Research Bursaries: people we've funded

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2017

Dr Mark Gallagher

University of Glasgow

Ronald Sandison, LSD and the ‘beyond within’ Powick Hospital, 1952-64

Ronald Sandison was a Scottish psychiatrist responsible for introducing and overseeing LSD psychotherapy at Powick Hospital, Worcestershire between 1952 and 1964. A purpose-built LSD unit was constructed there and his work served as a model and conduit for an emerging international network of scientists and clinicians experimenting with LSD.

My research will focus on previously unexplored archive material from the Sandison collection at the Wellcome Library to contextualise Sandison and Powick in this wider network and to chart the development of LSD therapy at the hospital.

I will research the archive and participate in Wellcome activities as directed by the Ross MacFarlane Network and Wellcome Trust Hidden Persuaders group. I will then analyse, write and discuss my research with Dr Gavin Miller in Glasgow drawing on previous research at the RD Laing Collection in Glasgow. I will then publish articles and blogs and present the findings at public talks.

Dr Sam Goodman

Bournemouth University

Colonial consumption: alcohol, medicine and society in British India

This project engages with the role of alcohol in colonial British India c.1800-1947. It will analyse the extent to which alcohol was embedded in medical, social and cultural discourses of colonial society, producing a range of conflicted and contradictory practices. Using archives such as the British Library and the National Library of Scotland, the project will focus on how alcohol remained a mainstay of colonial medicine, military routine and Anglo-Indian culture during the Brtitish colonial period in South Asia, despite concerns over health.

I will focus on inconsistencies where drinking and intoxication were either criminalised or mitigated by medical expertise, by contrasting records relating to India and Britain. I will argue that colonial space itself was a dominant determining factor in decisions made by military and civil authorities when treating or punishing people for excessive drinking.

This research will be used to prepare for a Wellcome seed award designed to compare and contrast attitudes to alcohol across the wider British Empire in the same period.

Carol Morley

Audrey Amiss collection

Audrey Amiss was an artist who worked as a civil service typist for most of her life and was diagnosed in her mid-twenties with paranoid schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. She entered her first psychiatric hospital at this point and up until her death in 2013, aged 79, she was a ‘revolving door’ psychiatric patient/service user, referring to herself in later years as a ‘mental health survivor’.

I will research her life using Wellcome’s 84 boxes of her sketches, paintings, scrap books, letters, diaries, photographs and other materials donated by her family.

My chief goals are to use the research to write a book and a screenplay for a feature film based on Audrey’s life and artwork. This will give valuable insight into the life of an artist living with mental health diagnoses.

Dr Helen Spandler

University of Central Lancashire

Crafting psychiatric contention: Asylum - the magazine for democratic psychiatry (1986-2016)

As a controversial branch of medicine, psychiatry has become a significant field of contention, giving rise to anti-psychiatry, critical psychiatry and a psychiatric survivor movement.

We will investigate how mental health service users/survivors and professionals have ‘crafted’ forms of contention, in response to changes in the UK psychiatric field over the last 30 years. We will explore linguistic and visual expressions of psychiatric contention, such as stories, testimonies, cartoons and poems, to identify how different forms and styles of contention relate to different experiences of mental illness or different modes of psychiatric treatment and care. The research will be based on Asylum: the magazine for democratic psychiatry (1986-2016), the back catalogue of which was acquired by the Wellcome Library in 2015.

This research will enrich our understanding of how the contestation of psychiatric knowledge has been crafted over time, and how forms of contestation have shaped – and been shaped by – the wider landscape of medicine, psychiatry and culture. 

2016

Dr Shaul Bar-Haim

Revisiting the Second Northfield Experiment: the creation of a ‘therapeutic community’ model, 1943–1945

The project will revise the second Northfield experiment in group therapy that was carried out at Hollymoor Hospital in Northfield in 1944–45 and will shed light on the creation and legacy of the post-war concept of ‘therapeutic community’. The first experiment (1942–43) is known in the literature as a turning point in the history of British psychiatry as it turned towards psychodynamic and psychoanalytic approaches. Historians, however, tend to overlook the second experiment (1944–45). Moreover, scholars have considered the two experiments as part of the same project, even though they were carried out by different people and in different periods of the war. 

