Mental Health Humanities: People

a stylised drawing of a human head with plants and pens and rainbows coming out of itMental Health Humanities at Birmingham fosters transdisciplinary and cross-sectoral collaboration. We are a network of interested academics across the university building opportunities for cross-college collaborations, instigating inclusive and equitable knowledge exchange with academics both within and beyond Birmingham, and with public, service users and clinical stakeholders/partners.

Professor Hareth Al-Janabi

Professor Hareth Al-Janabi

Professor of Health Economics

Institute of Applied Health Research

Hareth is a Professor of health economics. He holds a Wellcome Trust Investigator Award (2020-2024) to research investments in mental health promotion in schools and workplaces. 

Hareth’s research interests include the measurement of wellbeing and preferences, the role of family (informal) care in the economic evaluation and decision-making, the economics of mental health, and ...

Professor Lisa Bortolotti

Professor Lisa Bortolotti

Professor of Philosophy

Department of Philosophy

I am a philosopher of the cognitive sciences, focusing on the philosophy of psychology and psychiatry. I am also interested in some issues in biomedical ethics.

I write about the limitations of human cognition and human agency, investigating faulty reasoning and irrational beliefs, delusions, confabulations, distorted memories, poor knowledge of the self, unreliable self narratives, self ...

Professor Matthew Broome

Professor Matthew Broome

Professor of Psychiatry and Youth Mental Health
Director of the Institute for Mental Health

School of Psychology

Youth Mental Health - Birmingham HeroesMatthew is an academic psychiatrist and Director of the Institute for Mental Health at the University.  He is a leader in the field of early psychosis and in the philosophy and ethics of mental health.

Dr Sarah Carr

Dr Sarah Carr

Senior Fellow in Mental Health Policy
Academic Lead for Involvement, Institute for Mental Health

Department of Social Work and Social Care

Sarah Carr is an academic with a particular interest in service user and survivor knowledge and research. She has personal experience of mental distress and mental health service use and uses this to inform all her work.

Dr Gilles de Wildt

Dr Gilles de Wildt

Senior Lecturer

Institute of Clinical Sciences

Dr Gilles de Wildt is the lead of the Intercalated BMedSc programme course “Global Health”.

Dr Melissa Dickson

Dr Melissa Dickson

Senior Lecturer in Victorian literature

Department of English Literature

My research focuses on the relationships between Victorian literature, science, medicine, and material culture. I am particularly interested in the study and depiction of the senses and in particular on new ways of listening and thinking about sound in the nineteenth century. My current work is on explorations of the body’s physiological and psychological responses to sound and music in the ...

Professor Lisa Downing

Professor Lisa Downing

Professor of French Discourses of Sexuality

Department of Modern Languages

I am Professor of French Discourses of Sexuality and a specialist in interdisciplinary sexuality and gender studies, critical theory, and the history of diagnostic and cultural concepts. My enduring research interest is in questions of exceptionality, difficulty, and (ab)normality as they are represented and understood in cultural, medical, and political fields. My most recent work has been on ...

Dr Sandhya Duggal

Research Fellow

Department of Social Work and Social Care

Dr Sandhya Duggal is a research fellow at the School of Social Policy, based in the Department of Social Work and Social Care.

Sandhya is currently a co-investigator on a project funded by the School for Social Care Research (NIHR), which aims to explore the process and impact of implementing combinations of asset/strength-based approaches within adult social care, and to assess their ...

Professor Fern Elsdon-Baker

Professor Fern Elsdon-Baker

Professor of Science, Knowledge and Belief in Society
Director Research Institute for STEMM in Culture and Society (ISTEMMiCS)

College of Arts and Law

Professor Elsdon-Baker is a transdisciplinary researcher whose work is predominantly sociological, historical, philosophical and psychological in approach. Her research interests are:

  • The perception of, and trust in, Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine (STEMM) in diverse societies and across cultures
  • Public space and cultural narratives surrounding STEMM
  • Nati ...

