Write the Future! Competition Winner

As part of the Being Human Festival 2017 Dr Hannah Tweed and Dr Anna McFarlane held a creative writing workshop, ‘Write the Future!’, to encourage young writers to think about science fiction, medicine, and disability. Those who participated were invited to submit their stories in a writing competition, and it gives us great pleasure to share the winning entry, ‘To the Bone’ by Jamie Graham. Jamie is a student at the University of Glasgow and his story considers some possible problems with the commodification of bodily implants.

We’d like to thank creative writers Elaine Gallagher and Russell Jones for leading the workshop and allowing our young writers to benefit from their experiences; thanks to our writers for their contribution to this fascinating event; and thank you to Jamie for his story, and for allowing us to publish it here.

To the Bone

By Jamie Graham

Let me ask you this question: before you laugh at me, I’m not spouting any kind of rhetoric when I say that I seriously want to know. Have you ever felt something in your bones?

They’re a sensitive lot, which is hard to believe when you watch our games. Most of the time though we do pull together, and we always pull through. It’s just sobering to me that most of the lads at the rugby club wouldn’t have a clue about what I’ve just asked.

On Friday, we made a breakthrough. A national championship! The first one under our belts in months! We had some injuries of course: players on both sides went over their ankles, but that’s not a problem. It’s not like the ankle vendors are shutting anytime soon. Besides, it’s the end of the season!

However, that still didn’t excuse the lads their shoddy performance. Credit where it’s due, right, they did listen to me about coordination, but they weren’t running nearly enough with the ball (when they got it that is!). The criticism stung a little, but luckily for them I had neither the time nor the lower body strength to give them a demonstration. I know I’m a fine one to talk. I know what the fans mean when they ask how I can possibly be expected to coach a line up when I should be coaching myself to walk upright. Honestly though, I’ve had worse said to my face during my tenure and I don’t chastise them for questioning. I’ve loved this club since I was a boy. Trust me, it’ll take more than a few weeks of scepticism to put me off. I wasn’t always this feeble after all, but time rubs off on us all.

That’s why most of the lads got them Slipskins. Y’know, as part of that Omni-joint malarkey? If the team knows me for anything, they know me best for my slagging of ‘the extra arsehole’. I am joking, but the second someone unzips their leg or arm in the locker rooms, I just about boak. I was reluctant to get them on my own legs at first, but you get used to it after a while. I admit, it’d be nice to have a set of bones to go along with it, but hey, we can’t have everything. At least I’ve got somewhere extra safe to keep my keys! The Hospital claims these omni-joints make people safer; as far as I’m concerned folk are clumsier than they were, and they take their bodies for granted much more often, so I don’t trust that so much.

Thomas, our team rep, caught up to me before I headed off. He was one of the few who knew where I was going that afternoon, and before I left he passed me something: a business card for some fella … I can’t recall his name … who he said could help me out. Thomas was always big into the old Omni-joint. He’d spent a lot of money getting both him and his wife matching knuckles for their anniversary. Engraved and everything. Surely that can’t be healthy?

At least that was my Doctor’s mindset. A stern one, that bloke. I guess you’d have to be if you choose of your own volition to work behind one of the Hospital’s clinically sterilised counters every day of your life. My problem is the calf bone, you see. They haven’t been broken or anything, they were stolen a few months back. Some lowlife grabbed me in the street, dragged me around a corner and…next minute I was on the ground with no bones to hold me up. It was an hour before anybody thought to come down the lane. I get by. They gave me some drugs a while back to convince my lower half it’s still around, otherwise the pain’d be unbearable. The Doctor shoved a big catalogue my way. Apparently, the synthetic stuff is now really damn durable and very cheap. Call me sentimental, I’ve got attached to the concept of a real bone somewhere in my body, but there’s lots of complex DNA donation stuff to get through if you want something exactly as it was. As much as they like you to believe, kindness ain’t cheap these days.

