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Why I Fight, or Team Wristband

Detail from portrait by Rives Wiley.

“Why I Fight, or Team Wristband,” a short film adaptation of the 2019 Michigan Quarterly Review story by James Munro Leaf, dramatizes the perils of being defined by a mental illness and the complex and varied reactions of patients in the psychiatric system. It probes the presumption of labels and the complex dynamics of power. Directed, edited and adapted by Andy Kirshner and Gillian Eaton, the film features a diverse cast and crew of faculty and students from U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance and U-M College of Literature, Science and the Arts, including Professor Malcolm Tulip. Read Malcolm Tulip's interview with Michigan Quarterly Review about Why I Fight.

Through collaboration with the U-M Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Program and other university units, the film premiered on January 14, 2022. A panel on mental illness and the arts expanded on themes in “Why I Fight, or Team Wristband” and invited conversation with audience members. The panel included individuals who live with mental illness; U-M faculty experts in related fields; and practitioners in the arts. The discussion also explored the role of creativity in healing and mental wellness. Dr. Melvin McInnis, Director of the Prechter Program, and other U-M mental health experts, moderated the panel.

Check out this short video exploring mental health obstacles that U-M students face with the healing power of the arts, created in 2019 by Sophia Liu and Kelly Zhu under the guidance of Liz Goodenough:



Why I Fight events are for those who want to 

  • ask questions about research and treatments for mental illness
  • explore the relationship between mental illness and the impact of the arts in healing
  • support family members, friends, and students with mental illness
  • prevent suicide among young adults
  • shift the legal system towards more humane interventions

Our partners are:

  • Residential College
  • School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD)
  • Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Program
  • Michigan Quarterly Review

Sponsors contributing $1,000 or more are (as of 12/03/21):

  • Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT)
  • Center for World Performance Studies (CWPS)
  • College of Literature, Science and the Arts (LSA) Dean's Office
  • Department of Psychology, LSA
  • Division of Student Life
  • Honors Program, LSA
  • MCubed
  • Michigan Medicine
  • Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (ODEI)
  • Office of the Associate Dean for Social Sciences, LSA
  • Office of the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education, LSA
  • Rackham Graduate School
  • Sally and Ian Bund
  • Sarah and Sandy Wiener
  • School of Social Work
  • Stephanie Wenner Warburg
  • U-M Office of Research (UMOR)

Sponsors contributing up to $1,000 are (as of 3/6/20):

  • ArtsEngine
  • David and Karen Ufer
  • English Language Institute (ELI), LSA
  • Global Scholars Program (GSP), LSA
  • Health Sciences Scholars Program, LSA
  • Institute for the Humanities
  • Lloyd Scholars for Writing and the Arts, LSA
  • Nathaniel G. Butler
  • School of Nursing
  • University Housing