What is Divergence?

Divergence is a week long Festival of Madness.  It aims to provide a space for Mad people, to connect, celebrate, showcase and share the richness of their lives, to one another and also 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.


We want to invite all people whose lives are touched by Mad experiences, regardless of how they identify these experience, across culture, age, gender, basically for everyone to join in the celebrations.

What is the 2019 theme?
Divergence Objectives 2019:
Why is this important for Canterbury?

Christchurch is a city that has and continues to undergo huge stress.  The earthquakes have had a significant impact on the lives of the city’s citizens, and while the earth has for the most part stopped shaking, the impacts continue to ripple through the community.  


Provide an opportunity for Mad Folk to connect and celebrate their unique ways of being

To encourage families who have been touched by Madness to join together and celebrate their vibrancy

To showcase Mad art, culture and talents via art exhibitions, Mad poetry evenings, a variety gala and other events as scheduled

Gather Mad wisdom via a Mad Wisdom Cafe event and disseminate this to participants of the event but also to the wider community

To bring Mad Leaders to Christchurch to share with Mad folk and the wider community how leading Mad lives can be a valuable contribution to society

Provide opportunity for professionals to gain insight into the benefits of genuinely allowing for and incorporating Mad wisdom into their practice

The children of the city have lived through much stress and challenge, and there is discussion within the community of the impact that this has had on their development.  Conversations around childhood anxiety and stress disorders are on many lips. We potentially have a generation of children who, if the current paradigm of pathology remains unchallenged, will grow up to believe that the earthquakes made them broken, diseased, and non-functioning.  If a counter option to make meaning from was to become became available, these same children would be more likely to grow up seeing that they adapted in incredible ways to survive what was a stressful time in their lives. They may see that their responses were wise given the context and can be celebrated as a way of living that is valuable, understandable and vital for surviving hardship.  This creates a more supportive internal foundation for these young people to live boldly in the world.


We at Thriving Madly believe there’s an opportunity for Mad adults to start to role model to children and young people alternative narratives to that of the pathology view, to show that living outside the box does not make you deficient.  To instead show that you bring a rich and valuable colour to the world, one that is vital. We can also provide visible examples that despite mad experiences feeling overwhelming at times, there is hope, as they will pass and we can learn to live fully and to thrive in their presence or absence.  We believe that these stories are not just vital for those people post-earthquakes but also for all people experiencing trauma and stress.

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