Access All Areas and Baroness Sheila Hollins invite you to HAS IT ENDED? A symposium on the institutionalisation of people with learning disabilities, London


Price: £15.00 plus booking fee


A group of young learning disabled people

Access All Areas and Baroness Sheila Hollins invite you to a symposium on the history of institutionalisation of people with learning disabilities, alongside a performance of MADHOUSE re:exit at Shoreditch Town Hall on Monday 19th March 2018, 10.30am to 9:00pm.

The symposium seeks to raise public awareness and debate on the effects that isolation and confinement has on people with learning disabilities.

It will question the ‘history’ of institutionalisation, asking whether the closure of long-stay hospitals has ended institutionalisation, or if contemporary isolation at home has similar physical and mental effects.

This event will bring together self-advocates, academics, activists, policymakers, service providers and other allies of people with learning disabilities to discuss the history of institutionalisation and the inspiration behind the creation of MADHOUSE re:exit. Speakers include Nick Llewellyn (Artistic Director of Access All Areas and Director of MADHOUSE re:exit), Baroness Sheila Hollins (Professor of the Psychiatry of Learning Disability and Member of the House of Lords), Jan Walmsley (Visiting Professor in the History of Learning Disabilities at the Open University).

Alongside the symposium will be the launch of Books Beyond Words and Access All Areas’ book, ‘Belonging’, which explores a contemporary account of social isolation using a visual story to enable people with learning disabilities to identify solutions to their situations. Following this will be an artistic response to these issues, a large-scale immersive performance called MADHOUSE re:exit.

Inspired by a refusal to be silent, and a history of being ignored, 5 learning disabled artists take us on a wondrous adventure underground. As they tear back the walls to their lives, past and present spin together in a powerful expression of what it feels like to have a learning disability today.

During the day, we hope to create a manifesto for a better future for people with learning disabilities in our communities and policies. There are three parts to the day:

In the morning there will be talks from the project partners discussing the history of institutionalisation that inspired Madhouse, secondary handicap and the isolation that people with learning disabilities face today.

In the afternoon there will lunch followed by workshops with Books Beyond Words, and a talk with Baroness Sheila Hollins. Baroness Sheila Hollins will talk about the support needed to live an ordinary life and the fundamental cultural change that we need in society to give people with learning disabilities the best life chances.
In the early evening there will be performances of Madhouse re:exit where each attendee will be allocated a performance slot.
For more information about the Madhouse project, visit our website. Lunch and refreshments provided.

Shoreditch Town Hall is fully accessible. If you have any access requirements that you would like to let us know about before the event, please click here or call 0207 613 6445.

Please book your place by Monday 5th March to be guaranteed a space as there is limited capacity.

Wheelchair access, BSL interpreted. Do let us know any access requirements.


Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old Street, London, EC1V 9LT