. His highly acclaimed collection of short stories, Twentysix, is a milestone of literary erotica. Clarissa Smith Professor of Sexual Cultures at the University of Sunderland, author of many books and journal articles, Clarissa is founding co-editor with Feona Attwood of the Routledge journal Porn Studies. There will be a bookshop and signings after this event.

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Julia Crouch Publisher: Headline www.juliacrouch.co.uk @thatjuliacrouch Paul Burston Publisher: Sphere www.paulburston.com @PaulBurston Emma Jane Unsworth Publisher: Canongate www.emmajaneunsworth.com @emjaneunsworth Jonathan Kemp Publisher: Myriad Editions @JonathanMKemp Clarissa Smith Publisher: Routledge www.clarissasmith.co.uk @DrClarissaSmith Supported by: The Wellcome Collection as part of the Sexology Season Dark & Stormy is Brighton’s own crime festival, serving up a wicked selection of book, film, music & theatre events in partnership with Brighton Festival and Picturehouse Cinemas. www.darkandstormybrighton.org @DarkStormyFest

SUN 08/03 3PM £8 / £5 CONCS INTERNATIONAL ANTHONY BURGESS FOUNDATION AGE 16+ 90 MINS

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FILM - PRESENTED WITH OSKA BRIGHT

THE SPECIAL NEED CARLO ZORATTI (ITALY) IT’S ALRIGHT I’M AWESOME LUC EISENBARTH & LAE PROD (UK) THE SPECIAL NEED Enea is 29 and looking for love – physical love that is. But as an autistic person living in Italy, this is anything but easy.… From Bolzano to Linz, Zurich and Hamburg, Enea and his two best friends, Carlo and Alex embark upon a journey that will take them far beyond what they initially imagined. More people will join the mission and a series of unexpected events will divert the van from the initial destination towards new paths. What started as an expedition aimed at having sex soon becomes a journey into Enea’s most intimate feelings and a way for the three friends to explore their own conception of love, friendship and freedom. IT’S ALRIGHT I’M AWESOME Luc is a wrestling maniac. He may be half the size of the opposition, but he’s not going to let that, or his iconic cowboy hat, stop him winning the bout. Oska Bright is the world’s first and foremost film festival dedicated exclusively to short films made by learning disabled artists. It takes place biennially in Brighton, and travels around the country and abroad in non-festival years. For more information about the Oska Bright Film Festival visit www.carousel.org.uk.

THE SPECIAL NEED: Writer: Cosimo Bizzarri and Carlo Zoratti Director: Carlo Zoratti Producer: Henning Kamm & Erica Barbiani Director of Photography: Julián Elizalde AEC Editor: David Hartmann Original Score: Dario Moroldo Production: A DETAiLFILM and Videomante Co-production: ZDF Das kleine Fernsehspiel IT’S ALRIGHT I’M AWESOME: Produced and Directed by: Luc Eisenbarth Music: In From The Okavango Delta Film programme was supported: Film Hub South East Partners: Oska Bright & videoclub Supported by: The Wellcome Collection as part of the Sexology Season www.filmhubse.org www.oskabright.co.uk www.videoclub.org.uk @filmhubse @oskabright

SUN 08/03 The screening will be followed by a post-show discussion with members of Oska Bright. Oska Bright is the world’s first and only festival of short films made by people with learning disabilities that is produced, managed and presented by a learning disabled team. (www.oskabright.co.uk).

6PM £5 INTERNATIONAL ANTHONY BURGESS FOUNDATION CERTIFICATION TBC 120 MINS

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Image credit: Wide House (The Special Need)

Image credit: LAE Productions (It’s Alright I’m Awesome)


Image credit: James Barker


PERFORMANCE – PREMIERE

SEX, CANCER & COCKTAILS BRIAN LOBEL (USA/UK)

Sex, Cancer and Cocktails – an in-home conversation about doing it during treatment...

Facilitator: Brian Lobel

Cancer and pleasure: two words that rarely party together, until now. Sex, Cancer and Cocktails is a performance event mixing Ann Summers and Tupperware parties with expert information, intimate sharings and a radical perspective on illness and feeling (or not feeling) sexy. Facilitated by Wellcome Trust Public Engagement Fellow Brian Lobel, and featuring presentations by a sexual health doctor, a cancer nurse and an academic, this evening, behind closed doors, will inspire and challenge the way we think about our bodies.

Supported by: The Wellcome Collection as part of the Sexology Season

Producer: Tracy Gentles

www.blobelwarming.com @blobelwarming

Sex, Cancer and Cocktails is a FREE event with a limited capacity. In order to ensure a range of perspectives, we are asking audiences to describe their relationship to cancer when submitting a ticket request. In treatment, out of treatment, post treatment, scared of treatment, never in treatment, all perspectives are critical to making this evening the most fun you can have in your own living room. Sex, Cancer and Cocktails will take place in a real person’s home, somewhere in Central Manchester. “a show that is deeply touching in more ways than one” Lyn Gardner, The Guardian on An Appreciation Presentations by: Dr. Ali Mears, Consultant Physician at St. Mary’s Hospital, Imperial College Healthcare NHS. Prof. Jackie Stacey, Centre for the Study of Sexuality & Culture, University of Manchester. Beth McCann, Adolescent Clinical Nurse Specialist. *Tickets will be allocated on a lottery basis. Please e-mail your submission to sexcancercocktails@sickfestival.com before Friday 20th February. Details will be sent along with confirmation of tickets via e-mail by Friday 27th February.

ENQUIRIES: 01273 699733 TICKETS: SICKFESTIVAL.COM

MON 09/03 6PM – 7.45PM 8.15PM – 10PM FREE – LIMITED CAPACITY BOOKING ESSENTIAL* SECRET LOCATION AGE 18+ 105 MINS

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DEBATE

WHY BE NORMAL? The question Why Be Normal? is in one sense a challenge and a provocation: why do we have to act in conformity to long established cultural models, in particular with regard to our sexual preferences? Why not be different? From another perspective it asks us to consider why we do act and desire in the ways we do, either in conformity to, or divergence from a norm. It raises the question of personal choice and the effect of social or cultural context. In the background remains the persistent idea: We are what we are born with. Personal, cultural and biological factors are increasingly seen as interweaving to create the context in which we all individually answer the question: Why Be Normal? Prof. Jackie Stacy (CHAIR) Jackie is Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Manchester where she is currently Director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in the Arts and Languages (CIDRAL). Her publications include: Star Gazing: Female Spectators and Hollywood Cinema (1994) and Teratologies: A Cultural Study of Cancer (1997) and The Cinematic Life of the Gene. (2010). She has also co-edited a number of books, including, most recently: Queer Screens with Sarah Street (2007) and Writing Otherwise: Experiments in Cultural Criticism with Janet Wolff (2013). Dr. Meg John Barker Meg is a writer, academic, counsellor and activist specialising in sex and relationships. Meg John is a senior lecturer in psychology at the Open University and a UKCP accredited therapist, and has over a decade of experience researching and publishing on these topics including the popular book Rewriting the Rules.

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Prof. Jack Halberstam Jack is Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity, Gender Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California. Halberstam is the author of five books including Female Masculinity, In A Queer Time and Place and Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal. Jack is a popular speaker and gives lectures internationally every year on topics including queer failure, sex and media, subcultures, visual culture, gender variance, popular film and animation. Prof. Peter Hegarty Peter is Professor of Psychology and Head of School at the University of Surrey. He has extensively researched the social psychology and the history of nature-nurture debates about sexuality. His first book Gentlemen’s Disagreement: Alfred Kinsey, Lewis Terman and the Sexual Politics of Smart Men was published by University of Chicago Press in 2013. Dr. Greg Ussher Greg is the CEO of METRO, London’s leading equality charity. Greg is also a Lay Rep (PPI) on Greenwich Clinical Commissioning Group, Chair of the National LGBT Consortium, Chair of Outhouse East in Essex, Chair of the Kent/Medway LGBT Forum and Chair of the Greenwich Charitable Trust. Greg is an Honorary Fellow of the University of Greenwich and a Churchill Fellow. He has a PhD in sexual health. Supported by: The Wellcome Collection as part of the Sexology Season

TUE 10/03 7.30PM £4 (50% DONATED TO THE LESBIAN & GAY FOUNDATION) MANCHESTER MUSEUM 9() MINS

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Image credit: Ridiculusmus


PERFORMANCE – COMMISSIONED BY SICK! FESTIVAL – PRESENTED WITH THE LOWRY

THE ERADICATION OF SCHIZOPHRENIA IN WESTERN LAPLAND RIDICULUSMUS (UK)

Critically acclaimed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014, this new work from Ridiculusmus is a dual family drama about recovery from schizophrenia. The play simultaneously stages the first psychotic episodes of a mother and son as they navigate stress and change with fantastical results involving Finnish folk, Margaret Drabble, Adolf Hitler and the knitted cover for a toilet roll. Their two interconnected stories are performed in separate but adjoining auditoria in the same theatre space, audible but unseen to each other. At half time the audience switch seats and the action is replayed, mapping a pathway to recovery. This new work from Ridiculusmus is inspired by a treatment method for psychosis that has virtually eradicated schizophrenia from Western Lapland. It conjures up a comic nightmare of delusion while offering a hopeful world of polyphonic uncertainty, a world where dialogue can transform your life. Multi-award winning company Ridiculusmus has a 20-year strong track record of creating, presenting and touring high quality and innovative new theatre. Driving and leading as author-actors, the company’s co-artistic directors David Woods and Jonathan Haynes have established the company as a flagship UK performance group touring nationally and internationally with works passionately wrought from minimal resources that are both serious and funny. ‘A startling piece of work that challenges how you listen and fathom what you hear’ **** The Guardian ‘As a piece of stagecraft it is completely remarkable’ **** Time Out The performance on 12th March will be followed by a short presentation and post-show discussion with Dr. Dawn Edge, in conversation with Ridiculusmus exploring the treatment of schizophrenia in society. Dawn Edge is Senior Lecturer in the Centre for New Treatments & Understanding in Mental Health (CeNTrUM) at The University of Manchester.

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Written and directed by: David Woods and Jon Haynes Cast: Jon Haynes, Patrizia Paolini, Richard Talbot, David Woods Technical Co-ordination: Chris Marsh Hilfiker Script and Performance Collaborators: John Burns, Louise Bush, Meredith Davies, Nicky Harley, Rupert Jones, James King, Ranjit Krishnamma, Brian Lipson, Sally Marie, Dominic McHale, Valentina Muhr, Cindy Oswin, Patrizia Paolini, Minsun Park, Richard Talbot Design Collaborators: Salvador Alejandro Garza Fishburn, George Moustakas, Mischa Twitchin Funded by: the Wellcome Trust Commissioned by: SICK! Festival Support: Shoreditch Town Hall, Metal and Stephen Joseph Theatre Ridiculusmus receives funding from Arts Council England www.ridiculusmus.com @_ridiculusmus_

WED 11/03 > THU 12/03 8PM £12/ £10 CONCS THE LOWRY AGE 14+ 80 MINS

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PERFORMANCE – PRESENTED WITH THE WHITWORTH

LAUGHING HOLE LA RIBOT (SPAIN)

First presented at Art Unlimited at Art Basel 37, Switzerland, in 2006, the performance-installation Laughing Hole is La Ribot’s most overtly political piece. Now reworked to confront the themes of sexuality, abuse and suicide, this 6 hour durational performance will fill Whitworth Art Gallery’s Grand Hall. Wracked with hauntingly continuous laugher, at times convulsive, at times forced, three female performers sort through hundreds of cardboard placards littering the floor of the performance space. Disjointed, confrontational and provocative, these rough placards are taped to the walls, shouting out a visceral and incoherent rage. As fatigue takes over, the laughter is amplified, resonating through architecture and intensifying the piece’s already conflicted atmosphere. Performer, choreographer ad visual artist La Ribot was born in Madrid. Her work has been presented in many theatres, art centers, galleries and museums around the world. Her first work as La Ribot was the humorous “striptease” Socorro! Gloria!, which inspired her 1994 solo series 13 piezasdistinguidas and the subsequent Distinguished Pieces series. In 2000 La Ribot began experimenting with videomaking, in particular, hand-held video shot from the point of view of the performer. Since 2000 she has developed numerous ambitious projects, stretching the limits of performance in scale, complexity and intensity. In 2012 she completed EEEXEEECUUUUTIOOOOONS!!! a major choreographic commission for the Ballet de Lorraine in France. She continues to develop and present work across the globe. ‘It is difficult to describe an hour in the company of this performance artist (…) La Ribot has the ability to take herself and her audience on a whistle-stop journey of passion, loathing, love and obsession.’ London Fringe This performance is suitable for Deaf and hard of hearing.

