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What is Independent Advocacy

Oor Mad History

A community history project based at CAPS

Set up in 2008, our aim is to reclaim and promote the history of activism and collective advocacy by people with mental health issues. Email Azra at for more information.


We’ve created an archive by gathering material from various people involved in collective advocacy and activism across Lothian. The archive dates back to the 1980s and includes posters, leaflets, reports, notes and other written materials as well as t-shirts, badges and postcards. It also includes oral history interviews with people involved in collective advocacy and activism, as well as allies of the movement. We are updating the archive at present. Contact us if you are interested in accessing it. 

Oral History

To date, trained volunteers to carry out over 90 oral history interviews with people involved in collective advocacy and activism, and allies. These interviews have been recorded and transcribed and added to the Oor Mad History archive. Some of the Oor Mad History archive has been lodged with the Lothian Health Services Archive for safe keeping.

First Book & Accompanying CD

Our first book was launched in 2010 and captures peoples’ memories and stories from the 1980s to 2000s. The book was created using quotes from the interviews and items from the archive. We also released a CD to accompany the first book, containing selected clips from the oral history recordings. You can read the first book here.

New book

Our new book Oor Mad History Ten Years On was published in January 2022. It looks at the history of collective advocacy and ‘mad activism’ in Lothian from 2010 to 2020. Download the book here or contact Azra on for a hard copy.

Group meetings

We are running regular sessions with people with lived experience of mental health issues to get involved with Oor Mad History. There are lots of ways to get involved with Oor Mad History. Contact us if you would like to be involved in any way.

For more information or to get involved, email Azra on or download the Oor Mad History leaflet

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