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Accepted Paper:

Curating research spaces fostering mental health recovery narratives that ‘do not fit’: Reflections from a bricolage case study  
Clara De Ruysscher (Ghent University)

Paper short abstract:

We reflect on a bricolage case study unraveling the recovery narrative of Marc, an artist with bipolar disorder. We search for ways to (co-)curate research spaces that fostering recovery stories that ‘do not fit’ with prevailing norms, in order to build more inclusive understandings of recovery.

Paper long abstract:

In recent decades, there has been a growing consensus recognizing the inherently idiosyncratic nature of mental health recovery. This has given rise to a growing patchwork of research, rooted in exploring the personal narratives of persons in recovery. However, unintendedly, this experience-based research base also gave rise to a ‘master recovery narrative’ favoring specific characteristics in terms of content, genre and structure that in turn affect the ways in which people articulate their recovery stories in research. Without questioning this dominant recovery narrative, stories that deviate from this discursive norm risk becoming suppressed and marginalized. This presentation delves into an on-going co-constructive case study centered around Marc, an artist with bipolar disorder who documented the last 20 years of his life through artwork and film, offering a unique autobiographical lens. During our bricolage research process, we unravel the narrative layers of Marc’s life and recovery story, while thinking-with Arthur Frank’s notions of narratability and unfinalizability. From a socio-narratological perspective, we aim to gain insight into how we can (co-)curate research spaces that enable recovery stories to be narratable and unfinalizable, fostering recovery articulations that ‘do not make sense’ or ‘do not fit’ with prevailing narrative norms, and thus contributing to a more inclusive understanding of mental health recovery. In this talk, I will reflect on how narratability and unfinalizability come to life in the research encounters between Marc and me, and I look forward to critically discuss the challenges we encounter with the audience.

Panel P10
Multimodality, Collaboration and Co-curation as Critical Anthropological Pedagogy
  Session 2 Thursday 27 June, 2024, -