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Produced by: Galería Soledad Lorenzo, Madrid, Spain Written and Directed by: La Ribot (English translation with Catherine Phelps) Sound Design: Clive Jenkins Performers: Ruth Childs, Tamara Alegre, Olivia Csiky Trnka, Marie-Caroline Hominal or La Ribot and Fernando de Miguel Original Performers: Marie-Caroline Hominal, Delphine Rosay, La Ribot and Clive Jenkins Supported by: La Ville de Genève, La République et Canton de Genève, Pro Helvetia Swiss Arts Council and La Loterie Romande www.laribot.com

THUR 12/03 4PM > 10PM FREE ADMISSION THE WHITWORTH AGE 14+ 6 HRS

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Image credit: John Sission


Image credit: Emily Cooper


PERFORMANCE – PRESENTED WITH THE LOWRY

HOW TO DISAPPEAR COMPLETELY CHOP THEATRE (CANADA)

In September of 2000, renowned lighting designer Itai Erdal received a phone call telling him his mother was diagnosed with lung cancer and had nine months to live. Itai, a recent film-school graduate promptly moved back to Israel to spend every moment he could with his dying mother. During that time he shot hours of film and hundreds of pictures, documenting her final days. In a starkly simple yet deeply profound original work, Erdal draws on his remarkable approach to stage lighting whilst reflecting on the events following his mother asking him to take her life. Directed by James Long this piece combines the power of Erdal’s story with a powerful and nuanced theatrical language. Itai Erdal is an award winning lighting designer. He’s also a gifted storyteller who draws on a life fully lived between his birthplace, Jerusalem, and his current home in Vancouver BC. Itai has designed over 170 shows for theatre and dance companies in Vancouver, Toronto, Stratford, Montreal, Tel Aviv, Berlin, London and New York. He has won the ADC’s Jack King award in 2005, nominated for the Siminovitch Prize in 2006 and won a Dora Mavor Moore award in 2007, the best design award in the Dublin Fringe Festival in 2008, Victoria’s Critics’ Choice Spotlight Award in 2011 and Jessie Richardson awards in 2003, 2009 & 2011.

Written by: Itai Erdal in collaboration with James Long, Anita Rochon and Emelia Symington Fedy Performed by: Itai Erdal Director: James Long Lighting Design: Itai Erdal Sound Design: Emelia Symington Fedy Original Composition: Andrea Young Projection Design: Jamie Nesbitt Remount Projection Design: Corwin Ferguson Dramaturge: Anita Rochon Technical Director: Itai Erdal www.itaierdal.com @thechoptheatre

‘Gripping...theatre doesn’t get more raw than this’ Fringe Guru ‘Remarkable...moving and powerful’ Edinburgh Guide The performance will be followed by a short presentation and post-show discussion with Dr. Alexandra Mullock, in conversation with Itai Erdal exploring issues of end-of-life care and assisted dying. Alexandra Mullock is a Lecturer in Medical Law specialising in healthcare and ethics at the University of Manchester.

ENQUIRIES: 0843 208 6000 TICKETS: SICKFESTIVAL.COM

FRI 13/03 8PM £12 / £10 CONCS THE LOWRY AGE 14+ 60 MINS

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PERFORMANCE – PRESENTED WITH CONTACT

NIRBHAYA

YAËL FARBER (INDIA / UK) On 16th December 2012 a young woman boarded a bus in Delhi heading for home. What followed, changed their lives and countless others forever. Internationally acclaimed playwright and director Yaël Farber award winning play that cracks open the cone of silence around women whose lives have been shattered by gender-based violence. With an extraordinary cast and creative team from India, Farber brings us a blistering evocation of that terrible night and the ripples of change it set in motion. Tearing away the shame that keeps the survivors silent NIRBHAYA is a voyage into a tapestry of personal testimonies. The performance is based on the performers’ real life experiences and the violent incident that shocked Delhi and the world. NIRBHAYA premiered in Edinburgh in August 2013. Out of nearly 3,000 plays, NIRBHAYA quickly become the festival’s ‘Hottest selling ticket’, according to the Sunday Guardian. It won the coveted Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award given to an outstanding Fringe production which raises awareness of human rights. It also won the Scotsman Fringe First and the Herald Angel Award for Outstanding New Play. Yaël Farber is a multiple award-winning director and playwright of international acclaim. Her productions have toured the world extensively - earning her a reputation for hard-hitting, controversial works of the highest artistic standard.

Written and Directed by: Yaël Farber Performers: Sapna Bhavnani, Priyanka Bose, Poorna Jagannathan, Sneha Jawale, Rukhsar Kabir, Japjit Kaur and Ankur Vikal Set and costume design: Oroon Das Soundscape design: Abhijeet Tambe Lighting design: Paul Lim Stage management: Triona Humphries Assistant director: Robert Jansen Production management: India Qtp Entertainment Production management: Paul Lim Producers: Assembly, Riverside Studios and Poorna Jagannathan Producer: Margaret Moll www.nirbhayatheplay.com @nirbhayatheplay

‘One of the most powerful and urgent pieces of human rights theatre ever made’ ***** The Herald This performance is BSL interpreted on 14th March. The performance on Saturday 14th will be followed by a short presentation and post-show discussion with Dr. Catherine White OBE, in conversation with the artists and performers of NIRBHAYA exploring the global issue of violence against women. Catherine White is Clinical Director at the St. Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre, Manchester.

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SAT 14/03 > SUN 15/03 8PM £15 / £10 CONCS CONTACT THEATRE AGE 16+ 95 MINS

ENQUIRIES: 0161 274 0600 TICKETS: SICKFESTIVAL.COM


Image credit: William Burdett-Coutts


LITERATURE – PRESENTED WITH DARK & STORMY

BARING THE SCARS Curated by novelist Julia Crouch, The SICK! literature strand brings together diverse panels of authors who have addressed the issues considered in each event through their writing – be it fiction, graphic novels, academic writing or memoir. Expect the discussions to be wide-ranging, encompassing personal experience, theory and imagination. Books about painful lives sell. What is it that makes us so hungry to read these stories? And what compels authors to write them? These panels include writers who have survived abuse, novelists for whom abuse surfaces as a theme, and clinicians and academics who deal with it both in writing and their daily practice. Laura Lockington (CHAIR) Novelist, broadcaster and journalist, Laura is the host of Brighton’s Bookish Supper Society in Brighton and Italy. Colm O’Gorman Psychotherapist, broadcaster and Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, Colm is the author of Beyond Belief, an account of how he successfully sued the Roman Catholic Church for the abuse he suffered as a boy at the hands of a priest. Elizabeth Haynes Internationally published crime novelist, Elizabeth’s novels are informed by her earlier career as a Police Intelligence Analyst. Her first, Into the Darkest Corner, tackles domestic abuse, her latest, Behind Closed Doors, sex trafficking. Dan Davies Journalist, author and editor with more than twenty years’ experience in the national media, Dan is the author of In Plain Sight, The Life and Lies of Jimmy Savile, the definitive account of a national treasure turned national disgrace. Una Artist, academic and comics creator, Una’s first novellength comic Becoming/Unbecoming, out in September, examines growing up as a girl in 1970’s Yorkshire within a social, political and historical context.‬

Julia Crouch Publisher: Headline www.juliacrouch.co.uk @thatjuliacrouch Laura Lockington Publisher: Endeavour Press www.bookishsuppersociety. wordpress.com @magpie444 Colm O’Gorman Publisher: Hodder www.colmogorman.com @Colmogorman Elizabeth Haynes Publisher: Myriad Editions / Sphere www.elizabeth-haynes.com @Elizjhaynes Dan Davies Publisher: Quercus @MrDanDavies Una Publisher: Myriad Editions www.unacomics.wordpress.com @unacomics Dark & Stormy is Brighton’s own crime festival, serving up a wicked selection of book, film, music & theatre events in partnership with Brighton Festival and Picturehouse Cinemas. www.darkandstormybrighton.org @DarkStormyFest

SUN 15/03 3PM £8 / £5 CONCS INTERNATIONAL ANTHONY BURGESS FOUNDATION AGE 16+ 90 MINS

There will be a bookshop and signings after this event.

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FILM – PRESENTED WITH ST. MARY’S SEXUAL ASSAULT REFERRAL CENTRE

THE UNSPEAKABLE CRIME: RAPE GOLD STAR PRODUCTIONS (UK)

This film documentary explores rape in a way that has never been seen on British television before: from forensic medical to police investigation, court and beyond. Juliet was attacked by a stranger on New Year’s Eve, while Kellie had known and trusted her attacker for over a decade. In 2012 St. Mary’s, the UK’s leading sexual assault referral centre, allowed exclusive access, opening its doors to cameras as they supported Juliet and Kellie as well as over 1,000 other victims of rape seeking justice or attempting to move forward with their lives. Through the experiences of the victims, the specialists at St. Mary’s, Greater Manchester Police’s Serious Sexual Offences Unit and the Crown Prosecution Service, this film offers a unique and revealing perspective on rape in Britain today. St. Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) provides a comprehensive and co-ordinated forensic, counselling and aftercare service to men, women and children living in the Greater Manchester and Cheshire area who have experienced rape or sexual assault, whether this has happened recently or in the past.

Producer / Directors: Sara Hardy & Blue Ryan (Gold Star Productions) Film Editor: Gwyn Jones Executive Producer: Emma Hindley Executive Producer For BBC: Clare Paterson Film programme was supported by: Film Hub South East Partners: Oska Bright and videoclub www.stmaryscentre.org www.filmhubse.org www.oskabright.co.uk www.videoclub.org.uk @MancWomensAid @pankhurstcentre @oskabright

The Centre comprises a team of experts with a wealth of knowledge and experience in advising, supporting and treating anyone who has been raped or sexually assaulted. The film documentary will be followed by an open discussion between Charlotte Batra of St. Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre in conversation with the makers of The Unspeakable Crime: Rape, Sara Hardy & Blue Ryan.

SUN 15/03 6PM £5 INTERNATIONAL ANTHONY BURGESS FOUNDATION CERTIFICATION 15 120 MINS

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Image credit: Alan Chandler


Image credit: Dex Goodman


PERFORMANCE – PREMIERE – COMMISSIONED BY SICK! FESTIVAL

CAN I START AGAIN PLEASE SUE MACLAINE (UK)

Can I Start Again Please is a plea for articulacy and a quest for comprehension. A new performance work by Sue MacLaine that is both duet and duel. Two performers, two languages, one signed and one spoken, enter a linguistic challenge to represent traumatic experience, in particular that of childhood sexual violence. Can I Start Again Please was made in response to the current landscape of revelation and disclosure. It is both personal and political. Sue MacLaine is a theatre maker, performer, writer and director. Sue is also a qualified British Sign Language/ English interpreter specialising in performance interpreting. Can I Start Again Please is designed to be experienced equally by hearing audiences and those whose first or preferred language is British Sign Language, without the mediation of an interpreter. Previous works by Sue Maclaine include Still Life: An Audience with Henrietta Moraes and The Sid Lester Village Hall/Christmas Special with Emma Kilbey. She has collaborated with Tim Crouch and Andy Smith performing in what happens to hope at the end of the evening. In 2013 she won the Wooda Arts Award enabling the research and development of themes contained within Can I Start Again Please. Nadia Nadarajah is an actor performing regularly with Deafinitely Theatre Company, most recently as Hippolyta/ Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Globe Theatre. Nadia is fluent in five sign languages and three written. This performance is suitable for Deaf and hard of hearing. The performance will be followed by a short presentation and post-show discussion with Prof. Kathryn Abel, in conversation with Sue Maclaine exploring the psychological impact of childhood abuse on later life experience. Kathryn Abel is lead researcher for the Centre for Women’s Mental Health Research in Manchester.

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Written by: Sue MacLaine Performers: Nadia Nadarajah and Sue MacLaine Outside eye: Jonathan Burrows Script advice: Andy Smith Project management: Zoe Manders Rehearsal interpretation: Caroline Adams The research, development and making of this work was commissioned by SICK! Festival and funded by Arts Council England through their Grants for the Arts programme, the Wooda Arts award and a Unity Theatre Trust bursary. www.suemaclaine.com @suemaclaine

MON 16/03 8PM £10 / £8 CONCS Z-ARTS AGE 16+ 70 MINS

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DEBATE

IS THERE SUCH THING AS A RATIONAL SUICIDE? Suicide is so often seen as an essentially irrational act, wrapped up with misunderstandings of mental illness and the causes of profound unhappiness. ‘If only they had just thought this, done that’, ‘If only I could have been there. I know I could have made them see it differently’: These are common and not unreasonable feelings. But perhaps for some, it is a rational decision, made with a clear head, based on a reasonable response to conditions that are unchangeable and unmanageable. What are the implications of such a perspective for how we respond to suicide when it happens? How does this affect the nature of the role society needs to play in preventing suicide? Prof. Rebecca Bennett (CHAIR) Rebecca has worked at the University of Manchester since 1993 teaching bioethics and healthcare ethics and law and developing distance and online courses in this area. She is trained in philosophy but works in the School of Law. Professor Bennett has published widely on diverse issues in bioethics with a particular focus on reproductive ethics with a focus on issues around disability and screening. Dr. Patricia Gooding Trish has been an academic at the University of Manchester, School of Psychological Sciences for 11 years. She does research into suicide and resilience to suicide, after working in memory loss due to brain damage, and the mechanisms underpinning depression. Trish focuses on developing socio-cognitive models of suicidality, and resilience to suicide, that can explain suicide regardless of psychiatric diagnosis.

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Dr Kevin Yuill Kevin is Senior Lecturer in American History. His research and teaching interests are broad and interdisciplinary. He is author of Assisted Suicide: The Liberal, Humanist Case Against Legalization. The book presents an up-to-date analysis of the direction discussion is taking, showing that atheists, libertarians, those favouring abortion rights and stemcell research should stand beside their religious compatriots in opposing legalization of assisted suicide. Dr. Alec Grant Formerly a cognitive Reader in Narrative Mental Health at the University of Brighton, he is the co-editor of Our Encounters with Suicide, a collection of unmediated narratives by ‘experts by experience’. He is widely published in the fields of ethnography, autoethnography, clinical supervision, cognitive behavioural psychotherapy, and communication and interpersonal skills. His current and developing research interests coalesce in the area of narrative inquiry. Terry Rigby Terry, Founder and Company Director of Forward For Life Limited, brings two decades of experience in the fields of mental health promotion, suicide prevention and well-being. Based in the Birmingham but working across England, Forward For Life provides support in a range of areas in a bid to reduce inequalities, promote overall quality of life and support our communities to be Suicide Safer.