It was a long time before I got in the door. It always is when the lift is bunged up and I’m too tired to wheel my seat. I heaved my chair over the bump in the door and flailed my coat on the hangar. After it fell off a good few times I left it on the ground, and out fell Tom’s card from one of my pockets.

The fella was kind enough to meet with me. Amiable enough, but he did go a little overboard on the life story. I checked his credentials and he seems to be the real McCoy. We both aren’t keen on the Hospital, he certainly made that clear. Him and a bunch of pals walked out on them. They weren’t teaching them enough apparently. All the same, he promised he’d get me an Omni-joint at a reduced rate, claiming that it was the least he could do to help people get the real help they need. I tried emphasising there was only one thing I wanted, a human-ish Omni-joint that I could keep for sport. I wouldn’t have to walk or run, just keep it for special occasions. He told me I should do some market research.

Before the club’s weekly session, I wheeled my way through the medical district. I was aware how popular the Omni-joint was, but not that it was a fashion statement! There’s all sorts, some even I’d say were practical. Omni-joints that don’t crack or get stiff. Some with built in electric heaters! There were some cheap synthetic mock-ups knocking about for those looking to recycle old bottles and things. I saw proud parents signing their children up for prescriptions. I heard once that some woman in America spent thousands getting her Mother’s whole skeleton reconstructed in Omni-joints. She wears it in memorial. I passed a guy shouting in the street about being boneless: don’t ask. There are plenty novelties. Who’d want what is essentially a leg bone to double up as a dog chew toy? Or a funny bone that laughs when you poke it? What happened to bones that were just there for show? Apparently, I was a bit of an oddity. The unaltered skeletal structure is pricey, especially when there’s little left of it in most to begin with.

The training session helped me lighten up. It certainly did Tom. He’d been complaining most of the day about his hands aching. We laughed and told him it was growing pains. We laughed and told him to stop being an old man. We didn’t laugh the week after.

Skeletal Shredding, it was. A registered disorder now apparently. Something in the Omni-joint. A rancid chemical laced in the marrow. The body realises that the Omni-joint isn’t real, is an intrusion, and tries to get rid of it quickly. The body’s solution? To break it down and try pushing through the skin. Yeah, Slipskins were real useful then. Tom was screaming too much for us to touch them. I don’t blame the fella I spoke to, or any of his friends for all this. I cancelled my appointment.

CFP extended: ‘Cognitive Futures in the Arts and Humanities’, Kent

Date: 1st-4th July 2018

Location: University of Kent

Deadline: 5th January 2018

Building on the conferences associated with the network Cognitive Futures in the Humanities in Bangor (2013), Durham (2014), Oxford (2015), Helsinki (2016) and Stony Brook (2017), the 2018 conference aims once again to bring together a wide array of papers from the cognitive sciences, philosophy, literary studies, linguistics, cultural studies, critical theory, film, performance, theatre and dance studies, the visual and sonic arts, musicology and beyond. In accordance with the original purpose of the network, the aims of the conference are:

  • to evolve new knowledge and practices for the analysis of culture and cultural objects, through engagement with the cognitive sciences;
  • to assess how concepts from the cognitive sciences can in turn be approached using the analytical tools of humanities enquiry (historical, theoretical, contextual);
  • to contest the nature/culture opposition whose legacy can be identified with the traditional and ongoing segregation of scientific and aesthetic knowledge.

The call for papers is now open. Topics relevant to the conference include (but are not limited to):

  • Cognitive neuroscience and the arts
  • Interdisciplinary methodologies
  • Cognitive poetics
  • Theory of mind
  • Conceptual blending
  • Cognition and narrative
  • Spectatorship and participation
  • Empirical aesthetics
  • The 4 Es
  • The science of creativity
  • The social mind
  • Material culture

Please send 250-word proposals by email to the conveners by 5th January 2018. As well as 20-minute papers, we welcome contributions in a variety of formats, for example workshops, performance presentations, and posters. Abstracts should be included as Word file attachments. Please indicate clearly in your email whether your abstract is to be considered for a paper or as part of a panel, including the name of presenter(s), institutional affiliation(s) and email address(es). Proposers can expect to hear if their abstract has been accepted by 01 February 2018, and registration will open soon afterwards.