Dr Elliot Evans

Dr Elliot Evans

Senior Lecturer in Modern Languages

Department of Modern Languages

Dr Evans is the author of numerous publications on gender and sexuality, and has been invited to speak on these areas at academic conferences, cultural and activist events both in the UK and internationally. They are particularly engaged in debates around feminist, queer and transgender theories. 

Dr Sarah-Jane Hannah Fenton

Dr Sarah-Jane Hannah Fenton

Lecturer in Mental Health Policy

School of Social Policy

Dr Sarah-Jane Fenton is a Lecturer in Mental Health Policy at the Institute for Mental Health (IMH).

The IMH is an interdisciplinary research centre with a specific youth mental health focus that will deliver high quality internationally relevant research to inform and impact upon public policy and practice and improve the care and outcomes for people experiencing problems with their mental ...

Professor Karen Harvey

Professor Karen Harvey

Professorial Fellow and Professor of Cultural History

Department of History

My teaching focusses on the social and cultural aspects of eighteenth-century Britain. I'm particularly interested in how men and women experienced their lives in the context of wider understandings of power, gender and the body. 

Dr Matt Hayler

Dr Matt Hayler

Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Literature and Digital Cultures

Department of English Literature

I’m a senior lecturer in contemporary literature and digital cultures and co-director of the Centre for Digital Cultures in the department of English Literature.

I’m CO-I on the AHRC-funded Ambient Literature project and acted as a UK representative for the COST-funded European EREAD (evolution of reading in the age of digitisation) research network.

My research interests focus ...

Dr Vanessa Heggie

Dr Vanessa Heggie

Senior Lecturer in the History of Science and Medicine

Institute of Applied Health Research

Dr Heggie is a historian of modern science and medicine, with a particular interest in the history of nineteenth and twentieth century biomedical and life sciences. She also dabbles in the philosophy of science.

She has published books on the history of exploration and physiology, and on sports medicine, and many articles and chapters on a range of topics from Victorian nursing and public health ...

Dr Clara Humpston

Dr Clara Humpston

Research Fellow

School of Psychology

Dr Clara Humpston is a Research Fellow in Youth Mental Health Methodology at the Institute for Mental Health. Her research interests mainly focus on schizophrenia-spectrum psychoses, although she is also interested in novel therapies for affective disorders. Her research experiences span from psychopharmacology to cognitive neuropsychiatry to phenomenology, and is heavily involved with the ...

Dr Sabena Yasmin Jameel

Dr Sabena Yasmin Jameel

Senior Clinical Lecturer in Medical Professionalism
Birmingham Medical School Quality Assurance Lead
Senior Clinical Tutor for the Personal Academic Tutor

Birmingham Medical School

Dr Sabena Jameel is a Clinical Academic. She has three main portfolio roles working for the various Medical School programmes. These roles involve teaching, leadership and management, with a golden thread of professionalism running through them all. Dr Jameel is also clinical active, working in the General Practice setting.

Professor David James

Professor David James

Chair in Modern and Contemporary Literature

Department of English Literature

My research and teaching areas span twentieth- and twenty-first-century writing, with a particular focus on the history and theory of the novel. Most recently, I’ve been working on the politics and poetics of affect in contemporary fiction and life-writing, combining my interests in the history of emotions, disability studies, and narrative medicine.

Professor Dina Kiwan

Professor Dina Kiwan

Professor in Comparative Education
School International Lead, Head of Department

School of Education

Dina Kiwan is a Professor in Comparative Education, having joined the department in January 2017. Her research programme focuses on citizenship and inclusion, and is interdisciplinary and comparative in scope. Her interests centre around sociological and politico-philosophical examinations of inclusive citizenship through the lens of education policy, naturalization policy and migration policy, ...

Professor Peter Kraftl

Professor Peter Kraftl

Chair in Human Geography

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Professor Peter Kraftl is best known for his research on children’s geographies, and especially for research into the emotions, affects, materialities and practices that make up their everyday lives. He also publishes on geographies of education and architecture. He is currently an Editor of the journals Area and Children’s Geographies and was a founding member of the Geographies of ...