TUES 17/03 7.30PM £4 (50% DONATED TO PAPYRUS) MANCHESTER MUSEUM 9() MINS

ENQUIRIES: 01273 699733 TICKETS: SICKFESTIVAL.COM

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Image credit: Manu Bloemen


PERFORMANCE – UK PREMIERE – PRESENTED WITH CONTACT

TELL ME LOVE IS REAL

ZACHARY OBERZAN (USA) In the winter of 2012, two famous American performance artists sat in anonymous hotel rooms on the West Coast, waiting to take the stage, and in a bizarre coincidence, over-dosed on the anxiety drug Xanax. One survived, one did not. The two individuals are Whitney Houston, who tragically died, and the author of this piece, who lived. Incarcerated in a psychiatric ward, the author began an arduous and experimental journey towards recovery. Longing for a hero to point the way, the ghosts of Buddy Holly, Amelia Earhart, Bruce Lee, Serge Gainsbourg, and a host of others are resurrected, but it is the words of Leonard Cohen that echo through the room: “I am not the one who loves, It’s love that chooses me.” Right here, right now, the prayerful Oberzan calls upon you, the audience, for help. He will give you all he’s got. Zachary Oberzan is a founding member of the theater collective Nature Theater of Oklahoma, based in New York City. He has performed with The Wooster Group and Richard Foreman, produced solo shows that have toured to numerous international venues and festivals, and released two albums of songs, most recently Athletes of Romance. Tell Me Love Is Real premiered in October 2013 at deSingel Antwerp and is currently touring internationally.

Produced, conceived, directed, video and performed by: Zachary Oberzan Dramaturgy, producer and manager: Nicole Schuchardt Lights, sound and video technician: David Lang Stage consultant: Eike Böttcher Costume assistant: Eric Gorsuch Co-production: deSingel Antwerp, Black Box Teater Oslo, Gessnerallee Zürich, brut Wien, BIT Teatergarasjen Bergen, Teaterhuset Avant Garden Trondheim, Kunstencentrum BUDA Kortrijk/ NEXT Arts Festival www.zacharyoberzan.com

‘Crafty, compelling, and heartfelt enough to explode any sense of cheeky irony. Oberzan means every word.’ Time Out New York ‘The performance starts quite mysteriously. It is difficult to puzzle out the varied pieces and put them together. Is this reality or fiction? Until I suddenly ended up in a dazzling theatrical performance, and I live in [Oberzan’s] own little world. Genius.’ NEXT Festival, KORTRIJK

WED 18/03 8PM £10 / £8 CONCS CONTACT THEATRE AGE 16+

The performance will be followed by a post-show presentation and discussion exploring suicide and the media.

ENQUIRIES: 0161 274 0600 TICKETS: SICKFESTIVAL.COM

70 MINS

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ONE-ON-ONE – PRESENTED WITH RISE AND MANCHESTER WOMEN’S AID

RISE LIVING LIBRARY No respecter of persons, abuse can affect anyone regardless of age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, disability, religion, income, social status or education.

Coordinator: Rachel Lappin

Meet ordinary people with extraordinary lives. Discover stories of survival.

www.manchesterwomensaid.org

The Rise Living Library brings together survivors, workers, the police and others working with or affected by abuse. Visitors ‘borrow’ volunteer books for up to 15 minutes for frank and open conversation.

Thanks to: The Pankhurst Trust and Manchester Women’s Aid @MancWomensAid @PankhurstCentre

Described as ‘beautiful, inspirational and moving’, the Rise Living Library is a chance to hear, first hand, personal experiences of abuse, the impact of violence, and about the support available. A free event – all you need is curiosity and an open mind. ‘I was just passing and didn’t have time to build up expectations. It didn’t matter. It is so inspirational and beautiful. I feel grateful people wanted to share their experiences.’ Reader 2012 ‘Exceeded my expectations as so many different people were there, very intimate and relaxed. I liked chatting one-on-one, felt every book had something engaging to say.’ Reader 2014 The Pankhurst Trust (incorporating Manchester Women’s Aid) is proud to be hosting Manchester’s first ever Rise Living Library. Supporting survivors locally for over 40 years, their Living Library will shed light on the dynamics of abuse, and the help available in the city.

THU 19/03 2PM > 5PM FREE MANCHESTER CENTRAL LIBRARY AGE 16+

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Image credit: Action Hero


PERFORMANCE – PRESENTED WITH THE WHITWORTH

SLAP TALK

ACTION HERO (UK) Inspired by the self-aggrandising of boxers at the pre-fight weigh in, Slap Talk is a verbal sparring match that is both a linguistic version of the fight itself and a reflection upon the violence present in everyday language. Speaking to each other and to the audience via a live feed from a camera to a monitor, the performers rant, insult and threaten each other in a scripted version of a pre-fight press conference crossed with a 24 hour rolling news channel. Over 6 hours, an autocue scrolls a continuous barrage of passive aggressive violence of lovers talking, the hard sell of a shopping channel, the anger of the fire and brimstone preacher, the subtle violence of middle class one-upmanship. Action Hero is the collaboration between UK artists Gemma Paintin and James Stenhouse. They make live art and performance that seeks to use audiences as collaborators and co-conspirators. Whilst exploring the epic, they create performance that is intimate, distinctive and invigorating.

Concept, Design & Direction by: Gemma Paintin & James Stenhouse (Action Hero) Developed with the support of: Caravan and BIOS, Athens Performers: Gemma Paintin and James Stenhouse Development support: The Darkroom and China Plate Produced by: Action Hero with Mel Scaffold at Theatre Bristol Associated Artists: In Between Time Members: Residence and Forest Fringe www.actionhero.org.uk @ActionHeroLive

Action Hero have toured to theatres, festivals, bars and public spaces from an old cinema in Bangkok to Shanghai Grand Theatre to a Satan’s Riders Motorcycle club house in Tasmania and a blues bar in Texas on the same stage as James Brown. They have been shortlisted for several awards and won an Austin (Texas) Critic’s Table Award in 2013. ‘ultimate discursive arena, interrogating the construction and application of dialogue and performance...intimate, engaging and unsettling work’ This is Tomorrow

THURS 19/03

‘see why this maverick company, with its engaging DIY aesthetic, is attracting so much attention’ The Guardian

FREE ADMISSION

This is a six hour long performance. Audiences are encouraged to stay for as long as they can but welcome to take breaks whenever they like.

ENQUIRIES: 0161 275 7450 TICKETS: SICKFESTIVAL.COM

3PM > 9PM THE WHITWORTH 6 HRS

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PERFORMANCE – COMMISSIONED BY SICK! FESTIVAL – PRESENTED WITH THE LOWRY

FALLING IN LOVE WITH FRIDA

CAROLINE BOWDITCH (AUSTRALIA / UK) Falling in love with Frida is an intimate and enticing performance that explores the life, loves and legacy of painter Frida Kahlo (1907-1954). It is a reclaiming of a disabled artist, a love like obsession, and an enquiry into how we shape what we are remembered for and how much can we really control others’ memories of us. It exposes many little-known facts about the infamous woman, remembered for her art. Where affinities and parallels are drawn, happy distractions are employed and a tale of ‘the great concealer’ is skillfully revealed by and through powerful yet fragile bodies. Originally from Australia, Caroline is a Glasgow-based independent disabled performance-maker, choreographer and provocateur who has been making work in the UK for 10 years. Having majored in performing arts for her education degree, Caroline retrained at the University of Melbourne and worked as a Genetic Counsellor from 1997 to 2002. She is passionate about creating performances that are accessible to audiences using clear ideas or concepts. As a result Caroline produces robust, multi-faceted and engaging work. ‘There is a profound and thought-provoking undercurrent to the mood of sensuality, sexual discoveries and self-fulfilment and that is to do with how other people perceive, or remember us. Frida never knew that 50 years after her death, Bowditch would lovingly celebrate her in a performance that is, in itself, full of memorable vitality.’ Mary Brennan, Herald Scotland

Artistic Director: Caroline Bowditch Performers: Caroline Bowditch, Welly O’Brien and Nicole Guarino BSL Interpreter: Yvonne Strain Set & Costume Design: Katherina Radeva Lighting Design: Emma Jones Stage Manager: Amy Steadman Music by: danbeats Dramaturgy: Jemima Levick Text Advisor: Luke Pell Artistic Advisor: Joan Clevillé Costume Makers: Jennie Lööf & Carys Hobbs Photography: Anthony Hopwood & Joan Clevillé Set Makers: J&B Scenery International Producer: Amanda Chinn Produced by: Dance4 Commissioned by: Dance4 and SICK! Festival. Supported by: Creative Scotland, Made in Scotland, Arts Council England, Fundays, The Arches and CCA www.carolinebowditch.com www.fallinginlovewithfrida. wordpress.com @falling-in-love-with-frida

FRI 20/03 8PM £12 / £10 CONCS THE LOWRY AGE 14+ 55 MINS

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Image credit: Anthony Hopwood

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Image credit: Christopher Hewitt


PERFORMANCE – UK PREMIERE - PRESENTED WITH CONTACT

WOE

EDIT KALDOR (NETHERLANDS) Wednesday’s child is full of woe, Thursday’s child has far to go… Three teenagers want to talk about something they have no words for. They lead each spectator through memories of his or her own youth, but gradually the usual images of childhood are replaced by images connected to the experience of neglect and abuse. Scientific representations of what happens in the body and the brain during abuse are woven in with subjective experiences, fantasies and dreams. How close can you come to the experience of another person? Can we ever really understand? Edit Kaldor combines conceptually strong forms rarely seen in theatre with a personal approach to profound issues of life and death. Her pieces convey the inner experience, the emotional and thought processes of often marginal or isolated individuals in today’s hectic world. Kaldor mixes documentary and fictional elements in her work. She works mostly with non professional performers and often integrates in her work the use of digital media in a sophisticated but straightforward way. ‘Intelligent experiential theatre that drills to the deepest layers of memory. Thanks to the ingenious ways of communication used in the performance, where the words fall short, a restless discomfort is left.’ Ludo Dosogne, cobra.be The performance will be followed by a short presentation and post-show discussion with Prof. Kathryn Abel, in conversation with Edit Kaldor and the performers of Woe exploring the nuerological and psychological impact of abuse on adolescence and development. Kathryn Abel is lead researcher for the Centre for Women’s Mental Health Research in Manchester.

Concept and directed by: Edit Kaldor Performers: Tirza Gevers, Kobbe Koopman, David de Lange Text by: Edit Kaldor, Karmenlara Ely and the performers Artistic assistant: Annefleur Schep Dramaturgical advice: Camilla Eeg-Tverbakk, Nicola Unger Light and technique: Jan Fedinger, Ingeborg Slaats Hardware/software advice: Tony Schuite Produced by: Stichting Kata / Edit Kaldor Co-produced by: Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin, Teatro Maria Matos, Lisbon and STUK, Leuven Supported by: Dutch Performing Arts Fund, Amsterdam Arts Fund and SNS Reaal Fund www.editkaldor.com

SAT 21/03 8PM £10 / £8 CONCS CONTACT THEATRE AGE 14+ 70 MINS

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LITERATURE – PRESENTED WITH DARK & STORMY

IS IT CATCHING? Curated by novelist Julia Crouch, The SICK! literature strand brings together diverse panels of authors who have addressed the issues considered in each event through their writing – be it fiction, graphic novels, academic writing or memoir. Expect the discussions to be wide-ranging, encompassing personal experience, theory and imagination. In 1974 the sociologist David Phillips coined the term The Werther Effect, after the hero of a novel by Goethe supposedly inspired copycat suicides. Can talking about suicide really result in contagion? These panels bring together academics, writers who work with people suffering from depression, novelists who deal with the subject, and those who write about the subject from the point of view of the depressed. Julia Crouch (CHAIR) Novelist, journalist, teacher and founder of Brighton’s Dark & Stormy Festival, Julia has a special interest in narrative medicine. Ian Williams GP, comics artist, printmaker and writer. His graphic novel The Bad Doctor centres on Dr. Iwan James, a rural, OCDsuffering GP in need of more than a little care himself. Mark A Radcliffe Former psychiatric nurse and senior lecturer at the University of Brighton School of Nursing, Mark’s novel Stranger than Kindness centres on the experience of a psychiatric nurse and the after-effects of suicide. Darryl Cunningham British author and cartoonist. His graphic novel Psychiatric Tales was partly inspired by his years spent working as a health care assistant on an acute psychiatric ward, as well as his own experience with depression. There will be a bookshop and signings after this event.

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Julia Crouch Publisher: Headline www.juliacrouch.co.uk @thatjuliacrouch Ian Williams Publisher: Myriad Editions www.graphicmedicine.org @TheBadDr Mark A Radcliffe Publisher: Bluemoose Books @markacradcliffe Darryl Cunningham Publisher: Myriad Editions www.darryl-cunningham. blogspot.co.uk @AcmeDarryl Dark & Stormy is Brighton’s own crime festival, serving up a wicked selection of book, film, music & theatre events in partnership with Brighton Festival and Picturehouse Cinemas. www.darkandstormybrighton.org @DarkStormyFest

SUN 22/03 3PM £8 / £5 CONCS INTERNATIONAL ANTHONY BURGESS FOUNDATION AGE 16+ 90 MINS

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Image credit: Drake Avenue Pictures


FILM - PRESENTED WITH VIDEOCLUB

THE BRIDGE ERIC STEEL

The Golden Gate Bridge is an iconic structure. An engineering masterpiece. A triumph of human ingenuity and muscle over the elements. A symbol of San Francisco, the West, freedom – and something more, something almost spiritual but impossible to describe.

