What Makes a 'Good' Conference from a Service User Perspective

Gledhill, K
Gordon, S
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Journal Article
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Northumbria University Library

This article started with a question from one academic wearing an editor’s hat to another academic wearing an academic service user’s hat: conversing about a conference both had attended, the question asked was about the features that make conferences ‘good’ from a service user perspective. The question led to the comments that form Part II of this article. We then decided that we should combine resources and examine what the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2006 (CRPD) has to say about the matter, identifying the normative framework of rights in the context of academic conferences that belong to those who attend in the context of experiencing psychosocial/mental impairment which in interaction with attitudinal and environmental barriers cause them to experience disability; and the corresponding obligations on conference organisers and/or those who regulate the situation and so might be required to impose obligations on conference organisers. This material, in Part III, is followed by some final reflections and thoughts as to good practice.

The context in which our arguments are framed is academic conferences on mental health and mental capacity law. Although our reference to ‘service user’ is therefore limited, some of our contentions can no doubt be applied to people experiencing other forms of disability and to conferences of a different type. These wider points are not a concentration in this article, but only because it was conceived and written with a more specific focus. Naturally, we are not suggesting that persons experiencing psychosocial or intellectual disabilities will only be interested in conferences on mental health and mental capacity matters, or that people experiencing other forms of disability will not have an interest in such conferences.

International Journal of Mental Health and Capacity Law, 2017(23), 109-128. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.19164/ijmhcl.v2017i24.686
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