CritSui4 Critical Suicide Studies: Creating Worlds Worth Living In The Fourth Conference of the Critical Suicide Studies Network

Dear friends and colleagues. Given the current situation surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, we have come to the inescapable conclusion that we will need to postpone our  CritSui4 conference (June 12-13). We are super disappointed that this event cannot go ahead as planned as we had an amazing program lined up! It is our sincere hope that we’ll be able to re-schedule it for some time in 2021. For those of you who have already made your own travel arrangements, please be in touch with the hotel as soon as possible to cancel.  We will be in touch again regarding a date for next year. Do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions or concerns. Deepest apologies for any inconvenience this may cause, but these are definitely unprecedented times. Critical Suicide Studies Roundtable and Conference Organizers

You are warmly invited!

Scholars, postgraduates, social and healthcare professionals, policy advocates and community members are invited to attend the 4th Critical Suicide Studies Conference (CritSui4), held at The University of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 12-13 June.

This free, two-day event brings together people working in different sectors, and scholars and policy advocates from diverse countries and contexts to engage in a series of roundtable discussions and interactive presentations to learn across our differences and co-discover more compassionate and just approaches to understanding and responding to suicide. Seating is limited so please register early.

 What is Critical Suicide Studies?

The Critical Suicide Studies Network presents an approach to understanding, theorising and intervening in suicide from alternative perspectives. Such perspectives have sought to find renewed, more critical ways of thinking about suicide to address and respond to suicide where traditional medico-psychological approaches have failed.

 Many working within suicide research have become frustrated by the limitations of dominant pathologising and medicalised approaches to suicide research and prevention practices. Believing that suicide research is in need of an ongoing critical re-thinking of its subject matter and a broadening of it disciplinary basis, Critical Suicide Studies investigates the social, philosophic, psychological,literary and cultural practices of making sense of suicide, taking into account how suicide is shaped by history, politics, identity, culture, media and power. As an approach, it works with service providers, communities and publics to develop nuanced but useful accounts of suicide that can help build bridges across theory and practice and affected communities. More info on Critical Suicide Studies can be found at the Network’s website pages.

 Conference Themes

Organized around the broad theme of Creating Worlds Worth Living In, the conference will include roundtable discussions, brief paper presentations, and workshops, that engage with the following issues and topics:

  • Critical Suicide Studies & Ethics
  • Lived Experience of Suicide & Bereavement
  • Critical Methodologies & Theorizing
  • Indigenous Knowledges & De-Colonizing Approaches
  • Arts-Based Methodologies and Representations of Suicide
  • Applied Approaches to Critical Suicide Studies
  • Suicide and Social Justice


 Please register here before April 30, 2020 to secure your spot!

Conference Key Information

Conference Day #1 – Keynote (Vikki Reynolds–Activist, Therapist): Responding to Despair Suffering & Tragic Death with Justice-Doing, Dignity & Believed-in-Hope

Vikki’s work bridges the worlds of social justice activism and community work, bringing teachings from communities of struggle with histories of solidarity and ‘shouldering each other up’ in dark times. These communities are under attack from structural oppressions, mean spirited and cruel politics. Vikki will take a run at these reflexive questions: How can we hold onto our solidarity and our fabulous and painful histories of joint struggle against multiple oppressions including colonialism, white supremacy, legislated poverty, hetero-patriarchy, capitalism and the prison industrial complex? How can we continue to resist the viscous and professionalized construction of persons we work alongside as broken and personally responsible for their own suffering and deaths? How do we enact the analysis and justice-doing we want to create more of? How can we embrace hopeful scepticism, build solidarity and enact our collective ethics as social justice movements? When resisting oppressive systemic powers, how do we enact collective accountability, embrace groundless solidarity and infinite responsibility, and co-create an ethical stance of believed-in hope?

Conference Day #2 – Keynote (Panellists Jeffrey Ansloos, Shanna Peltier, and Youth participants from Yuusnewas and We Matter): Finding mino-bimaadiziwin: Creating conditions for a good life for and by Indigenous youth

This panel will host a conversation between Indigenous youth on approaches to suicide prevention, or rather life promotion as a practice in decolonization. Through decolonization lies a framework for Indigenous youth life promotion that implicates historical, structural, social, and political injustice. It also necessitates a perspective of intervention not traditionally employed by mental health professionals, such as economic and material reparations (e.g. giving land back). By bringing together diverse perspectives on Indigenous youth wellness, this session will offer a meaningful discussion about Indigenous youth suicide that is decolonial, youth-led, and derived from work currently happening within Indigenous communities and across kinship networks. This session aims to challenge narratives of brokenness regarding Indigenous youth and instead will highlight youth resiliency and strength. Last, this session hopes to inform wise-practices for working with Indigenous youth, in fostering mino-bimaadiziwin (“the Good Life”).

Programme–coming soon!

Book of Abstracts–coming soon!