Directed, produced and written by: Eric Steel

More people choose to end their lives at the Golden Gate Bridge than anywhere else in the world. The sheer number of deaths there is shocking but perhaps not altogether surprising. If one wants to commit suicide, that is, there is an eerie logic in selecting a means that is almost always fatal and a place that is magically, mysteriously beautiful.

Edited: Sabine Krayenbühl

The director and crew spent all of 2004, an entire year, looking very carefully at the Golden Gate Bridge, running cameras for almost every daylight minute, and filming most of the two dozen suicides and a great many of the unrealized attempts. In addition, the director captured nearly 100 hours of incredibly frank, deeply personal, often heart-wrenching interviews with the families and friends of these suicides, with witnesses who were walking, biking, or diving across the bridge, or surfing, kiteboarding, or boating underneath it, and with several of the attempters themselves. THE BRIDGE offers glimpses into the darkest, and possibly most impenetrable corners of the human mind. The fates of the 24 people who died at the Golden Gate Bridge in 2004 are linked together by a 4 second fall, but their lives had been moving on a parallel tracks and similar arcs all along. THE BRIDGE is a visual and visceral journey into one of life’s gravest taboos. ‘One of the most moving and brutally honest films about suicide ever made... remarkably free of religious cant and of cozy New Age bromides’ New York Times

Music by: Alex Heffes Cinematography: Peter McCandless www.thebridge-themovie.com Film programme was supported by: Film Hub South East Partners: Oska Bright and videoclub www.filmhubse.org www.oskabright.co.uk www.videoclub.org.uk @oskabright @filmhubse

SUN 22/03 6PM £5 INTERNATIONAL ANTHONY BURGESS FOUNDATION CERTIFICATE 15 120 MINS

The film will be followed by a post-show discussion.

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PERFORMANCE - PRESENTED WITH THE LOWRY

LIPPY

DEAD CENTRE (IRELAND) Fourteen years ago in a small Irish town, four women decided to die. Over 40 days they prepared themselves for the end, destroying every trace of their existence. They left nothing behind. So this is not their story. We’ve just put words in their mouths. A haunting investigation into why we tell stories in the face of tragedy, LIPPY was widely acknowledged as the most extraordinary piece of theatre to emerge from Ireland in 2013. How do we begin to build a narrative from actions that seem so incomprehensible, when the protagonists are no longer there to tell the tale? What factors, physical, psychological and social can we turn to for illumination? Will real understanding always be beyond our reach when people take their own lives? Established in 2012 by Bush Moukarzel, Award-winning experimental theatre company Dead Centre are rapidly making a name for themselves as a compelling and innovative new voice in contemporary performance. Their first project Souvenir, was part of the 2012 Dublin Fringe Festival where it was nominated for three Fringe Awards. LIPPY work premiered at Dublin Fringe Festival 2013 where it was awarded the Irish Times Theatre Award for Best Production. LIPPY went on to play the Traverse Theatre during the Edinburgh Fringe in 2014 where it picked up a Herald Angel, Fringe First and a Total Theatre award.

Created by: Bush Moukarzel Cameo Playwright: Mark O’Halloran Direction: Bush Moukarzel & Ben Kidd Design: Andrew Clancy & Grace O’Hara Lighting: Stephen Dodd Sound & Music: Adam Welsh Performers: Joanna Banks, David Heap, Bush Moukarzel, Liv O’Donoghue, Eileen Walsh, Adam Welsh www.deadcentre.org @Dead_Centre

‘Pushes at the limits of theatre’ **** Lyn Gardner, The Guardian ‘A strange, sinister odyssey to the outskirts of human comprehension’ **** Andrzej Lukowski, Time Out This performance is BSL interpreted on 24th March. The performance on Tuesday 24th will be followed by a short presentation and post-show discussion with Clive Parkinson, in conversation with the creators and performers of LIPPY exploring the social context of suicide and its representation in the media. Clive Parkinson is is the Director of Arts for Health at Manchester Metropolitan University.

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TUE 24/03 > WED 25/03 8PM £16 / £14 CONCS INCLUDES £2 BOOKING FEE THE LOWRY AGE 14+ 70 MINS

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Image credit: Jeremy Abrahams


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COMMISSIONED ESSAYS In the development of the programme for SICK! Festival 2015, we have been lucky enough to engage with many experts who consider the themes of sex & sexuality, abuse and suicide in depth in their daily lives. What has been clear from the outset is that expertise itself comes in many forms, each of value when enriching our understanding of these complex issues. The personal experience of individuals has a vital place alongside the discourses of academia, the practice of medicine, political activism and the frontline work of those in the charity sector. What has also become clear is that the expertise that many individuals have crosses these boundaries of context and perspective. The interest and passion of many academics, the vocation of clinicians and the dedication of charity workers are frequently rooted in personal connection. Furthermore, by working daily with others touched by these issues, those interests are sustained, deepened and made more personal. In commissioning a series of essays to accompany the programme, we were keen to reflect this diversity of expertise. In this short collection you will find texts that draw on the languages of personal testimony, academic research, creative writing and political activism, but none of them can be characterised as any one of these forms. We would like to thank the writers for their remarkably thought-provoking, insightful, generous and moving work. We hope you find them equally rewarding.

Dr. Meg John Barker: Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Open University. Ellis Suzanna Slack: Ellis is an independent writer, campaigner and researcher. Sam Taylor and Claudia Miles: Sam and Claudia are Directors of Veritas, an organisation dedicated to the support and advice for domestic abuse, child protection and stalking issues. Nicola Herbert: Nicola is a survivor of abuse and campaigner for improved legal processes for victims of abuse. She is currently campaigning for a rape crisis line. Kevin Betts: Kevin Betts is a runner and mental health campaigner with a passion for goal setting and pushing himself and others beyond their expectations. Dr. Alec Grant: Formerly a cognitive Reader in Narrative Mental Health at the University of Brighton, Dr. Alec Grant is the co-editor of Our Encounters with Suicide, a collection of unmediated narratives by ‘experts by experience’.

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WHY BE NORMAL? Dr. Meg John Barker

‘I just want to be normal’. This is probably the most common phrase to be heard in sex therapy consulting rooms. I know that I’ve heard it, in some form, from many of the clients that I’ve worked with over the years. Indeed the recent NATSAL survey of British sexual attitudes and lifestyles found that 42% of men and 51% of women consider themselves to have a sexual problem: to be abnormal or dysfunctional in some way when it comes to sex.

normal to want sex, that normal sexuality is a fixed attraction to a particular gender, that normal sex is penis-in-vagina sex leading to orgasm, and that it’s important to distinguish normal and abnormal kinds of sex. For each one of these I’ll mention some of the sexual communities who are ‘doing it’ differently, and I’ll make some suggestions about what we could all learn from them about alternative ways of approaching sex.

Wanting to be normal in this area is understandable. People who stray outside of what is considered to be sexually normal are still stigmatised and ridiculed and – at worst – pathologised and criminalised. For example, we may now know how common kinky fantasies are thanks to the popularity of the Fifty Shades series of books and movies, but kink practitioners can still be diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder, or legally convicted of assault, for their activities.

It’s normal to want sex

Here I want to argue that the way forward in addressing the high levels of anxiety and distress that exist around sex is not for us to try ever harder to conform to what we’re told is sexually normal. Instead we could usefully throw out our ideas of sexual normality in favour of a recognition that sex and sexuality are diverse. We could then look for other – more helpful - ways of distinguishing good and bad kinds of sex. I’m going to take you through four of the most common assumptions that people make about sex and sexuality: that it’s

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This is a big one. In a recent study that I did of sex manuals, most books insisted that it was actually essential to a person’s physical and psychological health to be sexual. They also frequently said that sex was the most important thing in a relationship: the ‘glue’ that holds it together. ‘Sexless relationships’ were seen as a failure and a cause of break-up. Also any discrepancy in the amount of desire that people in a relationship had was regarded as a problem that needed fixing (usually by learning lots of sexual positions!) However, recent research on asexual people, who don’t experience sexual attraction, has found that they are just as healthy and emotionally stable as anybody else. Also, detailed studies of long term relationships find that most couples don’t prioritise sex as the main form of intimacy, and that there are many long-lasting relationships which are happily non-sexual. When people feel pressure to be sexual in relationships they often engage in sex

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when they don’t really want, or do things that don’t actually excite them. This leads them to be even less tuned into their own desires and less keen to have sex again, in a vicious cycle. Instead of trying to fit a one-size-fits-all model of sexual desire, perhaps we could recognise that people have diverse levels of desire - on a spectrum from no desire to high levels of desire – and that this will likely fluctuate over the course of our lives. Instead of seeing a discrepancy of desire as a problem in a relationship we could regard it as inevitable that we won’t always feel the same amount, or types, of desire. We could take that as a starting point for conversations about how we’ll address our desires together and/or separately. Normal sexuality is a fixed attraction to a particular gender We tend to see sexuality as one of the key things that defines a person’s identity. Sexual orientation is a tick box on the form alongside gender, age and ethnicity. It is generally entirely defined by the gender of the people we’re attracted to. In our culture it is also often seen as binary: either you’re gay or you’re straight. However, like desire, sexuality can be more usefully understood to be on a spectrum (or many spectrums). This is how Kinsey conceptualised it in his classic studies which found that at least a third of people experienced their attraction as somewhere between totally gay or totally straight. Today many people identify as bisexual,

pansexual or queer, although they are still under-represented in the media thanks to the persistent myth that sexuality is binary. Along with this idea comes the common assumption that sexuality is fixed from the start of a person’s life all the way through to the end. Again recent research has challenged this. High numbers of people experience shifts in who they are attracted to as well as in their levels of sexual desire over time. We take it for granted that people will experience some fluidity in the age of the people they are attracted to as they, themselves, grow older. It seems that there is also fluidity in the gender of people we’re attracted to and in other aspects of sexual attraction as well. Perhaps we could usefully regard all the various aspects of our sexuality as flexible rather than fixed: our attractions, desires and fantasies, the roles we like taking in sex, and the practices we enjoy. We could then be open to the ways in which all of these things might change over time, instead of trying to have the same kind of sex at the same frequency no matter what. Normal sex is penis-in-vagina (PIV) sex leading to orgasm Next up is the idea that there is one kind of ‘real’ or ‘proper’ sex and that everything else is inferior, problematic, or just ‘foreplay’. We see this assumption in lists of sexual ‘dysfunctions’ which are all about penises that don’t get erect and vaginas that can’t get penetrated. This assumption is also there in sex advice manuals which focus

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on different positions for PIV sex rather than on all of the other things that bodies can enjoy doing together. So many people are made to feel inferior by this definition of sex: not just people in same-sex relationships, but also most women given that over two thirds of them require external clitoral stimulus in order to have an orgasm. And of course there are many men for whom PIV is not their preferred kind of sex, or is just one of many things that they enjoy. In addition to this the pressure to get erect, to be penetrated, and to have an orgasm is often exactly what makes those very things difficult. Striving to get aroused or orgasmic is a bit like trying hard to get to sleep: the more you try the further away the goal gets. Sex therapists suggest that pleasure-focused sex is a better idea than goal-focused sex: be in the moment and enjoy what you’re doing with no particular end point in mind. But this is easier said than done when all we see in the media is PIV sex leading easily to orgasm. One way forward is to increase your awareness of all of the different sexual, erotic, and sensual practices that are possible. You might look at Franklin Veaux’s map of human sexuality online, or the ‘periodic table of kink’. You may find it useful to check out erotic fiction, porn, or collections of common fantasies like Emily Dubberley’s Garden of Desires, or you could write your own fantasies and/or share them with a partner. You might create a

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‘yes, no, maybe’ list of all the activities you can think of and whether you fancy trying them; there are versions of these on the BishUK and Scarleteen websites. Think about what your sex life would be like if you made another activity your default for a month: mutual masturbation, sharing fantasies, or massage, for example. It’s important to distinguish normal (good) and abnormal (bad) kinds of sex As well as helping us to see the diversity of practices that are possible, kink communities can help us to think again about the common dividing lines that are drawn between good and bad sex. Psychiatric categorisations tend to include lists of paraphilias - abnormal kinds of sex. These generally include anything that doesn’t involve genitals as the primary concern, particularly fetishes. They also include BDSM (Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and Submission, and Sadomasochism), and enjoying watching others, or being watched, having sex. However these practices are all pretty common so it is questionable whether they should be regarded as ‘abnormal’. Also, recent research suggest that kink practitioners are just as mentally healthy as the rest of the population, if not more so. Having such things listed as paraphilias is – unfortunately - a good way of ensuring that people who enjoy them continue to feel stigmatised and bad about their desires. It’s worth remembering that homosexuality was also included on these lists till as

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recently as the 1970s (in the US) and the 1990s (by the World Health Organisation). Kinksters tend to have different lines in place to distinguish good and bad sex: Is the sex fulfilling or pleasurable to those involved? And is it consensual? If we stopped worrying so much about normal we might be able to give more thought to whether the sex that we enjoy is also enjoyable to the other people we’re doing it with, as well as to whether we’re engaging in ethical kinds of sex. We know that the rates of non-consensual and abusive sex are shockingly high, so it would be useful if we all considered more carefully questions like how we approach the people we’re interested in in a consensual manner, what assumptions we make about the sex they will and won’t want, how we can make it possible for them to say ‘no’ or ‘yes’ to sex and to be open about their desires, and how we might reduce any cultural pressures that they may feel to do certain things and not others. We could also consider how we contribute to cultural messages out there about sex, through the porn that we view, the things that we share on social networking sites, or what we tell our kids about sex, for example.