Keynote Speakers at the conference have been confirmed as Maaike Bleeker(Utrecht University), Margrethe Bruun Vaage (University of Kent), Eric Clarke(Oxford University) and Amy Cook (Stony Brook University).  Further information will be available on the conference website.

Organising committee: Shaun May, Nicola Shaughnessy, Melissa Trimingham, Freya Vass-Rhee.

CFP: North West Interdisciplinary Medical Humanities Postgraduate Workshop, Lancaster

Date: 19th April 2018

Location: Lancaster University

Deadline: 1st February 2018

In 2018 Lancaster University History department will be hosting a one-day postgraduate workshop that focuses on the value of alternative methodologies and interdisciplinarity in the medical humanities. The event is organized by Erin Bramwell and Natalie Mullen, who are both PhD candidates in the department. Erin and Natalie work in the medical humanities, and through the ESRC’s Interdisciplinary Event Fund, are seeking to bring together researchers in numerous disciplines to share the ways in which they approach critical questions and problems within the field.

The workshop seeks to connect researchers in a variety of disciplines including, but not limited to, history, politics, law, sociology, English literature and language, linguistics, medicine, computer science, and psychology. The workshop is also intended to serve as a ‘launch event’ for a longer term network of PGRs working in medical humanities within the North West. Although primarily catering for North West based PGRs, ECRs and participants from other institutions are also welcome.

Topics for discussion include, but are not limited to:

  • Interdisciplinary research methodologies
  • Medical spaces and landscapes
  • Medicine and literature
  • Medicines as emotional and material objects
  • Medicine and the senses
  • Policy and healthcare
  • Photography
  • Linguistic and corpus-based approaches

The keynote address will be given by Dr James Stark (University of Leeds).

To apply, send an abstract of 250 words for a 20 minute paper and a short biographical statement to pgmedhumsnorthwest@gmail.com by 1st February 2018. A limited number of postgraduate travel bursaries are available; please state if you wish to be considered when you submit your abstract.

More information can be found on Twitter and on the network blog.

Lecture: Gavin Francis, ‘The Anatomy of Curiosity – a personal tour of Edinburgh University’s anatomical collections’, Glasgow

Date: 6-8.30pm, Thursday 18th January 2018

Location: Kelvin Lecture Theatre, 1445 Argyle Street, Glasgow, G3 8AW

The Anatomy of Curiosity – a personal tour of Edinburgh University’s anatomical collections

The Anatomical Collections of Edinburgh University are immense and varied, gathered over more than five centuries. They vary from anthropological specimens from the colonial era, to early-modern curiosities such as human horns alongside narwhal horns. There are roomfuls of animal specimens, collected in an attempt to conjure order from the commotion of life. There’s the skull of George Buchanan and the skeleton of William Burke. Gavin Francis isn’t a curator, but a doctor and writer who has found inspiration in the collection. His illustrated lecture will be a personal journey around some of the highlights of the collection.

Gavin Francis practices medicine in Edinburgh and is the author of three books True North, Travels in Arctic Europe (2008, 2010), Empire Antarctica, Ice, Silence & Emperor Penguins(2012) which was Scottish Book of the Year 2013 and shortlisted for the Costa, Ondaatje, Banff, & Saltire Prizes, and Adventures in Human Being (2015), which won Saltire Non-Fiction Book of the Year 2015, was the Observer’s Science Book of the Year, and was a winner in the BMA Book Awards. His fourth book Shapeshifters: A journey through the changing human body will be published in 2018.

More on Gavin’s writings (including further essays) and work can be found on his website.