Using the Wellcome archive of the second experiment’s leading psychiatrist, Siegmund Heinrich Foulkes, I will argue that it was a distinctively different project which created a separate psychotherapeutic post-war legacy. My study will be a starting point for research on the cultural history of group therapy in post-war Britain.

Dr Marieke Hendriksen

Utrecht University

Preserving and modelling the body: technique in anatomical practice and visual arts at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh 1700–1850

Anatomists and visual artists worked closely together to produce anatomical drawings, atlases and models in early modern Europe. An extensive corpus of literature on anatomical drawing and illustrations exists, yet little attention has been paid to other techniques used to depict the body by artists and anatomists.

This project focuses on the development and influence of techniques like plaster casting, corrosion, colouring, and wax and papier-mâché modelling by artists and anatomists. I will explore the practices and resources used by the members of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) to preserve and make models of the human body in the period 1700–1850 using the RCSEd archive and the earlier papers from the School of Medicine of the Royal Colleges archive. 

I will give a public lecture on the subject as well as publishing a blog post and a peer-reviewed academic article. The research will also contribute to a monograph with the working title ‘Making technique: anatomical objects and visual art 1700–1850’. 

Dr Iain Hutchison

Accepted and rejected: 19th century elected inmate applications to the Scottish National Institution for the Education of Imbecile Children

The project is an investigation of patient applications for admission to the Scottish National Institution for the Education of Imbecile Children between 1862 and 1914 using the records that are held at the University of Stirling Library. The key goals are to understand the motivation of the families who sought admission of children to this residential institution, to examine how the selection process worked. I will also explore the outcomes for those children who were accepted, notably when they reached the age for discharge, and consider why certain cases applying for admission were unsuccessful and trace what happened to some of the rejected children. 

Roy MacLeod

Disease is the enemy: Sir Ronald Ross and the medical war in the Mediterranean 1915–1918

The purpose of this project is to make full use of the recently-archived Ross Collection at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, to reassess the work of Sir Ronald Ross and the conduct of the medical war in the Mediterranean, 1915–1918. 

The objective is to identify key turning points in the wartime battle against malaria, dysentery and diarrhoea. The research method focuses on the use of private correspondence and unpublished materials to complement official sources in assessing the achievements and limitations of British medical operations and to compare and contrast these achievements in the context of contemporary French, German, American and Australian research. 

The goal is to contribute to the historiography of military medicine and to add a chapter to current work on wartime factors spurring British and allied medical research. 

Emma Nichols

University of Cambridge

Development of an in situ treatment method for 20th century moisture-damaged paper

This project will undertake the conservation and long-term preservation of a moisture-damaged nominal roll from a Second World War civilian internment camp at Changi, Singapore. The document has international significance, recording the personal information of individual internees who were drawn from over 20 different countries. It is currently being conserved at Cambridge University Library as part of a digitisation project, but preliminary work indicates that further research is essential to determine the best course of conservation treatment. Examination and assessment of a range of treatment methods will be carried out using specialist investigative imaging equipment, which will be acquired for the project. 

The development of a successful treatment will not only ensure the long-term survival of the nominal roll, but will also inform the conservation of significant collections of similarly damaged material in the library’s collections and for the wider archival community.

Dr Sita Reddy

Ars Medica Botanica: medicine and the ‘Jungle Books’

The project will trace a visual genealogy of India’s medico-botanical traditions through four colonial botanical texts – the  core ‘Jungle Books’ – ranging from the 16th century Colóquios de Simples de Drogas to the 17th century  Hortus Malabaricus and the 19th century Flora Indica and Plants of the Coromandel Coast. Research using these four texts will involve matching and cross-referencing textual information for a group of medicinal plants with the botanical art, herbaria and archival papers of Company botanists, making visible the unnamed indigenous botanical artists of Company paintings, and tracing botanical iconography across diverse print media: engravings, watercolours, and lithographs. It is part of my larger project to document an Indian botanical ‘Ark-ive’, a visual genealogy of botanical arts traditions. I will produce a web archive and an arts exhibition script from research that will rely on Wellcome Library sources and two external collections: Kew Gardens on quinine and British Library/India Office Library on health and disease in British India.