Instead we could just be with our sexuality as it is at this time, allowing it to ebb and flow, enjoying ourselves if a new crush or fantasy bubbles up, and not worrying if we have a fallow period where sex becomes less important, or not important at all. We could focus on expanding our erotic imaginations, rather than contracting them, and opening up to the diversity of possible bodies, attractions, desires and practices. Instead of trying to force ourselves to fit what we perceive to be the norm, perhaps we could put that energy into letting go of our preconceptions about sex and discovering our sexualties anew. Dr. Meg John Barker is a sex researcher and therapist who works at The Open University and studies sex advice and sexual communities. You can read their blog at www.rewriting-the-rules.com.

Conclusion My question throughout this article has been what if we stopped trying so hard to be normal? What if we didn’t define our sexuality in fixed ways and ceased attempting to maintain a consistent type of sex throughout our lives and relationships?

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SEX GRAFFITI DISABILITY SPELL Ellis Suzanna Slack

I think we have to ask what is ‘sex’ anyway.

I could tell you that when I’ve done sex work it hasn’t had very much to do with my ideas about sex. Some make a living exploring their own ideas about sex, their own versions of what sex means. My ideas about sex haven’t been very lucrative. My ideas about sex are quite agendered, extraterrestrial, they’re to do with nature and they’re transcendental, who knows. And if I try and explain, is this me fucking with you? I don’t know. I don’t think so.

in all its disguises: the act of marriage, or the need for companionship, feeling wanted, feeling beautiful, having babies with someone, raising kids, having a place to stay, a new life... I understand that these are the things that ‘sex’ is mostly tangled up with, or have been to me in my life so far. I’m suggesting that the moral crusades around sex and sex work are tied up with all of us not being able to make sense of these undiscussed-transactions. Life involves a complex variety of transactions, but this isn’t a political diatribe, this is something else, this is, perhaps, me not-fucking with you. Tenderly, I hope.

I don’t have what you might call sex anymore. I wanted to set aside time to recover from assaults, break ups, poverty, illnesses - and to work a lot of this out. For me, so much of ‘sex’ is tied up with emotions and mysteries and histories and past lives and recoveries. And it is about writing and ideas and - lately - about ableism. I’m struggling to find ways of being able to make a transaction now, to communicate what my understanding of sex might mean to you, here in this text. Like the way people try, when they fuck one another, to reach something - some sort of understanding. I’m trying to do that here.

I’m not able to do those things I have listed, but I have done, and perhaps I will do again. Right now I’m in recovery, reflecting on the ways I have and have not been able to manage many things that had nothing to do with sex: assaults, poverties, addictions, disabilities. I could call this current process an asexuality. But this word - asexuality seems to just reify this nebulous, abstract blockage of what we’re told ‘sex’ is, reinforcing and solidifying what I’m trying to let loose, to evaporate. I’m trying to give it no power, sprinkle some sort of dust over it to make it just disappear….’sex’.

I’m not able to make sense of the boomboom sex world, the hook-up and swipe, the high match, the queer sex scene, the alcohol and the drugs. And I’m not able to make much sense of transactional sex

So yes, I’m interested in able-ism, being able. What we can do. As for being available, let me tell you answering the phone to clients and describing my attributes? I tried replying with this:

My definition has nothing to do with yours. Let’s start with that. So what is it we talk about when we talk about ‘sex’?

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I’m just sharpening my claws and polishing my scales. What do I look like? I have claws, I told you, and scales. And also a tail. And hooves, and horns, and very sharp fangs. They go: Hur hur, I bet you’re fit. I feel like perhaps the fangs, the horns, the scales are nothing to do with sex, but a vanishing act over the phantom that is sex. Sex: this projection that haunted me all my life. It’s not just about the idea of what ‘sex’ is to other people, but also their idea and fetish of me. My scales and fangs vapourise their perceptions, breathe fire and spells over them, leaving me intact. But also it is, the tale of my tail and my fangs, is more effort than I was prepared to make. I’d like it to be effortless, effortless pure effort. Like the murmuration. Time, I’ve learned in my transactions, is always labour. The time it takes to write this text. The time we spend recovering from assaults, broken relationships. The time we spend on others and on ourselves. The time I mop floors, make tea for people, dress for them, and time taken for myself, is labour, the work of love. The time I spend with my sick grandmother is my labour. Listening to my children when they come home, flexing their own claws with fury about street harassment, or society’s expectations to dress like this, or get that grade at school. The time thinking about my other, long-dead, grandmother is labour, and what happened to her, which

is unspeakable and un-writeable, is labour. To listen to a potential client say ‘I had lunch with Mayor Bloomberg yesterday’ is not sex, for example, but that’s hard labour. Enduring his politics. Then he told me that my fearful proximity isn’t worth his time, all dressed-up with my fangs glinting. I exist on barely anything, these days. I got into sex work because I had been out of the ‘workplace’ for 16 years studying and then raising children. I had done a lot of jobs work-wise in that time but I hadn’t been in an office full-time sending emails and whatnot. By the time I got myself back into one of those offices, I panicked, and deleted some very important emails. Like I was performing a kind of SEX, I panicked and didn’t feel able to do it. I was passing as a nice white cisgendered lady to get the job. Also, I was at the time unpicking my ancestry - which is part-unspeakable and part-untraceable... Nobody knows quite where we came from. I was identifying myself for the first time, awkwardly and apologetically as trans* and I certainly was no lady. I have this nice voice, though. I was being paid for that voice - oh, that voice. That voice on the telephone which has earned me the princely sum, (I’ve been told, for I have also been told I am a prince), of 14p a minute for phonesex. When welfare reforms demanded me to work for nothing one Christmas in a shop as a condition of receiving my JSA, and because of enormous debts I had after a divorce, I quit

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benefits and did some escort work. But you see, it really makes me actual-mad. Escort work, I mean. So I tell myself I won’t do this again: I am ‘not able’. I would - no, make that: I could – die. I would suicide myself. That’s how bad it makes me feel: misrepresenting myself as another nice white lady. It’s more complex than a misgendering, because gender seems to rotate by default around what constitutes a cisgendered man. It’s a mis-creaturing. Let’s call it that. I got by on the phone for a company which gave me a stable and guaranteed income, albeit a stable income of 14p a minute. I got my in work benefits. We survived, my daughters and I. Sometimes I feel like we’re all stuck in school. The bad girls, the girls who were able to investigate sex with boys, while other girls didn’t. Respectability interjects: sluts and slappers and slags... I was supposedly one of those. I sat down to do an ‘O’ level and written on the exam desk was ‘I fucked Suzanna Slack’ and beneath it read ‘so did I’ ‘ and me’ ‘and me’. This was my true ‘O’ level, my ultimate level, my grade-A star-level, my levelling - I was all levelled-out by this graffiti. None of these people had had sex with me, but I obviously represented or projected something that made them think they had. I studied that graffiti instead of doing that exam or any. If I spend too long doing this unloving work that is ‘activism’, I still get catapulted right back to that feeling, as though I haven’t grown, and I’m still studying the graffiti on the desk about me. We’re black, we’re slack,

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we’re at the back of the class or the back of the school bus up to allsorts. We’re dykes. We’re ugly. We’re wrong... I don’t know. Do we just get stuck there, back in school? At the back of the school bus? The back of the class, or outside it, excluded? I don’t know, I can’t speak. I stopped speaking out. I did it a lot. I was just a postergirl of a different kind. I performed this narrative over and over again when I did: I became this poverty-stricken single parent calling for labour rights. I misgendered myself in the process. I want to stop that, here, in what I am doing with you here in this text. Aren’t we all questioning sex? Our position? Where we fit? What’s the point? Who are we? What is a woman? A man? What is sex? What is gender? What are family, exams, capitalism and labour? I don’t know. It all hangs on what we are able to do: Whether we are able to play nicely, or whether we are not. Whether we are able to fuck for money, whether we are able to refuse, whether we are able to do either or neither or both. I lose confidence and I lose ability entirely. Breakdown. I get really sick. I keep these things secret. Nobody would believe me, I can look very presentable and that voice precedes me, projections are powerful. It cannot be that I am not able. I would be able to have sex again for money if I had to, if I have to, but I’m writing right this second like my life depends on it to you right here, right now. Right this second. I want to write to save my life. Writing is

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so often muddled up with power and status and lack of consent…and cruelty. So much cruelty in what we call ‘writing’, and not the liberation it often promises. But to save my life. Now. You and I, together in this writing: are you able to gain a sense of this? Are we together, right now, when you comprehend this? This is what I would like. That would vapourise the phantoms. I get an opportunity to speak like the nice white lady at a ‘feminist event’. No. I sit back down: I have spent my thoughts because they weren’t interesting, not from yet another white face with a Home Counties voice like mine. I experimented with being the right kind of girl. Now that I am middle-aged, I can play at being the school swot, but that doesn’t fit either. I was jealous of both, the bad girl and the good girl. I was jealous of ‘girl’. I am jealous of ‘girl’ and of ‘sex’ and of ‘writer’. I am suicidal sometimes and sometimes I’m out with my wife. I was at the fireworks the other night. I tried to take my teenage daughters but of course they’re too old. We’re not the right-shaped family. They disappeared elsewhere and I sat in the cafe and families (the right shape) were all around me, clustering for chairs, asking if they could use the other one at my table. I put my hat and scarf on my opposite chair and said loudly to everyone who asked, ‘no that chair is taken, I’m just waiting for my wife’. After a while I began to see her, there, for real. My hat and my scarf on the opposite chair.

I was out at this family event, the fireworks display, with my wife. I put my hat and scarf on and went out into the dark and the rain. My teenage daughters didn’t come and find me, why would they? They had other fish to fry. These animatronic dinosaurs were prowling the perimeter of the event, one saw me stood in my pink fluffy hat and red scarf, a creature alone under a tree watching fireworks, and the dinosaur shook wet leaves all over my pink hat, and I stared up in alarm and delight, so excited. Perhaps that was sex.

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STALKING IN THE CONTEXT OF FAMILY VIOLENCE Sam Taylor and Claudia Miles on behalf of Veritas-Justice Veritas-Justice is a Community Interest company, working on the issues of stalking, domestic abuse and family justice. Our unique approach combines legal, therapeutic and academic skills to train and support individuals and organisations alike. We strongly believe that personal experience must inform professional practice so that the needs of the community are coherently and appropriately responded to. We are committed to working towards effective and meaningful partnerships that include professionals, agencies and service-users. Stalking is a devastating crime, which is very distressing for victims who are often forced to modify their lives. It is a complex crime that affects one in five women and one in ten men during their lifetimes. Women are much more likely than men to be the victims of multiple incidents of abuse generally. This includes family violence, sexual abuse and stalking (Walby, Allen 2004). Research consistently shows that more women than men have been victims of violence and abuse from an intimate partner or former partner, especially in the context of family violence. The discourse of this piece is not gender-neutral and aims to transcend traditional approaches to violence to include emotional and psychological harm, which is the essence of stalking. ‘Men of all ages and in all parts of the world are more violent than women for this reason the language here at least, is mostly gender specific because here at least politically correct would be statistically incorrect’ (De Becker, 1997).

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Stalking was made a law on 25th November 2012 after a highly successful parliamentary campaign, which was led and informed by the experiences of the survivors and their families who showed extraordinary courage and determination to ensure that future victims get the justice and protection they deserve. The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 was then amended by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (Section 2a and 4a) defining stalking as a pattern of repeated and persistent behaviour that is intrusive and engenders fear. One person becomes fixated or obsessed with another and the attention is unwanted. Stalking behaviour can be seen as unwanted communications from telephone calls to messages or intrusions that include waiting for, spying on, approaching and entering a person’s home. Additionally the stalker may make complaints to legitimate bodies or use the Internet and social media to continue their campaign. Occasionally they will make threats, damage property or use violence but even if there is no threat stalking is still a crime. Anyone can be a stalker. They come from all backgrounds and have a variety of motivations. They do not constitute one type. What is true of stalkers is that they will invest a significant amount of time and effort to their campaigns, which could last for years.The new wave of social media communications can facilitate these devastating campaigns with easy access to social media where stalkers may use different identities, profiles and groups to

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keep their victims under surveillance. When viewed in isolation these actions may seem unremarkable but the persistence and repetition of contact attempts gives these situations a more sinister meaning. Stalkers will often involve the victims’ wider network to upset the victim and obtain information of their day-to-day activities. Stalkers frequently present as credible and plausible, thereby manipulating many people coming into contact with them. Equally anyone is at risk of stalking!! The majority of stalkers are known to their victims either as ex-partners or acquaintances but some people are stalked by complete strangers. Many victims will experience on average of 100 incidents before they recognise it and report it as stalking. Stalking is life changing and frequently devastating to victims psychological, physical and social functioning regardless of whether or not they have been physically assaulted. Stalking rarely takes place at a distance and research shows that those stalkers who know or visit the victims’ home, workplace or other places frequented by the victim are more likely to attack them. This is particularly significant in the context of family violence as one in two of domestic stalkers will act upon a threat of seriously harming their victims. The considerable amount of information and knowledge the stalker has of the victim’s routine is a significant and strong predictor in cases of serious violence (National Stalking Helpline 2012).

