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Black Mental Health Activists in Late Twentieth-Century Britain

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Tuesday, January 07, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

The University of Roehampton and the Black Cultural Archives (BCA) invite applications for an AHRC-funded technē PhD studentship for September 2020 entry. The project will examine the role and significance of Black mental health activists in late twentieth-century Britain. It offers opportunities to work with archival documents, oral histories, and activist communities to ask new questions about the emotions and politics that link the personal with the political, and the past with the present.

The precise direction of the project will be decided by the student in conjunction with supervisors at Roehampton and BCA, but may include questions on the ways Black mental health activists understood activism; what constituted ‘mental health’ and for whom, and/or the psychological impact of racism and structural violence in late twentieth-century Britain. The student will be able to draw on the rich and under-utilised collections on mental health at BCA, including oral histories with community health workers active in the 1970s-90s, periodicals such as the Brent Black Mental Health Journal, and the personal papers of prominent activists, including Jan McKenley, Stella Dadzie, Len Garrison, and Melba Wilson, former policy director of MIND. The use of archival and participatory research methods will be encouraged and supported, as will the development of outcomes that resonate with contemporary mental health agendas.

The student will be supervised by a multidisciplinary team: Dr Yolana Pringle (History) and Prof Leah Bassel (Sociology) at Roehampton, and Ayshah Johnston (Learning & Outreach Officer) and Hannah Ishmael (Archivist) at BCA. At Roehampton, the student will become part of a growing community that has formed around the student-led Decolonising the Curriculum initiative. At BCA, the student will be supported in professional development, with opportunities including cataloguing, public programming, delivering public talks and workshops, and curation.

Applicants should have an excellent academic record at undergraduate and a strong master’s degree in History, Sociology or a related discipline (where there is evidence of/clear interest in historical research). Interest and experience in public engagement and/or health and anti-racist activism is preferred. A commitment to BCA’s mission is essential.

We particularly welcome applications from BAME candidates.

Applicants are to contact Dr Yolana Pringle () or Prof Leah Bassel () to discuss the studentship.

Expressions of interest and any other queries: please contact Dr Yolana Pringle or Prof Leah Bassel () no later than 1 December 2019:
Your Roehampton application must be submitted by midnight 7th January 2020 through our online portal

Further information on the CDA application process can be found here

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