Dr Wendy Sims-Schouten

University of Portsmouth

Mental health in childhood

This project will draw on archives from The Children’s Society – The Unexplored Riches in Medical History project – with a focus on narratives about mental health in its earliest children’s case files dating from the 1880s to 1920s. 

The aim of this project is to create the basis for a more textured understanding of the origins of perceptions about mental health which underlies much subsequent child welfare support, and to inform practice and further research to improve outcomes for children.

Dr Victoria Tischler

The house that Boots built: dementia and the multisensory

The project undertakes research using items from Boots the Chemist’s archive. The goal is to identify archival objects that have the potential to benefit people with dementia and their carers and to inspire creative and public engagement activities that raise awareness of the condition. The Boots archive is a rich resource, offering opportunities for empirical research and wider public scrutiny. This research involves exploration of archival items using object handling, photography, interviews with Boots staff and documentation. 

The aim is to assess the therapeutic, aesthetic and public engagement potential of objects. The history, composition, usage and psychosocial associations of each item will be considered including multisensory characteristics that indicate potential for future research and public engagement activities.

Dr Jonathan Toms

University of East Anglia

Challenges to the ‘mental deficiency’ system: the National Association for Mental Health’s role in legislative change and the development of community care 1946-1967

The recent opening of the MIND archive in the Wellcome Library offers the first opportunity to develop a rigorous account of the National Association for Mental Health’s (NAMH) role in ‘mental deficiency’ services when it provided professional training, experimental hostels and advice to the government and public in the 1940s to 1960s. An examination of its activities is crucial to understanding post-war developments in services. However, academic commentaries commonly do not acknowledge NAMH’s role. Instead they focus on other stakeholders including The National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL) and the National Association for Parents of Backward Children (NAPBC – now Mencap). These groups were involved in two particular areas: legislative change and developing community care.

This project’s key objective is to understand NAMH’s role in these areas in the context of its relationship to these other organisations involved in this area of care.

Dr James Wilkes

The Peckham Experiment: fiction from the archives

I propose to research the archive of the Pioneer Health Centre – part of the Peckham Experiment – held at the Wellcome Library, and write a series of prose poems, fiction and creative-critical texts based on the materials in the archive. The project builds on my existing research allowing me to propose several substantial goals in a relatively compressed timeframe. 

I aim to produce a significant body of prose texts to be published in part in literary journals and as a collection in the emerging genre of experimental or hybrid creative-critical prose. I will explore ideas from the archive, such as the relationship between the individual and the collective, or between self-organisation and experimentation and give them contemporary relevance. 

I also aim to advance the practice of creative-critical writing and the argument that creative writing can produce new insights into a topic and develop a new audience for archival writing, the Peckham Experiment archives and the Wellcome Library’s collections.

2015

Dr Susan Aspinall

The patient as an individual: the development of modern homeopathic practice in the patient case books of the London Homeopathic Hospital 1890–1914

This project will use the patient case books of the London Homeopathic Hospital (LHH), held by the London Metropolitan Archives to analyse the period around the turn of the 19th century when modern homeopathy began. The project builds on bodies of literature that have focused on professionalisation of homeopathy and the split from orthodoxy at the end of the century.

The literature has concentrated on the redrawing of professional boundaries, but this project will focus on what it has meant for homeopathic practice itself at a time which saw the decline of the medically qualified homeopath and rise of the lay practitioner. It will assess the development of a reformist philosophy of individualisation and holism which repositioned homeopathy within the diverse modern health economy.

Clare Button

University of Edinburgh

Untangling the roots of Edinburgh genetics 1899–1939

This project aims to conduct detailed research into the origins and early history of animal genetics in Edinburgh; a subject which is currently critically lacking in scholarly engagement. I will use the animal genetics archives held at Edinburgh University Library’s Special Collections and a number of genetics collections held in other institutions. 

