WORDS ON THE WALL: GEOFFREY REAUME IN CONVERSATION WITH RUTH RUTH
To celebrate the re-issue of his groundbreaking study, Remembrance Of Patients Past (University of Toronto Press), scholar and activist Geoffrey Reaume will conduct a walking tour of the wall surrounding the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH ) grounds at 1001 Queen St. West. He will then guide the group to the Gladstone Hotel, where he will have an on-stage conversation Ruth Ruth Stackhouse of Friendly Spike Theatre Band. Three of the installation pieces from The Story Behind The Wall, an exhibition by Workman Arts (WA) inspired by Reaume’s text, will be featured on-stage. There will be a silent auction of bricks painted by local artists. Proceeds from the auction will be donated to the Psychiatric Survivors Archives of Toronto (PSAT) for the purpose of purchasing commemorative plaques detailing the history of the 19th century patient-built wall and other aspects of unpaid patient labour. Marc Glassman, Executive Director of This Is Not A Reading Series, will host the evening event. – A TINARS event presented by University of Toronto Press, Gladstone Hotel, NOW Magazine, Torontoist.com, Take Five On CIUT, Psychiatric Survivor Archives of Toronto and Workman Arts.
Gladstone Hotel Ballroom, 1214 Queen St West, Toronto
Wed Apr 21: 8:00pm (Doors 7:30pm) $5 (Free With Book Purchase)
Silent Auction Viewing Begins 4pm, Gladstone Hotel Ballroom,
Wall Walking Tour 6pm, Main Entrance, CAMH, 1001 Queen St West
Interview / Auction 8 pm (Doors 7:30pm), Gladstone Ballroom, Gladston Hotel, 1214 Queen St. West
REMEMBRANCE OF PATIENTS PAST Historian Geoffrey Reaume remembers previously forgotten psychiatric patients in his groundbreaking study, Remembrance Of Patients Past, by examining in rich detail their daily life at the Toronto Hospital for the Insane (now called the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health – CAMH) from 1870-1940. Psychiatric patients endured abuse and could lead monotonous lives inside the asylum’s walls, yet these same women and men worked hard at unpaid institutional jobs for years and decades on end, created their own entertainment, even in some cases made their own clothes, while forming meaningful relationships with other patients and some staff.
Using first person accounts by and about patients – including letters written by inmates which were confiscated by hospital staff – Reaume weaves together a tapestry of stories about the daily lives of people confined behind brick walls that patients themselves built.
GEOFFREY REAUME is an associate professor in the Critical Disability Studies Graduate Program at York University.
RUTH RUTH STACKHOUSE is a proud member of the psychiatric survivor community. She studied theater in New York City and is currently Theatre Director of the Friendly Spike Theatre Band. A long-standing activist, she has protested against institutional confinement and the exploitation of patient labour. www.friendlyspike.ca
THE PSYCHIATRIC SURVIVOR ARCHIVES OF TORONTO (PSAT) is dedicated to ensuring that the rich history of people who have experienced the psychiatric system is preserved for our community and the wider community as a resource from which everyone can share and learn. PSAT is a grass roots organization that is run for and by psychiatric survivors and seeks to reflect the broad diversity of views that are expressed by all people with a psychiatric history however they choose to self-identify. www.
THE STORY BEHIND THE WALL is a mixed-media and cross-disciplinary project created by artists of the Workman Arts Project for Scotiabank Nuitblanche 2009. Six artists chose six former patients from the Toronto Hospital for the Insane as depicted in Geoffrey Reaume’s book Remembrance of Patients Past – Patient life at the Toronto Hospital for the Insane, 1870-1940. Their goal was to create figurative sculptures to creatively and expressively tell the stories of these individual patients from the past who have mostly been confined to a history of silence.
WORKMAN ARTS (WA) facilitates aspiring, emerging and established artists with mental illness and addiction issues to develop and refine their art form through its arts training programs, public performance/exhibit opportunities and partnering with other art organizations. As well, WA promotes a greater public understanding of mental illness and addiction through the creation, presentation and discussion of the artistic media.