A recent report from the National Stalking Advocacy service reported that 70% of victims had suffered from the affects of psychological abuse from the perpetrator. Stalking has a huge emotional impact on the victim showing that 32.7% of those experiencing stalking indicate symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (according to a recent clinical questionnaire), which in turn affects the children in the family thereby increasing the cost to the National Health Service and Child Protection Agencies. “The early stages of separation (especially the first three months) are particularly dangerous. It is important to note that a child contact dispute can indicate risk of homicide to both the partner and children” (Richards, Letchford and Stratton 2008). Our justice system is a complex one and victims have little hope of having their voice heard or the possibility of having their interests represented appropriately whilst navigating their way through the system. The recent changes to the Legal Aid sentencing and punishment of Offenders 2012 is proving highly controversial and damaging to victims who repeatedly report that police do not take their complaints seriously, that they are often disbelieved and unsupported, that prosecutions are rarely taken forward and that conviction rates and sentencing are more often than not very poor (Victims Survey 2014). The burden continues to be on the victim to drive the process and challenge the stalkers behaviour, potentially facing serious consequences when they dare to report to the police. In many cases they

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are subsequently also fighting the system. Particularly in cases of ex-intimate partners, victims suffer from secondary victimisation at the hands of the system as well as the emotional and psychological impact of their experiences. There are significant amounts of evidence to suggest that abuse and stalking continues through vexatious actions being brought by perpetrators before the family and civil courts. It has therefore become apparent that the Criminal and Civil Justice Systems are significantly disjointed, especially when assessing, responding to and addressing the risk of violence against women and their children. Poor multi-agency responses place the most vulnerable groups in our community at serious risk of suffering the devastating effects of emotional, psychological, financial and physical harm. Developments in family law and practice have consistently ignored the concerns and challenges faced by women who have been victims of Domestic Abuse and Stalking, when trying to care for their children by providing abusive men a platform to continue and sustain violence and abuse campaigns against mothers through the “manipulation of the law (stalking by proxy)” (Radford, Hester, Humphries, Woodfield, 1997.). The current campaign to criminalise domestic violence as part of our legal framework has made it evident that the law needs to be strengthened in order to address the complex behaviours women and children suffer at the hand of their

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stalkers. For example, non-physical abuse and the exercise of power and coercive control, which is an integral part of on going abuse and Stalking campaigns, is currently disregarded and tacitly condoned. Failing to recognise common patterns of stalking means that the criminal and civil justice systems cannot appropriately intervene before the abuse has escalated, thereby failing women and children and placing them at risk. Two women on average a week are murdered each week by a former or current partner. A Study of 200 women found that just 23% of women reported having experienced stalking from an ex-intimate partner since the age of sixteen. In the same study 60% of them reported having left the perpetrator because they feared that they or their children would be killed. In addition to this 76% of separated women suffered postseparation stalking (Women’s Aid, 2013) Considering the above The Enactment of the Children and Family Act 2014 will continue to ignore the concerns and challenges faced by women that have been victims of Domestic Abuse and Stalking, when trying to care for their children by providing abusive men a platform to continue and sustain their stalking and abuse campaigns against mothers through the “manipulation of the law (abuse by proxy)” (Radford, Hester, Humphries, Woodfield, 1997). Her Majesty Court and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) report showed that 46% of respondents reported that a violent parent had used contact proceedings to stalk

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his partner (Saunders with Barron 2003). Mothers and children are consistently failed by a Family Justice System that refuses to take into account the decisions made by the Criminal Justice System together with agencies’ protection plans by forcing women to trade their own safety in favour of the more rhetorical question of “what is in the best interest of the children?” There is an expectation on women to downplay the violence, sexual violence and stalking they experience so that father and child relationships can be established. The current and pervasive discourses of minimisation of victims’ experiences, mother blaming and lad culture so often displayed in media reports, tabloids and news ignores the significance of the personal experiences of women, thereby justifying the unacceptable. The important contribution of the personal narratives as a valid form of knowledge of those being victimised, disbelieved and ignored should be used as the basis to improve provision of services, policy and practice.

been given stalking specific training. Training is vital and the visible lack of investment in prosecutors, court officials, legal professionals and first line response workers training, to date, has resulted in many victims being let down and put at further risk. It is evident by the current low conviction rates, which show, that despite around 600 arrests for offences related to stalking, only 47 convictions were secured and just nine of those convicted were given custodial sentences. Training must become a day-to-day practice to ensure that stalkers are placed at the centre of the investigation, put before the courts and are given appropriate sentencing and treatment whilst a more robust understanding of the complexities of stalking is required by communities as a whole. In conclusion, it is high time that stalking is no longer trivialized and misunderstood and the voices of all of those victimised by it are equally valued, respected as the basis for improving practices and outcomes for the future generations.

One could thus argue that patriarchal structures can be identified in the way legal, political and economic structures play a role in family dynamics and justice and the general position of women as members of society. Two years on from the introduction of the law only a small amount of agencies and professionals have been trained on how to use the law and how to support victims. For example only 17% of all police officers across England and Wales have

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SURVIVING

Nicola Herbert It’ runs virulent and pernicious through every walk of life. No work place, no home is exempt. Age is no bar. It moves from baby to old age pensioner and all the years in between and gender is no safeguard. ’It’ is unspoken, frightening and invades lives crippling them not only physically but also emotionally. ‘It’ lies unspoken of and feared. ‘It’ stays with those it touches for life occupying a dark place in their soul all too often revisited to cause panic, distress, disbelief and shame. ‘It’ flaunts itself in the face of honesty, truth and self respect. ‘It’ encourages lies and deceit, taunting a mind sitting on the edge of reality and subterfuge, in some cases verging on a life lost forever, never to be regained: A place where thoughts of giving up and self doubt reign, where suicide raises its beckoning arms. If ever ‘it’ is discussed it commands the courage and bravery of those it has harmed, followed by endless questions calling into account the necessity for them to prove their honesty, their moral fibre and their integrity. To talk about ‘it’ means entering a gladiatorial arena where once again those who have suffered, suffer once more as they fight not only for a right to be heard but a desperation that they may be believed. Robbed of their soul they search for a place of peace where they may find some solace in discovering who they truly are, not what ‘it’ has made them, trying to crawl back to a normal life that most people are able to take for granted. There was beginning to these stories but often times there is no

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happy ending. This expanding spider’s web of nightmare horror is fuelled by self-blame, self-loathing and self-protection. Day to day life continues, each person appears the same, no noticeable difference you may say. The truth is they will never be the same. Indeed they are now lost in the uncertainty of who they are. Everyone’s story is different but astonishingly the same: The brutality, the control the total obliteration of a person’s mind, body and soul. A lost innocence, replaced by eyes wide open staring into a void of horror. Rape. Now starts the never ending silence. A place where the victim wrangles with right and wrong, guilt and truth, suffocating in silence rarely daring to find their voice. Rape. A word that is so abhorrent people recoil as it is spoken. Eyes fall downcast and glaze over. Features contort in questioning frowns. Arms, hands and feet shift uncomfortably. Mouths silently open and close. Brains are not able to find the words to respond, stunned into a brief suspension of time. Silence descends momentarily before chaos is unleashed together with confusion, despair and often misunderstanding. It is a chaos that envelopes all of those around them; It reaches out and begs questions to all of those who are close to them.

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The deadly consequences of one action stretches out across families and friends causing arguments and recriminations that shake the foundations of a secure world. A world now reduced to rubble and dust, debris of such huge proportions that everyone is engulfed in its’ cloud of dirt and shame. Families and friends who once stood strong and united now lie vulnerable and shattered. There is so much hope within the victim for absolution when those first words of rape have been spoken. Life stands still with all noise blocked out. The reactions and words spoken next have more impact and importance than can be truly understood. Rape is a word with such overwhelming consequences, an action that is so hard to understand that sadly often the first directed question to the victim is loaded with the need for clarification to check if they are sure of what they are saying and do they understand the grievous nature of their accusation. This inbuilt natural reaction plunges the person raped into their already subliminal and expected belief that they were right. It was their fault; they are to blame; they are dirty; they are deceitful, sinful…….. they are not worthy. The initial pain of rape, ascends to a greater level of trauma as it reinforces the very thoughts that have been haunting them in their waking and sleeping moments, that somehow this act, these consequences are their fault. These presumed reactions perpetuate the reluctance of anyone raped

to speak out. The harsh reality is that all people who have experienced rape need to tell. What they don’t need is an immediate response. It is purely the fear of repercussions, of not being believed and the chaos that will wreak havoc in their life that prevents them from vocalising something so detrimental. Their silence walks side by side with them; the crime goes undetected and the damage slowly eats away at the individual like a cancer, leaving the victim a shadow of their former self, assuming the blame and responsibility for something that is categorically not their fault. They develop and use coping strategies that will warp and shape their behaviour for their lifetime and often leave much to be desired in their future relationships, life choices and mental and physical health. We have a supportive police force skilled in their handling of sensitive cases. We have a strong Crown Prosecution Service fighting for justice and we have many varied organisations with dedicated professional staff and volunteers all of whom collaborate and deliver high quality care, advice and support for rape victims. We have people and services committed to helping rape victims and yet they are still reluctant to come forward to tell. I wonder if we aren’t missing something more fundamental about the victim from the beginning. It is time to rethink. Speaking to victims who can recount both historical and recent rape there is one thing identifiable to them

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all, the inability to tell. It is this inability that is always questioned. ‘Why didn’t you tell? What took so long?’ etc The reasons we know focus mostly on the fear of shame. Their self-blame and the thought that no one would believe them. This is a crime so stigmatised, so unspeakable and the process of finding justice so difficult to go through, it is driven underground. Telling the truth and those consequences followed by the search for justice and building a life when it is all over can be as traumatic as the original trauma. Unfortunately, the victim is rarely strong enough or well equipped to cope with what lies ahead when they dare to speak out. There must be a better way to help the victim find their voice so that they can then build their strength and their coping skills so that they can not only tackle the issues head on but to survive them and to successfully move on afterwards to a better and rewarding life to be lived with confidence, joy and self belief. In the midst of supporting unknown victims to come forward we miss the most simple thing. To tell their story is almost impossible. To hear it out loud and see the reactions are unbearable and it’s here we need to stop, think and change. Today in a climate where women and men are being persuaded into coming forward to tell their story, the question is: ‘For what reason, why?’ Is it about truth, justice? If it’s the latter it is certainly true that rape and especially historical rape is the hardest case

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to prove. All too often ‘not guilty’ verdicts are returned. Where does that leave the victim? The process of trial and deciding a verdict leaves the victim vulnerable, unsafe and petrified . All the things that they feel from being abused. So as we offer help and support for an opportunity for justice we may not realise that the first step in this direction should come after that person has told their story, on their own, from their own free will unknown. They need to see the letters form words of their story on a piece of paper, to hear their voice crack as they speak those words for the first time, in return they need to hear silence. We need to offer these people a vehicle through which they can recount their experiences with initially no reaction apart from their own. An anonymous Jackanory. For the majority of victims it is the verbalising of the event(s) that provides release from their torment. From that significant first step with no judgement, that person may choose to walk away, cleansed, never to return and there is a chance, that that person in time will be ready to face head-on all the issues in front of them coupled with a framework of support where counselling, a police presence and legal intervention can all be signposted. Together with telling their story and then seeking help through counselling many more victims are able to take a further step into the future, to seek what they think they need to heal whatever that may be. A national rape crisis number is needed, a safe place is needed, a secure place is

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needed, a solution problem solving place is needed. This place needs to have national recognition, be available to contact across every media source and offer anonymity. A place to literally ‘dump’ your rubbish and walk away or provide the opportunity to clean up the mess. This place needs to have immediate familiarity and awareness with the public. People who are raped need to know who to call and where to go. They need to be able to relieve themselves of the pressure of such a brutal secret with no judgement nor requirement of them once told. They need to have the freedom of choice and the absolute ability to tell without feeling shame, blame or pressure to be part of now public situation that they may not be prepared to handle. They want to know that those who read or listen to their first words spoken have been in their position. I am a 38 year survivor of rape. I found my voice after 36 years. In that 36th year, after harbouring a secret held close since I was 12 years old, a sequence of events happened which almost drove my story further down into the unknown, threatening to take me down with it. Somehow, maybe through maturity, being a mother and most of all being all too well aware of the many recurrent mistakes I had made in my life, the survivor in me recognised that this was my life line and I had to take it. I had to be able to look at myself in the mirror and change. To become the person I knew was buried inside me, to be free. I had a story to tell, many people do. I wish I had told it

earlier, most people do. To tell my story into a listening silence, to hear no voices, no questions, recriminations or sympathy, was the first step to freedom. You need to hear the silence to be able to take the next step. That silence provides a space in which you can accept what happened to you. It takes a while for these feelings to settle and once they have, you are stronger than you were. The worst part is over. To take the next step you need professional help to understand the many questions that have plagued you since your life was turned upside down. Help with how to evaluate your thoughts and actions and help you to start to like yourself and believe in yourself. The rest of your story unfolds at its own pace and you are well equipped to deal with the difficult times ahead that will challenge you. This new way of life is reinforced by bravery and courage replacing fear and shame. Once your story is spoken by words or letters, once breath has been drawn, once the right reply made, everything and all is possible. Most importantly becoming who you truly want to be and being free.

