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The 7th World Hearing Voices Congress will take place on 6-7 November 2015 in Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain. The Congress is organised by EntreVoces – the Spanish Hearing Voices Network.

BUILDING ON OUR COMMON EXPERIENCE, BUILDING A WORLD IN COMMON

Two central ideas and a personal bet as to how to confront mental distress. Two lines that work in parallel and that enjoy intersecting every once in a while. A grouping of words that attempt to represent an infinity of meanings, as well as transmit a message in the most honest and clearest way possible. This motto isn’t a marketing tool, as we have nothing to sell, or money to be gained. It is, first and foremost, a declaration of intent.

Mental health is not a remote island living on the margins of reality. These paragraphs are written within Spain, a territory situated in Southern Europe, and currently submerged in a devastating social and economic crisis. In order to think about mental health, we must situate ourselves in a particular context, both globally and locally. If we perceive an individual’s pain as an isolated issue, we will find ourselves validating a world which we already know and in which many of us have become ill or crazy. A world in which there are private solutions being offered for collective problems; a world where each must fend for his own within this late capitalist mentality we inhabit.

We must begin by acknowledging the evident: we are immersed in scarcity. Increasingly, there are more aspects of everyday life that we, as individuals, can no longer control. This scarcity is not only material, but also emotional. It separates us and sabotages our attempts at communication. There is a direct link between the construction of neighborhoods without town squares, where neighbors can come together, and the fact that psychiatric practices have become pharmaceutical vending machines. This is a sign of our times, a time where no one listens to one another, and furthermore, where this lack of communication is deemed normal and natural. Scarcity leads us into fragility, into a position that reinforces domination and legitimizes resignation. That is how the future is dealt to us, with no way out, determining that everything will eternally stay exactly the same. And everything means everything: our diagnosis, our job, our very existence.

In order to combat this prognosis, our stance is defined by resistance. We do not accept this scenario and we construct strategies in order to escape it, or rather, dismantle it. We do not have a magic recipe, nor do we trust those who say they do. We simply believe that in a historic moment like the one we live in, it is necessary to revindicate the collective task at hand and the creation of solid and horizontal community networks. We must reinvent channels and spaces that facilitate communication, connecting psychological suffering with an individual’s life story, and sharing the need to communicate as equals. We must defend ourselves from the pharmaceutical industry’s suffocating grip and begin to articulate situations and projects where we may shake off this general impotence and where it becomes possible to think and create new realities.

Our deepest hope is that this Seventh World Hearing Voices Congress will be a part of this change. One more step amongst many in order to walk down new pathways, so that people reconnect with each other and become aware of our capacity to create knowledge and transform the world that we all hold and which is taken from us day by day. Our future and our wellness are and will be a collective task. If we do not acknowledge this, we won’t have a future worth heading towards.

The hell of living people is not something to come; if there is one, it is here already, it’s the hell we live in every day, which we form staying together. There are two ways not to suffer from it. The first comes easy to many: to accept hell and become part of it, to the point you don’t see it anymore. The second is risky and requires continuous attention and learning: to look for and recognize who and what, in the middle of hell, is not hell, and to make it last, and give it space.

Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities.

CALL FOR PAPERS

EntreVoce welcomes proposals for presentations at the Congress.  Any kind of workshop (talks, interactive workshops, more artistic presentations such as documentaries, art, theatre, music, etc.) is possible, given that diversity is the basis for building together at such a special meeting. INTERVOICE WORKSHOPS will take place in the afternoons during the Congress, on the 6th and 7th of November.

There will be a total of 20 Workshops, 10 per day (5 simultaneous groups each day).

Due to the characteristics of the rooms, the maximum capacity will be 70 people. This must be taken into account for the more artistic presentations.

The length of each workshop may not exceed 90 minutes. When calculating the time please bear in mind that interpretation will be consecutive, not simultaneous, so time must be allowed for this.

All the proposals should be sent electronically via email:  The deadline for submission of proposals is the 31st of July 2015.

Resumes/abstracts and presentations can be sent either in English or Spanish.

Please send a Word file with the following details:

  • Title of the presentation.
  • Type of presentation (Talk, Workshop, performance, etc.).
  • Author(s). If there is more than one author, the name of the authorswho will be making the presentationshould be underlined and one author should be named as the main author.
  • Abstract/Resume of the proposal, its format, content, and any other aspectsrelevant for making the presentation.
  • Short introduction of the author(s), including the contact details of the main author.
  • Audio-visualequipmentand material needed (audio, video, projector for PowerPoint presentation, etc.). Equipment and material will be provided by members of our organisation. It will help us if some participants can contribute by bringing their own.
  • Since the interpretations during the workshops will be done by volunteers, it will help us if the authors can come accompanied by people able to interpret. In this case please inform us in advance.

More information about the Congress, including information about accommodation and instructions on how to register, can be found on the EntreVoces website.

 

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