All welcome! If you are interested in attending this lecture, please reserve your free ticket via the Eventbrite page.

CFP: Special Issue of RDS, ‘Disability and Shame’

The Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal (RDS) seeks proposals for a special forum “Disability and Shame.” The deadline for submission of papers is 1st January 2018.

Special Issue | Volume 14 Issue 4, RDS: Disability and Shame.

Shame and shaming take varied and quite diversely motivated forms. Shame exists as both a cultural and psychological construct, stimuli for and reactions to which are heavily context-dependent. This Call for Papers proposes a forum on the subject of shame and disability, broadly conceived. It is hoped that through critical discourse addressing the historical and current contexts, contributing factors, effects, and responses to shame, greater understanding of this phenomena will diminish discrimination and violence.

Guest Editors:

Papers should be submitted online at http://rdsjournal.org. We look forward to receiving your submissions.
If you have any questions regarding the forum, please contact jjones@truman.edubakerdl@wsu.edu, or stephanie.patterson@stonybrook.edu. For other technical questions contact rdsj@hawaii.edu

For more information visit the RDS Journal website.

PhD Scholarships: ‘Writing Disabled Lives in Nineteenth-Century Britain’, Swansea

Deadline: 22nd January 2018

Start date: 1st October 2018

See the website for full details

Project details:

During the nineteenth century there were a series of developments that helped to shape ‘disability’ in its modern form. The administrative categorisation of the ‘defective’ poor in workhouses served to identify physical incapacity as a distinctive cause of poverty requiring particular responses, whereas the valorisation of ‘normal’ ranges of human size, strength and intelligence in eugenic thought marked out as deviant and inferior those who failed to meet these standards. Industrialisation, and subsequent struggles over reform (such as campaigns to limit child labour or restrict the length of the working day), promoted an abstract idea of the worker, whose capacities and needs were assumed to be the same as others.

Such developments have begun to attract attention, but considerably less is known about how people with impairments made sense of their experiences within evolving concepts of ‘disability’ and ‘able-bodiedness’. The aim of this PhD studentship is to explore ways in which contemporaries narrated physical difference using a variety of biographical and autobiographical writings. The nineteenth century is significant for a proliferation of texts that explored the lives of people with disabilities. Some, such as the autobiographical writings of Harriet Martineau or John Kitto, are relatively well-known, but many others such as James Wilson’s Biography of the Blind (1820) – arguably the first work of ‘disability history’ – have received very little attention from historians or literary scholars. Accounts of illness and disability abound in working class autobiographies, while pauper letters weave these themes into compelling narratives of need. Life histories of freak show performers, ‘eccentric’ biographies, newspaper obituaries, and new forms of investigative reporting characteristic of the ‘new journalism’ all shed light on experiences of physical and intellectual difference.  Such texts employed a variety of rhetorical strategies for capturing the experiences of ‘disabled’ women and men, yet have not yet been researched systematically from a disability perspective.

The recipient of this PhD studentship will have the opportunity to determine the scope and direction of their research within the broad parameters of the project. Their work will examine how disability is constructed within particular cultural contexts and how these relate to social, religious and medical frameworks for understanding physical difference. Their work will examine critically how narratives of disability are shaped by – and in turn shape – gender, class and racial identities. As part of their project, the PhD student will work with the interdisciplinary supervisory team to develop a programme of public engagement exploring life writing as a tool for promoting health and wellbeing, while also raising awareness of experiences of disability in modern Wales. This may include producing a public engagement blog that uses historical evidence to engage in dialogue with disabled people’s experiences in the present, and other public-facing activities. The supervisors, who won a Research and Innovation Award in 2016 for their work on the exhibition ‘From Pithead to Sickbed and Beyond: the Buried History of Disability in the Coal Industry before the NHS’, will bring their experience in leading disability projects to provide mentoring for the recipient of the studentship to build a public profile for their work and develop its impact potential. The project falls under the auspices of CREW, Centre for Research into the English Literature and Language of Wales, and the cross-campus Research Group for Health, History and Culture (RGHHC), which will provide supportive research clusters.  Since its founding in 2010, members of RGHHC have secured grants totalling £1.5 million for individual or collaborative projects. Swansea University is an internationally renowned centre of excellence in disability history. Recent funded projects include ‘Disability and Industrial Society 1780-1880’ (Wellcome Trust) http://www.dis-ind-soc.org.uk/en/index.htm and an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Scholarship on ‘Correcting Vision in Nineteenth-Century Britain’ (with the Science Museum).