Dr Irina Kuznetsova

Dr Irina Kuznetsova

Senior Lecturer

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Dr Irina Kuznetsova's research expertise includes areas of migration, forced displacement, health, and critical urbanism. Her recent projects focus on social consequences of population displacement in Ukraine, Russia, Rwanda, Nigeria and Japan, including mental health and well-being, and the impact of migration on rural communities.

Dr Anna Lavis

Dr Anna Lavis

Senior Lecturer in Medical Anthropology
Honorary Senior Lecturer, Australian National University, Canberra

Institute of Applied Health Research

Anna Lavis is a Senior Lecturer in Medical Anthropology in the Social Studies in Medicine (SSiM) Team in the Institute of Applied Health Research. 

Her research focuses on developing approaches and solutions to the key 21st century challenge of mental ill-health. Collaborating across academic, policy and clinical interfaces, Anna has led qualitative and mixed-method studies funded by the ...

Professor Jeannette Littlemore

Professor Jeannette Littlemore

Professor of English Language and Applied Linguistics

Department of English Language and Linguistics

Jeannette Littlemore is a Professor of Applied Linguistics in the Department of English Language and Linguistics at the University of Birmingham. Her research focuses on figurative language and explores the facilitative and debilitative role played by metaphor and metonymy in language education and in cross-linguistic communication. She is interested in the ways in which emotional ...

Dr Karen Newbigging

Dr Karen Newbigging

Honorary Reader (Associate Professor)

Karen joined HSMC as a Senior Lecturer in Healthcare Policy and Management in November 2013. Originally qualifying as a clinical psychologist, Karen has over thirty years’ experience in the health and social care sector, including direct service provision and commissioning. For the past fifteen years Karen has been involved in research, consultancy and system development for a broad range ...

Dr James Pugh

Dr James Pugh

Lecturer in Modern History

Department of History

Social, cultural and military history of the two World Wars, including a focus on drug culture, consumption and control.

Dr Jessica Pykett

Dr Jessica Pykett

Senior Lecturer in Human Geography

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Jessica Pykett is a social and political geographer with research interests in governance, knowledge practices, policy innovation and political subjectivities.  Her research has focused on affective and emotional techniques of governance, and the influence of neuroscience and behavioural science on public policy and economic theory. Current work is on the intersections of neuroscience and ...

Dr Renate Reniers

Dr Renate Reniers

Lecturer in Psychiatry
In affiliation with the Institute for Mental Health and the Centre for Human Brain Health

Institute of Clinical Sciences

Dr Reniers is a research psychologist investigating the interplay between neurobiological, clinical and behavioural aspects of adolescent development and youth mental health. Her research involves the transition from health to disease, with a particular interest in emerging mental health problems (psychosis), neuroimaging (MRI and fMRI), social cognition (empathy, psychosocial functioning), ...

Dr Abigail Rokison-Woodall

Dr Abigail Rokison-Woodall

Senior Lecturer in Shakespeare and Theatre
Deputy Director of Institute: Education

I joined the Shakespeare Institute in 2013, having been lecturing at Cambridge University for 7 years. I began my career as a professional actor, training at LAMDA and working quite extensively in theatre. Since deciding to move into academia my main research interests have been in the field of Shakespeare in performance, in particular verse speaking, adaptation and theatre history.  I ...

Professor Max Saunders

Professor Max Saunders

Interdisciplinary Professor of Modern Literature and Culture

Department of English Literature

I work on modern literature and culture. My main areas of interest are modernism, the literature of the First World War, life writing, literary impressionism, and futurology.

  • Ford Madox Ford: A Dual Life, 2 vols (Oxford University Press, 1996)
  • Self-Impression: Life-Writing, Autobiografiction and the Forms of Modern Literature (Oxford University Press, 2010)
  • Imagined Futures: Writing, Science ...

