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PhD Studentship: Rebirth: The Life and Legacy of Mary Barnes

University of Surrey - Psychology

Location: Guildford
Salary: The University offers a stipend of £19,237 p/a (UKRI rate) plus £3000 for travel and consumables for 3.5 years. Wellcome Collection will offer the student up to £1500 research expenses per year up to 3 years
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 4th June 2024
Closes: 28th June 2024
Job Ref: PGR-2324-096

Mary Barnes was a notable resident at R D Laing’s experimental therapeutic community, Kingsley Hall, where she lived from 1965-1970, following a psychotic breakdown. Kingsley Hall was established as an alternative to conventional psychiatric treatment, where residents were instead encouraged to embrace their madness without medical intervention. At Kingsley Hall, Mary regressed to a state of infant-like dependency. She formed an intense therapeutic relationship with psychoanalyst, Dr Joseph (Joe) Berke who encouraged her to paint on the walls of Kingsley Hall. She co-authored a book with Joe Berke: Mary Barnes: two accounts of a journey through madness (1971). 

Following Kingsley Hall’s closure in 1970, Mary became a successful artist, creating artworks that expressed her inner turmoil and rebirth. She continued to write, publishing a book of creative writing in 1989 with Ann Scott, Something Sacred.

Barnes’s archive collection was only recently discovered in a former stable in Falkland, Scotland. This archive collection and a selection of her artworks were acquired by Wellcome Collection in 2023 and are now undergoing cataloguing, following intensive conservation intervention. 

The archive offers a unique and untapped research opportunity to examine the legacy of Mary Barnes. Alongside Barnes’s collection, Wellcome has rich related holdings, including artworks and archives created in mental health settings, and collections documenting mental healthcare provision. Wellcome Collection also holds the archive for Dr Joseph Berke, which is currently uncatalogued. 

 Potential lines of enquiry might include (but are not limited to):

  • The role of creativity and art in mental health care.
  • The cultural legacy of Mary Barnes.
  • Lived experience and the ethics of archival representation.
  • Informing contemporary mental health care through historical perspectives.

A variety of theoretical positions and methodologies may be used to frame the project.

The supervisory team: Prof. Victoria Tischler, Elena Carter and Dr Cheryl McGeachan

Entry requirements

Open to candidates who pay UK/home rate fees. See UKCISA for further information. Starting in October 2024. Later start is possible, please contact Professor Victoria Tischler after deadline passes.

You will need to meet the minimum entry requirements for our Psychology PhD programme.

The interdisciplinary project is suitable for someone with a psychology, mental health nursing, human geography, creative arts or medical humanities background.

The applicant should have experience of undertaking research with archives or visual art or be strongly motivated to do so. Interests in lived experience of mental illness and the history of mental health care are essential.

Additional training will be provided as part of the University of Surrey’s doctoral programme, via the Doctoral College, and by Wellcome Collection.

How to apply

Applicants should provide:

1.) Their 2-page CV

2.) A 1 page (A4) personal statement outlining their motivation to undertake the study.

These should be submitted by 1700 28th June 2024 via our Psychology PhD programme page. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed w/b 15th July 2024.

Funding

The University offers a stipend of £19,237 p/a (UKRI rate) plus £3000 for travel and consumables for 3.5 years. Wellcome Collection will offer the student up to £1500 research expenses per year up to 3 years.

Application deadline

28/06/2024 by 1700 BST

Enquiries: Contact Professor Victoria Tischler.

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