Supervisors / Academic Contacts: Professor David Turner and Professor Kirsti Bohata

PhD Scholarship: ‘Blood cultures: the language and metaphors of menstruation’, Manchester Metropolitan University


This project investigates the language and metaphors used to describe menstruation with a particular focus upon atypical bleeding (e.g., amenorrhea, endometriosis, fibroids, bleeding in pregnancy, post-partum haemorrhage and bleeding, flooding and spotting) through the life course (at puberty, in adulthood, in the peri-menopause and menopause). Textual material may be derived from either contemporary (21st Century) imaginative literature, film or life-writing and/or derived from interviews with volunteer participants in the UK, Ireland and, if the candidate has the requisite language skills, one or more non-English speaking language community. The project will produce a discourse analysis of recurrent themes, metaphors, similarities and differences in the language of menstruation today, paying close attention to the significance of class, education, culture, community, ethnicity, religion, disability and sexuality in mediating this discourse.

Aims and objectives

This project builds upon the work of the Critical Medical Humanities research group on critical disability studies, pain and the language of endometriosis.It aims to create interdisciplinary research pathways across literary studies, linguistics/discourse and intercultural studies.The candidate will be supervised by an interdisciplinary team with expertise in the mentioned areas and approaches upon which the project will draw.

Menstruation and atypical bleeding remain sources of social stigma for women, particularly at key moments of transition such as puberty and menopause. This project investigates the ways in which menstruation and, particularly, atypical bleeding are talked about by women today (both individually and in groups), and/or depicted in contemporary literature, film and life-writing. The project aims are as follows:

  • to identify and collate narrative/conversational accounts of menstruation and atypical bleeding
  • to produce a close critical/discourse analysis of the ways in which menstruation and atypical bleeding are depicted and spoken about in these accounts, paying close attention to the use of metaphor and recurrent tropes, conversational/narrative styles.
  • to consider the role and significance of class, education, culture, community, ethnicity, religion, disability and sexuality in mediating ways of talking about menstruation.
  • If the student is fluent in one or more language (alongside English), then the project also aims to compare and contrast, talk about menstruation in different language communities.

In exploring contemporary discourses about menstruation and atypical bleeding, the objectives of the project are as follows:

  • To develop effective methodologies for eliciting, exploring and critically assessing the language(s) of menstruation
  • To utilize the research as a means to break through taboos and embedded attitudes that can lead to marginalisation and social stigma
  • To derive implications that will contribute to the enhancement of communication and the social visibility of the issues explored.

This project supervisory team will include Dr Lucy Burke

Specific requirements of the project

Applicants should have a high upper second or first class undergraduate degree in an Arts/Humanities discipline or equivalent and they should have or be completing Masters level study in any one of the following fields: literary, film or media studies; modern languages, discourse analysis/socio-linguistics; critical and cultural theory, philosophy, medical humanities, medical anthropology or sociology of culture. They require high level skills in either the stylistic/critical analysis of narrative fiction, literary genres, literary/ narrative discourse and/or the discourse analysis of conversational language/written text. Applicants interested in working with different language communities should be able to evidence fluency in their chosen languages.

Applicants must also demonstrate the ability to develop and conduct an independent research project. Experience of transdisciplinary research and/or work at the interface of the arts/humanities and science/medicine is desirable.

The successful candidate would be expected to start in September/October 2018.

Student eligibility

This opportunity is open to UK/EU and International applicants


Informal enquiries can be made to: pgradmissions@mmu.ac.uk

Please quote the reference ArtsHum-CELL-2018-1

For more information, see the full advertisement here.

Deadline: 31st January 2018

Interviews: 12th Feb – 9th March 2018


Job advert: ‘Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Arts & Health’, Derby

Location: Keddleston Rd., University of Derby

Salary: £17,326 to £22,214 p/a

Deadline: 11th December 2017

Reference: 0623-17-R

Please note that this is a 3 year full time contract.

An exciting opportunity has arisen for a motivated individual with research experience and proven ability to write for publication, to work for the newly formed Arts in Health Centre of Excellence part of the College of Health & Social Care Research Centre (CHSCRC). The Research Centre was established in 2014 with the support of  funding from NHS England and Derbyshire’s four Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). The Centre’s main activities have focused around the co-design and delivery of projects with the CCGs, securing external funding and delivery of these projects, and a range of REF-related activities. Going forward, delivering health service evaluations will continue to be a key strand of the Centre’s income generation activity. Alongside this, through close collaboration with the NHS and Clinical Commissioning Groups, and by establishing partnerships with other universities and institutions, the Centre has been working on number of research proposals.

The research fellow is to have primary responsibility for working with our research fellow and academics galvanising research bids from clusters affiliated with the Arts in Health Centre of Excellence, especially orientated towards UOA03. The fellow will be housed within the College of Health & Social Care Research Centre, but will work with cross-College collaborative research bids and bids originating from College clusters.

We need to develop further research in the range of 3* and 4* and highlight work of international significance and world-class research already being conducted, but not sufficiently celebrated and highlighted. The Centre of Excellence will function across College boundaries and be interdisciplinary in nature, instigating collaborative relationships and providing a ‘shop-window’ and marketing opportunity. The Arts in Health Centre of Excellence will bring together excellent practice and research, acknowledging TEF as well as REF.

Your principal accountabilities will be working collaboratively with research clusters to develop fundable research proposals and co-writing with academic colleagues towards joint publications at 3*.

For an informal discussion about the post call or email Professor Susan Hogan at 07973353964 or s.hogan@derby.ac.uk

We are committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and vulnerable adults and expect everyone who works for us to also share this commitment and to treat people with courtesy and respect.

Further details: Job Description 

CFP: ‘Madness, Mental Illness and Mind Doctors in 20th and 21st Century Pop Culture’, Edinburgh

Date: 3rd – 4th May 2018

Location: University of Edinburgh

Website: www.madnessinpopculture.com

Deadline: 2nd February 2018

“Sometimes it’s only madness that makes us what we are.”

Grant Morrison, Batman: Arkham Asylum (1989)

In Madness and Civilization, Michel Foucault writes that “madness fascinates man”. Indeed, examples of this dark allure are present throughout the ages. From tales of those who paid a penny on Sundays to view the insane held at London’s Bethlem Hospital in the early nineteenth century, to ever popular portrayals of mental illness and madness in the literature, television, and film of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, representations of psychiatric illness remain loaded, highly visible, and deeply entrenched in Western pop culture.

Mental illness – and more colloquially, madness – often functions metaphorically as representative of a subversive liminality that delegitimizes protest against the status quo. Characters like John Givings in Richard Yates’s novel Revolutionary Road, for example, are ultimately neutralized as political agents through psychiatric diagnosis. Other more recent filmic and televisual representations of mental illness utilize such psychiatric tropes in alternative but highly recognizable ways. Television shows such as Sherlock and House emphasize the connection between madness and genius, while Fight Club and the television series Mr Robot focus on the social equation between mental illness and criminality. The American true crime podcast Sword and Scale has been accused of demonising victims of mental illness. In Andrew Solomon’s Noonday Demon, Allie Brosh’s webcomic Hyperbole and a Half, and Kabi Nagata’s manga My Lesbian Experiences with Loneliness, the line between pathology and pathography, medicine and memoir, has blurred.