Dr Adrian Chapman

‘All our Words are Meaningless’: RD Laing, language and healing

What place do words play in RD Laing’s idea and practice of healing? RD Laing, a psychiatrist and a renowned writer worked largely through the medium of speech but could be profoundly ambivalent about the place of words in healing. This project will extend understanding of Laing’s language and healing by exploiting the vast research potential of the Laing Archive at the University of Glasgow.

Sheila Ghelani

Elemental

This project will involve a dedicated period of research, which will enable me to immerse myself in several collections held at the Wellcome Library to produce a new body of work. ‘Elemental’ will draw on the elements of the periodic table, using them as a lens through which to explore contemporary lived experience. The key aim is to make connections to specific collections from the Wellcome Library to underpin a new artistic work. The research will be directed towards creating a written text which will be adapted for performance on stage. 

Dr Sam Goodman

Bournemouth University

Imperial measures: beer, medicine and health in colonial India

This project engages with the role of alcohol – specifically ale, beer and porter – in  the history of colonial British India c.1800–1950. It analyses the extent to which the medical, social and cultural perception of these drinks were not only linked, but were subject to contradiction and conflict in a colonial context.

Using archival sources from the India Office Records in the British Library, the project will focus on the role of alcohol as the cause of acute and chronic ailments, as well as various social anxieties, but also consider its recurrent role as a preventive and restorative remedy. The project’s goals are to survey India Office Records pertaining to the production, provision, consumption and prescription of alcoholic drinks in colonial society c.1800–1950, to accumulate data and research that will enable me to produce both academic and more accessible accounts about the medical practices and drinking culture of colonial British society.

This research will act as preparation for a larger project on the role of alcohol in an Anglo-Indian context.

Professor Susanne Klausen

Carleton University

The thalidomide disaster, the British Abortion Act (1967) and the passage of eugenic abortion laws in the Commonwealth 1961–1977

My project’s overall focus is the role of the thalidomide disaster of the early 1960s in cultivating public support for eugenic abortion in Commonwealth countries in the 1960s and 1970s. I will conduct research using the Wellcome Library archive to analyse the uptake of the eugenic clause contained in the Britain Abortion Act (1967) and abortion legislation subsequently enacted in other Commonwealth countries. Numerous members of the Commonwealth were directly affected by thalidomide and at least three – Australia, South Africa and New Zealand – adopted Britain’s eugenic clause in subsequently enacted abortion laws. Yet there is surprisingly little research on the adoption of this clause. 

I intend to scrutinise the impact of the thalidomide tragedy on the decision to include a eugenic clause in the British Abortion Act (1967), identify which Commonwealth countries adopted the eugenic clause even in a modified form, and elucidate the role of Britain’s acceptance of eugenic abortion to the acceptance of the clause in those countries. 

Dr Jennifer Novotny

University of Glasgow

‘They don’t want your charity – they demand their chance’: the socio-economic rehabilitation of First World War wounded at Erskine Hospitals

I will research the Erskine Hospital archive, which has been recently acquired by the University of Glasgow Archives. Initially, research will focus on the previously unexplored archival material, enabling me to contextualise Erskine in the wider UK network of First World War hospitals. I will ask how manual therapies at Erskine provided mental and physical benefits as well as socio-economic ones and compare and contrast occupational rehabilitation at similar facilities. This research builds upon recent work on the development of orthopaedics during the First World War and medicine in conflict, but it will have a distinct focus on the development of occupational therapies.

Dr Sian Pooley

University of Oxford

Childhood maltreatment and lifetime resilience: an archival pilot study

This is a new research project that seeks to understand the lives of people who experienced maltreatment during their childhood in Britain, 1930-1975. The project is interdisciplinary and collaborative, combining historical and psychological approaches to study how, and to what extent, people navigated pathways to resilience across their lives. Existing studies of resilience in the face of maltreatment have focused on protective factors in childhood, so that little is known about pathways to resilience over the course of a lifetime and how historically-specific understandings of maltreatment affect this.

