Rosa Ritunnano Named Winner of Wolfe Mays Essay Prize 2021

Dr Rosa Ritunnano has been named The British Society for Phenomenology (BSP) and the Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology (JBSP) winner of the 2021 Wolfe Mays Essay Prize for Early Career Researchers. The theme for 2021 was Engaged Phenomenology

Dr Rosa Ritunnano, MD is based within the School of Psychology at the University of Birmingham and holds a Priestley PhD Scholarship with the University of Melbourne. She is also part of the Institute for Mental Health. Dr Ritunnano’s winning essay “Overcoming Hermeneutical Injustice in Mental Health: A Role for Critical Phenomenology” examines the potential role for critical phenomenology in psychiatric practice. Dr Ritunnano argues that the adoption of a critical phenomenological stance can remedy localised instances of hermeneutical injustice, which may arise in the encounter between clinicians and patients with psychosis. 

"I am really grateful for this prize and the consideration given by the jury,” said Dr Ritunnano. “It is fantastic that the BSP is drawing attention to inter-disciplinary research in mental health, and in particular the pressing issues of stigma, discrimination and epistemic injustice. I am optimistic about the practical application of phenomenology, and its great potential to centre the expertise of lived experience to improve mental health care.” 

Professor Matthew Broome, Director of the Institute for Mental Health comments “‘I am delighted to congratulate Rosa on the award of the Wolfe Mays Essay Prize.  She is an outstanding doctoral researcher who is producing important and innovative work alongside her role as a part-time NHS consultant. Her work shows how philosophy can be part of the solution of remedying injustices and inequalities in mental health care and the experience of services”. 

Dr Ritunnano’s essay was selected from a very competitive field and was noted for its merits by all the jurors and reviewers. The essay will appear in the next volume of the Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology.