A decade ago rapper Khari ‘Conspiracy’ Stewart was diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder, but he has rejected the label and is pursuing a spiritual path.
A fundraising and consciousness raising event on behalf of the Hearing Voices Network.
19th July 2104 at 2pm
Rio Cinema, 107 Kingsland High St,
Dalston, London E8 2PB
£5 unwaged / £7 waged – tickets available on the door
A decade ago rapper Khari “Conspiracy” Stewart was diagnosed with a psychological disorder, but he has rejected the label and is pursuing a spiritual path. For half of his life, Khari “Conspiracy” Stewart has fought a spiritual war against two demons: Anacron, an intergalactic consciousness that possesses Stewart’s mind, and the Canadian mental health system, which diagnosed him with schizophrenia over a decade ago.
Through artful documentation of Khari’s history, daily life and with insight from psychiatric experts, “Mars Project” reveals the deep complexities of mental health and the inadequacies of the current Canadian healthcare system. Khari’s diagnosis or spiritual encounters (as he refers to them) have entrenched themselves so deeply, that it will take much more than a state-imposed drug regimen or spiritual healing to vanquish his demons.
Yet Khari isn’t just a victim. His plagued mind has simultaneously debilitated him and formed the foundation for his identity as a contemporary soothsayer who spreads his message and his experiences through the recited verb-forms of his rap music.
Tormented artist, spiritual shaman, drug-addled rapper, Khari’s unique experience seeks to challenge our understanding of schizophrenia and mental health.
About The Panel
Angela Byrne is a Clinical Psychologist working for the East London NHS Trust in a service to improve access to psychological therapy for Black and minority ethnic communities in Hackney. Angela’s work is influenced by community and liberation psychology approaches and narrative therapy. Collaborating with Mellow and the 4Sight network of African and Caribbean men in Hackney, she introduced the ‘Tree of Life’, narrative therapy approach to mental health services in Hackney. This approach, which was developed by Ncazelo Ncube – a psychologist working in Southern and East Africa (Ncube, 2006), values people’s heritage and spirituality and aims to help them re-story their lives, identify their strengths and abilities, hopes and dreams, reconnect with their roots and relationships and think about the ‘storms of life’ from a position of strength. The impact of this was described in the article:
Byrne, A., Warren, A., Joof, B., Johnson, D., Casimir, L., Hinds, C., Mittee, S., Jeremy, J., Afilaka, A. & Griffiths, S. (2011). “A powerful piece of work”: African and Caribbean men talking about the ‘Tree of Life’. Context, 117, 40 – 45.
Brian Joof is an ex-service user, who has experienced and overcome mental health problems. He participated in the Trailblazer project – a collaboration between Mellow, the 4Sight network of African and Caribbean men and the BME Access service of East London NHS Trust – firstly as a participant in the ‘Tree of Life’ and then as a facilitator. He has also worked as a peer outreach worker and he now uses his experience to contribute to the training of clinical psychologists and other mental health service workers. Brian published an article on his experiences of mental health services with the title ‘There needs to be change’.
Joof, B (2009). There needs to be change. A Life in the Day: Mental Health and Social Inclusion, 13 (4), 6-7.
Jacqui Dillon is a respected speaker, writer and activist, and has lectured and published worldwide on trauma, psychosis, dissociation and recovery. Jacqui is the national Chair of the Hearing Voices Network in England, Honorary Lecturer in Clinical Psychology at the University of East London, Honorary Research Fellow in the School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health, Durham University and Visiting Research Fellow at The Centre for Community Mental Health, Birmingham City University. Jacqui is the co-editor of Living with Voices, an anthology of 50 voice hearers stories of recovery, Demedicalising Misery: Psychiatry, Psychology and the Human Condition and the 2nd Edition of Models of Madness: Psychological, Social and Biological Approaches to Psychosis. She has published numerous articles and papers, is on the editorial board of the journal Psychosis: Psychological, Social and Integrative Approaches and a foreign correspondent for Mad in America. Jacqui is also a voice hearer. See www.jacquidillon.org
Phil Thomas: After working as a full-time consultant psychiatrist in the NHS for over twenty years, Philip Thomas left clinical practice in 2004 to write. He has published over 100 scholarly papers, and works in alliance with survivors of psychiatry, service users and community groups, nationally and internationally. He is a founder member and former co-chair of the Critical Psychiatry Network. His first book, Dialectics of Schizophrenia was published by Free Association books in 1997, and he has co-authored two other books, Voices of Reason Voices of Insanity with Ivan Leudar, and most recently Postpsychiatry, with Pat Bracken. Until recently he was professor of philosophy, diversity and mental health in the University of Central Lancashire, and is now an honorary visiting professor in the Department of Social Sciences and Humanities in the University of Bradford. His new book, Psychiatry in Context: Experience, meaning & communities, will be published on 16th June 2014.