The Icarus Project’s Best Practices for Researchers

We appreciate the interest many social researchers have expressed in learning more about our organization; and from working with some of these scholars, we have found that the following practices and intellectual commitments fit well with our mission and vision.

·  The Icarus Project does its best to maintain democratic, nonhierarchical, communal approaches in its work and seeks to work with researchers who are committed to creating a mutually beneficial relationship, sharing research findings in an easily accessible manner, participating in our events (when possible), sharing our stories ethically and representing our community to fellow scholars and lay populations.

·  Potential researchers should be familiar with the language we use to describe extreme mental states, mental distress, mad gifts, and mad pride. Using words and phrases like “mental illness” and “chronic disease” when referring to our community does not respect the linguistic/theoretical interventions and critiques we have of psychiatric paradigms for “curing” madness. We do not ask that you adopt our frameworks within your intellectual work, simply respect our language and use it in reference to how we describe ourselves.

·  Potential researchers should seek to develop long-term relationships with our community. Not only does this strengthen the quality of research, but it also allows us to be involved in the production of knowledge and to represent aspects of ourselves as we see fit.

·  Data can only be collected following explicit consent from Icarus staff and/or local groups. IRB-approved (Institute Review Board) studies are preferred, but not required.

·  All potential research participants must be informed that their engagement with research projects is voluntary and will not result in any negative repercussion should they decide not to participate or withdraw from the study. They should also be made aware about how information collected will be used and shared within academic contexts and beyond.

·  We greatly value continued dialogue throughout the research process, from start to finish. The more you can communicate with us about your project, the easier it is for us to access the proposed research and come to a consensus about how we can work with you best.

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