AE O'Donnell (PhD student)

Thesis title: Learning to challenge epistemic injustice: collective advocacy and mental health law reform in Scotland


My part-time PhD will look at informal education in the mental health survivor/service user movement in Scotland. I am particularly interested in how the survivor/service user movement challenges epistemic injustice by their engagement with mental health policy processes.

I have been involved in the mental health survivor/service user movement (also known as collective advocacy) in Scotland for over 25 years. I have been a member of collective advocacy groups, I’ve been on the board of two independent advocacy organisations and I have worked for CAPS Independent Advocacy from 2016-2022.


O’Donnell, A and Maclean, K (2019). Reclaiming agency through Oor Mad History. in Gijbels, H., Sapouna, L., and Sidley,G. (eds.). (2019) Inside out and outside in: alternatives to mainstream mental health services, PCCS books

O’Donnell, A, Sapouna, L, and Brosnan, L. (2019). Storytelling: An Act of Resistance or a Commodity? In, Costa, L., and Voronka, J. (eds.). (2019). Introduction: Disordering social inclusion: Ethics, critiques, collaborations, futurities. (Special Issue VI) Journal of ethics in mental health. Open Vol. 10. Retrievable from:

Sapouna, L., & O’Donnell, A. (2017). ‘Madness’ and activism in Ireland and Scotland, a dialogue. Community Development Journal, 52(3), 524-534.

O’Donnell, A. and Shaw, M. (2016) Resilience and Resistance on the Road to Recovery in Mental Health, Concept 7(1)

O’Donnell, A. (2010). 'Oor Mad History: Community history as a way of revitalising mental health collective advocacy' in Emejulu, A & Shaw, M 2010, Community Empowerment: Critical Perspectives from Scotland. Community Development Journal, vol. Glasgow Papers, Oxford University Press.

Research interests: Mental health survivor/service user activism; Mad Studies; Community Education; Community Development; Independent Collective Advocacy; Epistemic Injustice; Social Movement Learning; Critical Pedadogy; Disability Studies


University of Edinburgh         (2006-07)    M.Sc. Community Education - Distinction

Responsibilities & affiliations

Lecturer, MSc Mad Studies, Queen Margaret University

Member of Editorial Board for Concept: The Journal of Contemporary Community Education Practice Theory

Member of the Editorial Board for the Community Development Journal

Registered member of the Community Learning Development Standards Council Scotland