Harriet Cooper has a wide range of research interests in the medical humanities, and is especially curious about the politics of knowledge production in this evolving field. Relatedly, Harriet is fascinated by the puzzles presented by experiential and embodied knowledges: how do we interrogate and represent lived experience? She also likes to ponder the question of how the categories of method and disciplinary identity are invoked across the humanities and social sciences to shape research agendas. Since being awarded her PhD in critical disability studies from Birkbeck, University of London in 2015, Harriet has been working on a qualitative social research project at the University of East Anglia, which is funded by the Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) East of England.
See what Harriet has been posting on The Polyphony here.
I am a PhD student based in the School of English at the University of Leeds, where I also teach contemporary literature. Situated across literary studies, disability studies, and the medical humanities, my thesis explores contemporary narratives of mental illness across various genres of life writing. My research investigates how writers with experiences of mental illness grapple with the challenges of producing self-narrative about mental distress in literarily innovative texts that test the boundaries of personhood and autobiography. I also reflect upon the consequences of such texts for further developing critical medical humanities methodologies.
I am interested in publishing pieces that showcase the diversity and richness of work being undertaken across the medical humanities at all levels of scholarship. Alongside my research interests in mental health, trauma, and autobiography, I am particularly committed to curating writing that provokes us to think more critically about the scope and methodologies of the field; with this in mind I’d especially like to encourage people working on the intersections of medical humanities with feminisms, queer theory, transgender studies, postcolonial studies, and disability studies to get in touch.
See what Katrina has been posting on The Polyphony here.
Fiona Johnstone is an art historian with a particular interest in the relationship between art and visual culture and the medical humanities. She was awarded her PhD from Birkbeck in 2015, and is currently completing two books for I.B. Tauris: a monograph, AIDS & Representation: Portraits and Self-Portraits during the AIDS Crisis in America, and an edited volume, Anti-Portraiture: Challenging the Limits of the Portrait. Fiona co-curated the 2017 exhibition Mr A Moves in Mysterious Ways: Selected Artists from the Adamson Collection, and was an invited participant in a series of public events run by the Wellcome Library in association with this exhibition. She lectures in the History and Theory of Photography at Middlesex University and the University of the West of England.
Fiona is particularly interested in discussing ideas for articles that relates to art and photography, visual and material culture, and curating: this might include reviews of exhibitions, events, or new publications; provocations or position pieces; or something more creative! She is also interested in articles that address pedagogic aspects of Medical Humanities.
See what Fiona has been posting on The Polyphony here.
My research spans medical anthropology and science and technology studies. Currently I am writing an ethnographic monograph bridging the phenomenologies and practices of working upon psychedelic experiences on the one hand, and experiences labelled ‘psychotic’ on the other. I received my PhD in 2012 in socio-legal studies from the University of Bristol, analysing formations of knowledge and authority in mental health self-help and mutual aid collectives. Since then I have been researching ‘consciousness cultures’ more broadly, including the resurgence of overground and underground interest in the use of drugs to produce psychedelic experiences. From 2013-2015 I spearheaded qualitative research as part of a clinical trials team studying psychedelics at Johns Hopkins University, and I have since taught at New York University and the University of East London. In 2008, I co-founded the Authority Research Network, an early-career collective of academics based in the UK, Ireland and Brazil.
While I am happy to work with reviews on any topic, my particular interests lie in the areas of:
- Politics of knowledge, evidence and authority,
- Spirituality, mysticism and mythology,
- Altered states and extreme/limit experiences, and
- Algorithmic life and computational psychiatry.
I am happy to work with any kind of review format, and am particularly interested in reviews that experiment with form and incorporate reflexivity. I welcome interviews with authors, book forums with multiple reviewers, and single reviews of multiple books on the same topic.
See what Tehseen has been posting on The Polyphony here.
Nathan Fleshner is Assistant Professor of Music Theory at the University of Tennessee, USA. While his Ph.D. (Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester, USA) is in music theory and analysis, he has long held an interest in psychology, the brain, and music’s influence on both. His research focuses on the analysis of music that depicts dreams, mental illness, and trauma and on connections between the music analytic process and the psychoanalytic and therapeutic processes.
See what Nathan has been posting on The Polyphony here.
Victoria Hume is a composer, arts manager and researcher specialising in the meeting points between the arts, medicine and health. She is currently Director of the UK’s new Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance and a Research Associate in the medical humanities at WiSER (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg), focusing particularly on the arts as research. In 2017 she received a distinction for a Masters in Music and Health Communication focused on hospital-induced delirium. Prior to that she was a hospital arts manager in the NHS for 15 years. Her 2016 EP, Closing (released on Lost Map records), featured on Lauren Laverne’s Best of 2016 playlist (BBC Radio6 Music).
See what Victoria has been posting on The Polyphony here.
Beata Gubacsi is a final year PhD student at the University of Liverpool. Her current research project, provisionally entitled Literature of Monstrosity: Posthumanism and Authorship, seeks to establish connections between critical posthumanism and New Weird through their understanding and representation of human and non-human sentience and subjectivity, focusing on the meta-features of the popular figure of the monster. She has been involved in Bluecoat’s science fiction projects as part of her LiNK placement, and co-hosted workshops at the Being Human Festival, Tate Exchange and Nottingham New Art Exchange in 2015-16. She is the co-ordinator of the Current Research in Speculative Fiction Conference since 2017. Her research interests are gender and body studies, trauma studies and psychoanalysis, ecocriticism and animal studies, fantastic literatures and genre theory, game narratives, and representations of mental illness in popular culture with special interest in Gothic and horror.
See what Beata has been posting on The Polyphony here.
Leah is completing a PhD on dramaturgies of mental suffering in the theatre of Sarah Kane at Birkbeck, University of London. Her research interests include contemporary theatre; mental health and disability politics and activism; psychiatry and psychoanalysis in the humanities; and representations of community care.
See what Leah has been posting on The Polyphony here.