 This conference will examine these representations, and explore the ways in which madness, mental illness, and those who are both affected by, and striving to treat, psychological maladies are depicted in twentieth and twenty-first century popular culture. We ask: how have fluctuating historical conditions and attitudes influenced the ways in which madness and mental illness are portrayed in the media? What kind of relationship exists between medical understandings of psychological disorders and popular depictions of such illnesses? Do contemporary portrayals of “madness” in popular fictions work to demystify and destigmatize mental illness, or do these representations reinforce negative stereotypes, further obfuscating our understanding of psychological disorders?

We welcome proposals for 20-minute presentations from a range of disciplines that engage with popular conceptions of madness and mental illness in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Proposals that include visual arts or other media, as well as the traditional paper, are welcomed. Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Depictions of mental illness in film, television, literature, podcasts, graphic novels, and video games.
  • Madness as political/protest (social conformity as ‘true’ madness)
  • Women/gender and madness
  • Madness and creativity
  • Pop culture vs. medical establishment
  • Psychiatry in popular culture
  • Madness and horror/the Gothic
  • Madness, confinement, and physical space
  • Asylums, community care, and deinstitutionalization
  • Madness as metaphor
  • History of psychiatry and antipsychiatry
  • Freud and the history of popularization of psychoanalysis
  • Post-war psychiatry
  • The politics/impact/importance of life narratives
  • The “myth” of mental illness
  • Medical humanities and medical science
  • Mental health and contemporary politics
  • Madness and confessional narrative

Please submit abstracts of 300 words, along with a short biographical note (150 words), to madnessinpopculture@gmail.com by 2nd February 2018. Further information at www.madnessinpopculture.com.

Follow us on Twitter @madpopculture or facebook, under “Madness in Pop Culture PG Conference”.

CFP: Palgrave Communications, ‘Socioeconomic Factors and Mental Health: Past and Present’

Palgrave Communications – the multidisciplinary, open access journal published by Palgrave Macmillan – is currently inviting article proposals and full papers for a new research article collection. ‘Socioeconomic Factors and Mental Health: Past and Present’ will be edited by Professor Matthew Smith and Dr Lucas Richert (University of Strathclyde, UK).

This article collection will examine how the relationship between socioeconomic factors and mental health has been and is understood in an array of different places and periods. Although much of the focus of current mental health research and clinical practice is on the neurological aspects of mental illness and psychopharmacological treatment, historical research demonstrates that a wide range of factors – from vitamin deficiencies such as pellagra, and infections such as syphilis to traumatic life events – have contributed to the onset and exacerbation of mental health problems. Among all these factors, one looms largest: socioeconomic status. On the one hand, socioeconomic inequality has been long recognised as a potential cause of mental illness, as the history of mental hygiene and social psychiatry during much of the twentieth century demonstrates. On the other hand, however, the mentally ill have also historically faced much socioeconomic hardship; today, a high proportion of the homeless and incarcerated in many countries suffer from mental illness.

By exploring this topic across time and place, this collection aims to provide a historical context for today’s mental health crisis, and also to inform current mental health policy, especially attempts to prevent or alleviate mental illness through social change.

Insights on a broad spectrum of themes are welcomed, including, but not restricted to:

  • Homelessness and mental illness
  • Social psychiatry and mental hygiene
  • Community mental health
  • Forensic psychiatry
  • Race and mental health
  • Psychiatry and various economic/political systems (e.g., communism, socialism, capitalism)
  • Socioeconomic factors and child mental health
  • How health professionals deal with poverty and mental health
  • Social policy and mental health
  • Social activism and mental health

This is a rolling article collection and as such proposals and submissions will be welcome before 1st February 2018.Article proposals should be submitted to the editorial team.