Summer School 2019

All Change Please

The 2019 Autonomy Summer School took place on 11th, 12th and 13th July at
Wivenhoe House Hotel, University of Essex, Colchester Campus.

The Venue

Wivenhoe House Hotel
University of Essex
Colchester Campus

About Summer School 2019

This year, the care sector is facing unprecedented change: In the UK, Parliament is considering the Mental Capacity Act Amendment Bill; the Wessely Review has recommended changes to the Mental Health Act; and NICE has released new guidelines in relation to decision-making and mental capacity. In France, amendments to Civil Code 414 have been proposed. In Peru, guardianship has been abolished. The Editorial of the most recent issue of World Psychiatry proposes that the CRPD itself be amended. As such, change itself will be one of our central themes. We will be exploring the complex ways in which legal change interacts with social, political, and clinical change, and will be considering a variety of ways of theorising these changes.  Are we in the midst of the kind of “paradigm shift” that Thomas Kuhn famously described?  Can Foucault’s concept of an “episteme” help us understand the changes that are underway?  Does his later conception of “acceptability” have something to contribute?   Or do we perhaps need to develop entirely new ways of theorising the kinds of change that would be required in order fully to embed modern human rights standards within the institutions and practices of care.

Why attend the Essex Autonomy Project Summer School?

A particular strength of our Summer School is its dual theoretical and practical focus. Associated with the Human Rights Centre at the University of Essex, we are at the forefront of providing a robust research basis for the movement to promote the autonomy of vulnerable persons. Our Summer Schools have been providing training and a debate platform for professionals and academics involved in mental health work since 2010. Professor Wayne Martin and his team have experience providing training to judges, mental health workers and civil servants working in this area.


Lucy Series (Cardiff University)
Alex Ruck Keene (39 Essex Chambers)
Benoît Eyraud (Max Weber Centre, Université Lyon)
Renato Constantino Caycho (Pontifica Universidad Católica del Peru)
Beatrice Han-Pile (Philosophy at Essex)
Penelope Brown (IoPPN, Kings College London)
Wayne Martin (EAP)
Matt Burch (EAP)

About the Autonomy Project

The Essex Autonomy Project is a research and public policy initiative, based at the University of Essex, and investigating the ideal of self-determination (autonomy) in the context of care (health care, social care, eldercare, psychiatric care, etc.)

Led by Professor of Philosophy, Wayne Martin, it involves extensive intramural and extramural collaboration with jurists, clinicians, service users, activists, civil servants, and policy makers. It is affiliated with the award-winning Essex Human Rights Centre.