What is Divergence?

Divergence is a week-long Festival of Madness.  It aims to provide a space for Mad, Divergent and Neurodivergent people, to connect, celebrate, showcase, and share the richness of their lives, to one another and the wider community.  We want sane folk to have an opportunity to witness our diversity and have an opportunity to see what we as divergent people bring to the world.

First held in 2019, the festival combines art, performance, conversation, activity, and education to bring a celebration of Mad lives to the community.  The theme for 2019 was Mad Wisdom, 2020 brought Unboxed Lives and this year we are excited to announce this year we are focused on Reclamation.

What is the 2021 theme?

The theme of Reclamation is an invitation to reclaim the losses in our lives that have either led to or come about as a consequence of our experiences of mental distress.  Examples of these could be a loss of our identity, control of the narrative of our lives, a feeling of disconnection from culture, sovereignty over your body, to name just a few! The list of possibilities is endless!

Over the course of Divergence, we will provide opportunity to consider, discuss and take action to reclaim these elements.  This could be through dialogue over pizza, performance art on stage, creativity with your family or education via our seminar, we hope that there will be an opportunity for all.   

WHo Produces Divergence?

Thriving Madly is a lived experience community based in Christchurch.  Everyone within our community has a personal and lived experience of mental distress, difference and/or addiction.  Many of us identify as Mad, Divergent or Neurodivergent. 

Our community believes that it is through mutual connection that we will weather the storms of life, crafting wisdom and beauty along the way, that enriches not only ourselves and each other, but also the broader community. 

Divergence is one of our Lived Experience Actions: a purposeful lived experience intervention to change the stories that are told about what it means to have experienced mental distress, difference and/or addiction.  Each year we aim to bring together opportunities through a range of formats to connect with mutuality, explore our worldview, and move towards new possibilities for all in our community.