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OPEN LETTER TO MY DAD Kevin Betts

This is, frankly, a world I wish I never knew anything about, but it has become so bittersweet and such an integral part of who I am. There is a part of me that would love to be one of the naive; one of the people totally unaffected by suicide and completely unaware of it as a subject, a concept and a very conscious part of some of us. I’ve told my story a number of times – I try to share it and truly believe that if people hear the word ‘suicide’ enough, it will become common and accepted. Lots of us know someone, or some people, who have taken their own life; we know someone who might take their own life, or we work in an industry where suicide is a common occurrence.

Dear Dad,

I’m sorry if what I say upsets anyone – it isn’t meant to do that. This comes from the heart and is my experience of life without someone who decided to remove themselves from my future. I never find any comfort in talking about my dad’s suicide. I find it neither entertaining nor cathartic. Every time I talk about it, it tears at my heart and makes me want to cry. It makes me hurt just as much, each and every time I talk about it, because it all revolves around things I don’t want to remember. If someone listens to me and changes the way they think, and it has even the smallest effect on someone to change their opinion on suicide, then that heartache can be repeated a thousand times over. The best way, I felt, was to write my dad a letter and share it with you.

You also chose not to be here for your daughter’s wedding. I had both the honour and the dread of walking down the aisle with her. I couldn’t help but feel I shouldn’t have been there. She has two kids now – you’d love them to pieces if you’d decided not to leave us. They couldn’t not bring a smile to your face.

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When I was younger, I made you a lot of promises and told you I would do a lot of wonderful things. I told you that I would run a marathon. I told you that I would be a part of the Olympic Games. I told you that I would leave our town, go to university and get a job with a salary and a pension – a safe job! I told you that I would get married, buy a house and be very happy. I told you that I would stand up and be counted and lead people – that I would make a difference and that I would make you proud of me. I have achieved each of these things, just like I promised. But you won’t know that, because you chose not to be here.

We had tough times growing up. Looking back, I don’t think I realised back then just how tough things were. Despite the shit that was thrown at you and mum, you deflected every single bit of it past us. Not once did I feel vulnerable – you and mum bailed out our boat over and over and worked to give us the good memories I have that far override the bad times. Mostly.

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That first time you tried to kill yourself was one of the worst days of my life. It was probably worse than the day you died. The shock and horror of it all was overpowering and hit me like a truck. Thank God you failed. Thank God our family and my closest friends rallied around me. Despite my school knowing about it, despite our GP knowing about it, nobody came to help – to check on us. We lost in that lottery, because they buried their heads in the sand through not knowing how to approach the issue, or because they felt it wasn’t their job to help me at my most vulnerable time. I want that to change. I even asked for help, once. My teacher said I should go and talk to our head of year who, in turn, told me she didn’t have the time to have a one to one meeting because she was snowed under with marking exams. I don’t want that to be the case for other young people. The second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth times you tried to kill yourself were obviously really bad. But I thought every time was inevitable. That’s a hard feeling to deal with. I’m sorry for the relief I felt on the seventh and final time that you tried and succeeded in killing yourself. I couldn’t help it. Every time my phone rang my heart sank. When I was told, I realised I would never hear those words again. I’m sorry that I didn’t cry straight away. I was sad, honestly I was. But the feeling of relief that I would never hear those words again was overriding. On the train journey home that evening, I

remembered the time that you voluntarily sectioned yourself and spent 24 hours in a secure hospital. I remembered that you decided you weren’t as crazy as the other people in the unit and as such discharged yourself. I remember you walked 17 miles home in your pyjamas and slippers with your worldly belongings in your pockets. Yeah, not crazy at all. I still can’t believe that nobody followed up on that, and that not a single person from the health services thought it might be courteous to see if you were all right and ask whether you might want any help. I feel the health services wouldn’t withhold treatment from a terminally ill patient, and they’d chase them up if they missed life-saving appointments. I can’t help but believe you were terminally ill and left to just get on with it. When I got home on the night you died, I went and picked up my brother.. He was 15 at the time. I tried not to cry when I held him and promised him that we’d be OK: pretending that I was OK! “Do you think dad was thinking of us as he died”, he asked me. I hope you were. And I hope you had one last smile in you, as a result. I was a bit taken aback when an old friend saw me in the street a couple of days after and crossed the road and ran into a shop. It had never crossed my mind, but suicide appeared to be a dirty way to die. Luckily, my family and I just saw it as a way to die – we held our heads up high as a matter of fact, not because we were making a stand. I did have one distinct wobble, though.

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A friend saw I was upset the night before your funeral and said “let’s make the funeral a celebration of his life. Not a sad and miserable day”. I’m sorry, dad. I couldn’t do that. The only time I will ever celebrate somebody’s life is when that somebody chooses life. Not when they choose to end it. It’s a day that haunts me and carrying your coffin was one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. When I sought help from my tutor at uni, he said I could hand my assignments in late, if I needed, and sent me on my way. That didn’t feel enough for me – I wanted more help. After that meeting, nobody ever mentioned it to me again. You’ll like this – I went and saw a hypnotherapist to see if that would help. I had a session with him and felt obliged to pretend to be under his spell because I didn’t want to offend him. It did help, though. Because for most of the session I sat trying not to laugh at what you’d say to me if you were there, too. I started jogging, and it turned into a bit of an obsession. I realised it was often my only opportunity to be on my own with my thoughts. I realised that if I thought a lot when I ran, and I cried because I was sad about you not being here anymore, it didn’t matter because nobody would notice. When I ran, I realised that as a result of you not being here, I had more resilience than anyone else. I was more determined than anyone I knew and I had no fear: If I could deal with you deciding you didn’t want to be here anymore, I could deal with almost

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anything. When I did my first marathon and my body told me it wanted to stop after 18 miles, I refused to stop. My mind is so much stronger than the rest of me. I never felt pain like that marathon, dad. I cried afterwards. I cried on my own, for ages. Absolutely spent, doubled over in pain and deliriously uncomfortable. I now chase that pain. It makes me feel closer to you. It’s hard to explain why, but I think it’s because it’s the closest I can get myself to how I feel you were at your lowest. When I get to my lowest ebb in a race and feel like I can’t go on any more, I do go on. Because I’m not you. When everything tells me to stop, to give in and to say “no more”, I refuse to stop. I never want to feel like you did, and I can’t imagine what it must have been like to feel so alone and helpless despite having so many people there for you. It’s hard to understand why you couldn’t take a hold of one of the hands held out to help you. I’ll never understand why you felt so alone and I struggle to comprehend why you felt it necessary to take your own life. But I don’t dwell on it. What’s the point in thinking what might have been? I’ve been asked if I ever got angry at you. I’m not angry – I’m just disappointed! I’ve been asked if I ever felt you were selfish for doing it. I don’t. I’ve been asked if I regretted anything. There’s no point. I’ve also been asked how you did it, where you were found, if you left a suicide note and what that note said. Each of those people unreservedly told to stick their question up their arses. Like it matters! You’re dead – that’s it.

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Anyway, dad, let me tell you about how the world has changed since you chose to die. I write blogs and I use social networking. People read what I write and ask me to speak about my life and more importantly, about you! There are these new things around called Facebook and Twitter, by the way. But I don’t think you’d understand them because a) you’re old and b) you’re dead.

don’t know how important you’ve been in making me the man I am because you’re not here. But then would I be this man if you were? In my childhood with you, you gave me strength to deal with your death and to see through the dark enough to realise I can help to instil hope in others. To use the loss of your life as a catalyst to encourage others to see that it’s not the way to go and that there are other roads to take.

It upset me that people would not talk about suicide in everyday life. People go a bit funny when they ask how you died and I say you killed yourself. They always say they’re sorry - but sorry for asking rather than for the fact that you’re dead. I get on my soap box and challenge people to talk about it. I’ve had a few people get in touch with me and tell me they need help and they’re considering suicide. They ask me to help them and I can’t – it scares me.

I love you, dad. Don’t stop inspiring me, and I won’t stop remembering you.

I won’t stop, you know. I will plough on until suicide rates drop, until those who want help know where to get it and until we stop burying our heads in the sand and being amongst the naive! I am everything I want to be in my life and that is down to you deciding you don’t want to be here anymore. I’m making more of my life now than I ever did before because the way I see it, you can’t go back and change yesterday, but you can use yesterday to change tomorrow. I can’t bring you back to life. But I can use your death to show others that there is hope, that together we can help people to celebrate the fact that they choose life. You

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EXPLORING THE IDEA OF A RATIONAL BASIS FOR SUICIDE AND ITS SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS Alec Grant

I am an academic author and researcher of narratives of transgression, constantly engaged in writing about my own and others’ lived experiences of human misery, including suicide, in books and journal articles. I am not an ‘objective’, distanced scholar, since suicide and related issues are woven into my life. My mother committed suicide when I was a very young man, and I made two attempts on my own life in my mid-fifties, in the context of what are commonly described as ‘mental health problems’. I’ve also been privileged to get to know, to varying degrees of intimacy, many people who have, like me, attempted and survived suicide, or who have witnessed suicide, or been left to pick up the pieces following the successful suicide of a loved one. So, questions around the rational, or otherwise, basis for intending to, or actually committing suicide, and the social implications that attend this question, deeply engage me. The rational basis of anything refers to aligning one’s beliefs and behaviour with one’s reasons for believing and behaving, in a coherent way. There is no foundational authoritative, carved in stone, bottom line of rationality. There are just beliefs that there are, or that there should be or might be. Often appeals to rationality or its converse only become explicit when a person’s intention to commit suicide is made public, or when someone actually succeeds and others are left to make sense of possible reasons behind the act.

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However, at the implicit level, all of us more or less subscribe to social models of the moral foundation of rationality. We use this to justify our beliefs and behaviour in regard to everything under the sun, and this is brought into sharp focus when suicide is in the frame. In terms of the politics of living and deliberate dying, we are floating voters, sometimes putting our cross on the model within which benefiting ourselves is optimal, and at other times voting for beliefs and action that benefits the group. These two, selfish or selfless, models are not ‘either-or’ options. We can defect from one model to another, frequently. Or we can take a coalition stance in subscribing to aspects of both at once. Suicide, or the intention to commit suicide, engages both models in lots of permutations as social sense making by the actual or potential suicidal person and by others in their social field. In terms of the moral foundation of rationality, the stories told to make sense of suicide must be respected. They signify attempts to inject clarity into a social phenomenon that is always far from clear. The suicide note, for example, sometimes functions as a written attempt to seek such clarity – if not for its writer then for those who read it. It may have been written, or be read, as an act of contrition, or as a purchase ticket for forgiveness and closure – a kind of moral token of exchange in the narrative economy of life and death. The suicide note is an artefact of social history for local historians, belonging to

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everybody and nobody simultaneously. Although meeting with an often reluctant reception, it functions as a social symbol, in part about closure – a final testimony – and also as a story that is continually up for grabs as to both its real meaning and moral significance. Was uncle Joe a selfish bastard? Or was he doing some or all of us a favour? I miss you, uncle Joe. I’d no idea what you were going through. How could you do this to us? The moral basis of rationality has interesting social implications. It’s a strange paradox that in the face of suicide people talk a lot about it, and story and re-story it, whereas most of the time, when suicide’s not on the radar, it’s a forbidden subject. I have no reluctance to talk about suicide at any time. When I was in the process of editing the book, Our Encounters with Suicide, I sometimes told my colleagues about this work. Their responses were very telling: ‘that’ll make good bedtime reading, then Alec?’ ‘What a dismal topic for a book!’. I believe that essentially they wanted to shut me up as I had clearly broken a social rule around the need to avoid openly talking about the dark side of life. As a mental health academic and narrative researcher, gathering stories about people’s lived experiences of madness and suicide and other forms of human misery, I often share with them my own past experiences of deep unhappiness with life and of periods when I wanted to end it. This always seems to be mutually beneficial and permissiongiving in the interests of further disclosure

and making the hitherto public private. In stark contrast however, on the occasions when I’ve disclosed the fact of my two suicide attempts to academic colleagues to help them get a more complete context on my area of inquiry, I can see them visibly recoil. At worst, all of this points to a kind of ‘NIMBYism’ in mental health work, at both applied and academic levels, which I think mirrors its public equivalent. For health professionals and the lay person, it’s perfectly fine to discuss suicide in a distanced way, usually as indicative of mental ill health and a breach of moral rationality. But it’s definitely not okay to try it out oneself, or to share first-hand accounts about it . I think this is why mental health workers and the public generally feel more comfortable storying suicide in an abstract sense – the former group, for example, seeming generally more interested in statistical data around aspects of its occurrence, or its significance in diagnostic terms as a clincher that a person really was ‘clinically depressed’. This points to the shift from the moral to the medicalized, or more specifically psychiatrized, basis for invoking rationality as relevant in explaining suicide. Accounting for suicide in psychiatrized terms moves the terms of accounting from ‘bad’ to ‘mad’. Uncle Joe wasn’t self-centred after all. He was simply crazy. As with rationality framed in moral terms, it is of course possible to form a coalition of moral rationality and psychiatrized rationality in

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storying suicide. This is a way of increasing certainty in sense making by making sure all rational options are covered. Uncle Joe really was selfish and he really was crazy too. Uncle Joe was both mad and bad. This is captured in some ‘suicide as (moral) pathology’ stories, where the grammar of suicide often invokes signs and symptoms of presumed mental illness while being simultaneously negative and pejorative. Uncle Joe was clinically depressed (and also had insufficient reserves of reason, decency, bravery and selflessness). Summarising the above, I have argued that there is no fundamental ground of rational authority for judging and accounting for suicide. As a social phenomenon that people find difficult to talk about except in a distanced and sanitised way, there is instead a constantly shifting picture of stories made about suicide, drawing on moral and ‘sanist’ perspectives. These may be the best available ‘off the peg’ options to confer meaning on suicide, to story anger, grief and antonement, and/or to symbolise the celebration of continued living, in mainstream contemporary Western culture. But what would a more nuanced, existential rationality look like for thinking and talking about suicide in our times, where madness and social selfishness are redundant constructs? What kind of language might be employed to simply justify suicide as a reasonable choice in the context of an unbearable existence where, as Albert Camus argued in The Myth of Sisyphus,