Dr Leonard David Smith

Dr Leonard David Smith

Honorary Senior Research Fellow

Institute of Applied Health Research

Leonard Smith is a social historian with a special interest in the history of psychiatry and mental health institutions from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries. His research has focussed primarily on England and the former British West Indian colonies. It encompasses the development of both private madhouses and public lunatic asylums, those who established and managed them, and the ...

Professor Lyndsey Stonebridge

Professor Lyndsey Stonebridge

Interdisciplinary Chair
Professor of Humanities and Human Rights

Department of English Literature

Professor Lyndsey Stonebridge’s work focuses on twentieth-century and contemporary literature, political theory, and history, Human Rights, and Refugee Studies, drawing on the interdisciplinary connections between literature, history, politics, law, and social policy. Her early work was concerned with the effects of modern violence on the mind in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries (The ...

Dr Erin Sullivan

Dr Erin Sullivan

Reader in Shakespeare

Shakespeare Institute

I am a cultural historian and literary scholar interested in the nature of emotional experience and its relation to art - in particular Shakespeare’s. My research splits into two distinct but nonetheless related strands: the cultural history of the emotions, especially sadness, and the performance of Shakespeare today.

Dr Ema Sullivan-Bissett

Dr Ema Sullivan-Bissett

Reader in Philosophy

Department of Philosophy

I am a Reader in Philosophy working primarily in the philosophy of mind and psychology.

Dr Henry Taylor

Dr Henry Taylor

Senior Lecturer

Department of Philosophy

Since joining the department in 2017, my work has focussed on the interface between philosophy and cognitive science. I have worked especially on consciousness, perception, and attention. I’m especially interested in how these faculties interact with each other in the mind. My work in these areas is collected in my papers (below).

I am currently interested in the relations between ...

Dr Emil Toescu

Dr Emil Toescu

Honorary Senior Lecturer and Science Tutor, Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences
Senior Research Fellow and Deputy Director, Institute of Transdisciplinary Discoveries

Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences

I am a medically qualified neuroscientist who, for the last few years, has become interested in exploring the educational and intellectual ways of bringing sciences and humanities together. This has been achieved through contributing to the development of a number of programs and courses in Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences and Medical Humanities, both in the UK and abroad (Hungary and Romania).

Professor Rachel Upthegrove

Professor Rachel Upthegrove

Professor of Psychiatry and Youth Mental Health
Consultant Psychiatrist Early Intervention in Psychosis

School of Psychology

Rachel is Professor of Psychiatry and Youth Mental Health at the University of Birmingham, and Consultant Psychiatrist in the Birmingham Early Intervention Services. Her research Interest is within the field of major mental illness; particularly schizophrenia and co-morbid depression in early phases of illness. Recent projects have developed the investigation of inflammatory models of psychosis ...

Dr Sanne Weber

Dr Sanne Weber

Leverhulme Early Career Fellow

International Development Department

Sanne’s research explores how conflict affects gender relations. She is interested in understanding whether and how transitional justice mechanisms are capable of transforming gendered and other structural inequalities, engaging with the connections between conflict, development and social justice. She uses ethnographic, participatory and creative research methods to understand the lived ...

Dr Jonathan Willis

Dr Jonathan Willis

Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History

Department of History

I am a historian of the English reformation, with interests in the history and theology of late-medieval and early modern Europe more broadly (c.1450-1700).  My research focuses on the religious and cultural history of England over the course of the long sixteenth century (c.1480-1640). 

 

Dr Rebecca Wynter

Dr Rebecca Wynter

Honorary Research Fellow

Institute of Applied Health Research

Rebecca is an Honorary Research Fellow for the four-year AHRC-funded project, ‘Forged by Fire: Burns Injuries and Identity in Britain, c.1800-2000’.

Rebecca is a historian of medicine and of Quakers. Her research and publications centre on the history of psychiatry, mental health, neurosurgery, neurodiversity, and First World War medicine and disability. She has worked with ...