Our application relates to the first stage of this research, which will involve a small pilot study using the archives of The Children’s Society. The relevant case files relating to children who grew up in charitable care after identified maltreatment are uncatalogued and have not been subject to previous academic study. It is therefore necessary to conduct an initial systematic examination of these files, so as to plan future research with the knowledge of possibilities and challenges these sources pose for qualitative and quantitative analysis.

This research begins to fill the gaps in academic scholarship and will contribute to improvements in policy-making and practice.

Dr Elsa Richardson

Anxious eating in the Victorian city: consumption, control and contamination

This study seeks to offer a new perspective on contemporary anxieties regarding health, work and wellbeing. It connects present-day anxieties regarding our fast food culture with the chaotic diet of the Victorian city worker, and it presses us to consider how the urban environment continues to shape how and what we eat. I will conduct focused research into one key area of this larger project: namely, the role of the vegetarian restaurant in shaping the lunchtime habits of London’s workforce using published and archival materials held in the Wellcome Library.

Dr Annie Skinner

‘They fell into great wretchedness’: an analysis of Charity Organisation Society referrals to the Waifs and Strays Society 1882–1899

The main focus of the research will be to uncover the work of the Charity Organisation Society (COS) of the Waifs and Strays Society (now known as The Children’s Society) during its early years (1882–1899). COS visitors, seen as the first social workers, made home visits to assess claimants in line with the COS policy, ensuring claimants were genuine and to ascertain the causes of poverty and ill-health before giving help. About this time, voluntary organisations providing residential childcare were also established including the Waifs and Strays Society in 1881. The COS became involved on two levels in this organisation, in management and in domiciliary assessments of children and families. This project will determine the extent of COS involvement by examining case files and other documentary sources from the early years of the Waifs and Strays Society.

Dr Claudia Soares

Aftercare: ensuring the physical and mental wellbeing of children in the Victorian children’s welfare institution

This research project will examine the institutional ‘aftercare’ practices that The Waifs and Strays Society (now The Children’s Society) implemented between 1881 and 1914, which sought to ensure the longer-term physical and mental wellbeing of children leaving care. It will focus on children’s experiences of and responses to the provision of aftercare support, asking how far policies were successfully translated into practice. 

It will assess how these aftercare practices had an impact on children’s longer-term wellbeing, their ability to achieve positive life outcomes and to participate fully in society.

Dr Steven Taylor

University of Leicester

‘Perfect’ and ‘imperfect’ bodies: The Children's Society, childhood health and improvement 1881–1926

This proposal will involve the study of documents in The Children’s Society archive. The collection contains important records on how a discourse of improvement was developed by doctors whose expert opinion shaped the boundaries of perfect and imperfect childhoods in Britain during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Analysis of case studies in the files will facilitate the compilation of a new database on child health and those that deviated from the medical norm – one of the proposal’s key goals. Reconstructing narratives of ‘perfect/imperfect’ children through familial and institutional representations of them will involve exploring treatment histories for childhood sickness. 

MNovember57 the contents of early medicinal almanacs have been the subject of much research, the study of extant folding almanacs and their bindings has been hampered by their scarcity. There are about 30 examples, many of which are missing their bindings. Furthermore, examination of medieval embroidery has been limited by the poor survival rate of secular examples. MS.8932’s binding offers an unrivalled opportunity to learn more about bindings, embroidery and production methods dating from the medieval period. 

The research aims to analyse the binding through a detailed examination of the actual artefact supported by a review of existing literature. A similar study of other bindings and related medieval textiles will be used to provide comparative material and context.

Dr Jonathan Toms

University of East Anglia

MIND’s campaigning for people with learning disabilities 1970-1983

Present government policy and professional practice for people with learning disabilities has its origins in the deinstitutionalisation processes, civil rights concerns and social integrationist philosophies of the 1970s and 1980s. However, we know little about how these campaigns were mobilised. The MIND archive at the Wellcome Trust offers a unique resource for developing a rigorous historical account of this mobilisation. 

MIND prominently campaigned to change government policy and professional practice for people with learning disabilities during this time period. This project’s main goal is to reconstruct how, why and with what consequences MIND developed this strategy. 

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