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suicide becomes a confessional act to communicate that life was simply too much and/or that the suicidal person found life incoherent and hard to understand? Perhaps this language exists already? In preparing the manuscript of Our Encounters with Suicide, I gathered testimonies from contributors who wrote about clear political and philosophical reasons to exit from life. However, these were usually angry stories, and I wondered, and still wonder, if – separate from current debates around assisted suicide on medical grounds – there will ever come a time when it is culturally acceptable for people to say goodbye to life calmly, with minimal raging against the dying of the light by both the suicidal and those they leave behind? As I write these words though, I am caught short by a fundamental existential question which brings me back to the tension between selfish and selfless rationality, but with a different focus. Who do we want to continue to exist for? Ourselves or others? In Existential Psychotherapy, Irving Yalom argues that each of us has to engage at various points in our lives with a fundamental sense of ‘existential isolation’ – of coming to realise the emptiness and meaninglessness at the centre of our being in the world. Feeling valued by other people affirms one’s viability in life and in an important sense takes us away from this awareness of ourselves in our existential isolation. Conversely, too much of a realisation that I AM the source of all things can bring on an escalating sense of this

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isolation and the fear that accompanies it. It’s a tricky balance to maintain a kind of sanguine existential equilibrium between these two positions. Yalom argues that to live one’s life as though it was constantly dependent on the approval of others is a project that is doomed to failure. Other people will inevitably grow tired of affirming a person whose status shifts from loved to needy. Apparently, to want to stay alive, it’s wise to give up on the constant social affirmation project. But, supposing someone does this and still questions the value of continued existence to the point where they reach the conclusion that life really does not possess worth, and responds by committing suicide? Camus proposed that this constituted a final solution to a life that is experienced as absurd. He argued that the absurd is not to be found, as it were, in the person. Neither is it to be found in the world. In his terms it is best understood as that which arises as a consequence of an encounter, confrontation and apparently irresolvable disjunction between the individual and her or his world. This amounts to what some describe as world-weariness, which leads in turn to a decision to take one’s life made in the face of a world that constantly disappoints. Such a suicide, done on the grounds of existential rationality, has rather disturbing social implications for our times. Does the taboo in taking too much of an interest in suicide, except for when it is mooted or occurs, function in the service of social

control? Supposing lots of people decided they wanted to do that? Supposing it was catching? Supposing it became, as a consequence, an unexceptional part of living? And dying? Ultimately, who owns a life? I no longer have any desire to kill myself. The last few years have been good ones for me. I am in a secure marriage with a wife whom I love and who loves me. I do not over-depend on her for affirmation and, as I approach retirement, I’m increasingly secure in the belief that I have made many positive marks in the world, in spite of having screwed up lots of times along the way. I have very dear friends, great daughters, and two beautiful grandchildren. What do I feel about the idea of a rational basis for suicide and its social implications now? Well, to paraphrase Kathy Rosenfeld in Our Encounters with Suicide, I believe that while suicide may in some circumstances be understandable, moral and even selfcaring, in terms of its social effects it is probably rarely, if ever, an act of kindness. It seriously messes you up to have a loved one commit suicide, and can do so for a long time. I know this, first hand, from my own mother’s suicide in 1974. Picking up the pieces inevitably results in dropping a few of your own along the way.

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SIGN POSTING

MANCHESTER RAPE CRISIS CENTRE

LGBT YOUTH NORTH WEST LGBT Youth North West is a regional organisation that seeks to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans young people.  www.lgbtyouthnorthwest.org.uk / 07900 680725

MARIE STOPES UK Highly skilled doctors, nurses, counsellors and health care assistants provide reproductive and sexual health services through the NHS. www.mariestopes.org.uk / Request call back online

SEXUAL ADVICE ASSOCIATION Helping improve sexual health and wellbeing. www.sda.uk.net / 020 7486 7262

THE ALBERT KENNEDY TRUST

Supporting young LGBT 16-25 year olds who are made homeless or living in a hostile environment. www.akt.org.uk / 0161 228 3308

THE LESBIAN & GAY FOUNDATION New initiatives aimed at meeting the needs of LGBT people. www.lgf.org.uk / 0845 3 30 30 30

UNSEEN Disrupting and challenging human trafficking at all levels. www.unseenuk.org / Request call back online

CHILDLINE ChildLine is a private and confidential service for children and young people up to the age of nineteen. You can contact a ChildLine counsellor about anything - no problem is too big or too small. www.childline.org.uk / 0800 1111

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Manchester Rape Crisis (MRC) is a confidential support service, run by women for women and girls who have been raped or sexually abused.  www.manchesterrapecrisis.co.uk/ 0161 273 4500

MANCHESTER WOMEN’S AID Manchester Women’s Aid Domestic Abuse Service offers information, advice and support about domestic and sexual abuse/violence.  www.manchesterwomensaid.org / 0161 6607 999

MOSAC MOSAC provide a safe place for parents and carers to come following the trauma of discovering that their child or children have been abused. www.mosac.org.uk / 0800 980 1958 NAPAC NAPAC’s vision is of a society in which every adult survivor of childhood abuse in the UK is able to access the support they need, when they need it, to make a journey of recovery and heal their emotional and psychological wounds. www.napac.org.uk / 0808 801 0331

REFUGE Refuge offers a range of services which gives women and children access to professional support whatever their situation. www.refuge.org.uk / 0808 2000 247

ST. MARY’S SEXUAL ASSAULT REFERRAL CENTRE St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) provides a comprehensive and co-ordinated forensic, counselling and aftercare service to men, women and children living in the Greater Manchester and Cheshire area who have experienced rape or sexual assault. www.stmaryscentre.org / 0161 276 6515

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SURVIVORS MANCHESTER

PAPYRUS

Survivors Manchester is a survivor-led/survivorrun voluntary organisation that aims to create and facilitate a safe space for male survivors of sexual abuse and rape to work through personal and sometimes painful issues. www.survivorsmanchester.org.uk / 0161 236 2182

PAPYRUS exists to give young people hope and to prevent young suicide. www.papyrus-uk.org / 01925 572 444

WOMEN’S AID Women’s Aid is the key national charity working to end domestic violence against women and children. www.womensaid.org.uk / 0808 2000 247

WOMEN’S DOMESTIC ABUSE HELPLINE Through our Helpline services we can offer advice, information, telephone counselling and support to any woman (age 16+) who is being abused, has been abused or is in fear of being forced into marriage by someone they are having a relationship with, or have formerly had a relationship with. http://wdachoices.org.uk / 0161 636 7525

CALM - THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST LIVING MISERABLY The campaign against living miserably, or CALM, is a registered charity, which exists to prevent male suicide in the UK.    www.thecalmzone.net / 0800 585858

HEAD CULTURE Headculture is a Manchester-based charity campaigning to raise awareness about the dangers of depression and suicide in young men. www.headculture.co.uk

MAYTREE Maytree is a registered charity supporting people in suicidal crisis in a non-medical setting. www.maytree.org.uk / 020 726 3 7070

SURVIVORS OF BEREAVEMENT BY SUICIDE Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide exist to meet the needs and break the isolation experienced by those bereaved by suicide. www.uk-sobs.org.uk / 0300 111 5065

MIND Providing advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. www.mind.org.uk / 020 8519 2122 SAMARITANS SAMARITANS support anyone in distress, around the clock, through 201 branches across the UK and Republic of Ireland. www.samaritans.org / 08457 90 90 90 SANE SANE runs a national, out-of-hours mental health helpline offering specialist emotional support and information to anyone affected by mental illness, including family, friends and carers. www.sane.org.uk / 0845 767 8000 STUDENT MENTAL ILLNESS LIFELINE Helps students access the best mental illness information and support.  www.smile-online.co.uk

YOUNG MINDS Committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people. www.youngminds.org.uk / 0808 802 5544

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ADVISORY GROUPS The development of the programme for SICK! Festival 2015 would not have been possible without the phenomenal support, guidance and insight of our advisory groups. These groups, comprising academics, clinicians, public health professionals, charity workers, activists and individuals with personal experience of the issues that we wanted to address, were vital to us in identifying the most urgent issues for debate, highlighting particular sensitivities relating to the framing of these issues and their presentation, proposing potential speakers and panellists for the programme and identifying key community groups with whom we should connect. These sessions were stimulating, provocative, inspirational and extremely useful. We would like to thank the following: SEX & SEXUALITY ADVISORY GROUP : Prof. Bobbie Farsides – Chair (Brighton & Sussex Medical School), Dr. Katherine Angel (Centre for the History of Emotions, Queen Mary, University of London), Laura Clarke (Claude Nicol Centre for Sexual Health), Prof. Alexander Edmonds (School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh), Katherine Johnson (MindOut / University of Brighton), Irmgard Karl (University of Brighton), Stephen Nicholson (Brighton & Hove City Council), Vera Rodriguez, Ellis Suzanna Slack (Independent writer, campaigner and researcher), Jackie Stacey (Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Arts and Languages, University of Manchester), Prof. Rachel Thomson (University of Sussex). ABUSE ADVISORY GROUP : Dr. Bella Starling – Chair (Nowgen), Fabia Bates (Survivors Network), Charlotte Batra (St. Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre), Ian Cummins (University of Salford), Marian Foley (Manchester Metropolitan University), Chris Green (White Ribbon Campaign), Raven Kaliana (Artist and survivor). SUICIDE ADVISORY GROUP : Dr. Sarah Andersen – Chair (Future Health), Anne Bellis (Samaritans), Chris Brown (Grassroots Suicide Prevention), Dr. Ben Fincham (University of Sussex), Lisa Rodriguez (Former CEO Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust), Gillian Bendelow (University of Brighton).

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THANKS TO SICK! Festival is delivered in partnership with a huge number of people and organisations. We’d like in particular, to thank the following individuals for their amazing support. It is really very much appreciated: Alan McCarthy

Donna Close

Matt Fenton

Amanda Jones

Elizabeth Lynch

Mat Keller

Amy Sanders

Erinma Ochu

Naomi Bos

Ashley Hofman

Fran Swatton

Nicole Bradfield

Barry Priest

Gillian Bendelow

Nigel Vichi

Bella Starling

Jackie Stacey

Orla Flanagan

Bobbie Farsides

James Turnbull

Paula Murray

Brian Chapman

Jamie Watton

Peter Fell

Cath James

Jamie Wyld

Peter Jacomb

Cath Willmore

Jane McMorrow

Richard Golds

Ceri Davies

Jenny Paton

Ruth Watson

Chris Cutts

Jess Harris

Sarah Elderkin

Chris Whitfield

Julian Skyrme

Sian Farley

Claire Symonds

Julia Crouch

Siobhan Harwood

Clare Mitchison

Julie O’Neil

Steve Cowton

Chloe Barker

Kate Gambrell

Tamsin Drury

David Cahill Roots

Kristof Blom

Tom Scanlon

David Hodgkins

Leroy Philbrook

Tom Ziessen

David Micklem

Liz O’Neil

Tracy Gentles

David Parker

Liz Whitehead

Vic Shead

Dawn Prescott

Loretta Sacco

Wendy Gallagher

Dianne Smith

Marijke Vandermissen

Will Sawney

We apologise if we have missed anyone. You know who you are and we are really very grateful.

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VARIOUS PIETER AMPE / CAMPO CHRISTOPHER GREEN CONTACT YOUNG COMPANY LOIS WEAVER VARIOUS CARLO ZORATTI / LUC EISENBARTH & LAE PROD...

INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY?

SO YOU CAN FEEL

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SUPPORTERS FUNDERS

MEDIA PARTNERS .COM

ARTS PARTNERS

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EDUCATION PARTNERS BRIGHTON AND SUSSEX MEDICAL SCHOOL / BRIGHTON AND SUSSEX UNIVERSITY HOSPITALS / UNIVERSITY OF BRIGHTON / UNIVERSITY OF SUSSEX / UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER / SCHOOL OF MEDICINE (UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER)

MEDICAL/CHARITY/COMMUNITY PARTNERS CAROUSEL / MIND / WHITE RIBBON CAMPAIGN / SURVIOURS NETWORK / GRASSROOT SUICIDE PREVENTION / VERITAS / ST. MARYS SARC / RISE / HE FOR SHE/UN WOMEN / BHCC CARE COMMISSIONING GROUP / CLAUDE NICOL CENTRE FOR SEXUAL HEALTH / NOWGEN / THE SAMARITANS / SUSSEX PARTNERSHIP TRUST / LIME ART / MANCHESTER WOMEN’S AID Charity No: 1116008. Company No: 4622154


SICK! Festival Brighton / Manchester, UK The Basement, 24 Kensington Street, Brighton, BN1 4AJ, UK

SICK! FESTIVAL / 2 – 25 MARCH 2015 / MANCHESTER

FESTIVAL

FESTIVAL

+44 (0)1273 699 733 info@sickfestival.com @SICKfestival facebook.com/sickfestival www.sickfestival.com

2 – 25 MARCH 2015

Profile for SICK! Festival

SICK! Festival 2015 Manchester Programme  

SICK! Festival 2015 Manchester Programme