Hearing (Our) Voices describes two innovative participatory action research projects - one on communication with medical professionals, the other on housing - carried out by a group of people diagnosed with schizophrenia under the guidance of Professor Barbara Schneider. Participants designed the research, conducted interviews and focus groups, participated in data analysis, and disseminated research results through a number of innovative strategies including theatre performances, a documentary film, a graphic novel, and a travelling exhibit. Emerging from these projects is the central and significant finding that people diagnosed with schizophrenia are caught between their dependence on care and their longing for independent lives. The research presented in Hearing (Our) Voices points to a way to resolve this paradox and transform lives through the inclusion of people diagnosed with schizophrenia in research, in decision-making about their own treatment and housing, and in public discourse about schizophrenia.
Barbara Schneider is an associate professor in the Communication Studies Program at the University of Calgary.