chapter  3
17 Pages

‘Madhouse’

Performance artists with learning disabilities sharing the history of institutions
WithSue Ledger, Jan Walmsley

This chapter focuses on the research and development phase of Madhouse. It describes how a younger generation of people with learning disabilities found out about the history of institutions for people like themselves. The chapter explains why madhouse participants feel it is important for people with learning disabilities to have the opportunity to reconnect with this aspect of their cultural heritage and to play a leading part in curating and sharing it. The voices of people with learning disabilities who directly experienced institutional care are often overlooked in the telling of social history. Learning about the long-stay hospitals inspired participants to curate a museum exhibition to increase awareness of the hidden history. The museum evaluation showed that sharing of institutional history can provide a platform to raise public awareness and promote public engagement with people with learning disabilities.