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Dr Brigit McWade

Teaching Associate, Research Associate

Brigit McWade


Tel: +44 1524 595225

Office Hours:

Fridays at 10am

Research overview

I am interested broadly in mental health, in particular work around creating alternatives to psychiatry and psychopharmacology. These issues are linked to subjectivity, activism, disability, capitalism, marketisation, health care, relationality, risk, governance, biomedicalisation, rights and responsibilities. I am also very interested in aesthetics, media & cultural studies, art practice, display, and feminist technoscience (especially the work of Donna Haraway).

Thesis Title

Enacting Recovery in an English NHS "Arts for Mental Health" Service

Thesis Outline

I am an ESRC 1+3 funded student. For my doctoral research I conducted an ethnographic study with an British NHS "arts for mental health" service to explore the implications of contemporary 'recovery-orientated' policy initiatives and imperatives in mental health care. My research methods comprised accessing the service as a service-user would do for six months, interviewing staff and service-users, photo-documentary and document analysis. I draw upon feminist cultural studies of science and technology to explore how mulitple and conflicting versions of "recovery" are enacted in policy and practice. I argue that contemporary mental health care positions its patients within an untenable paradox - to submit to treatment and become independent, contributing "citizens" through self-responsibility and self-care. I ask how recovery discourses  can realistically fit with the legal-medico imperative to medicate the severely "mentally ill" first and foremost. Overall, I discuss the development of "recovery" in the wider socio-economic context of the increasing marketisation of healthcare and the dismantling of the welfare state in contemporary Britain.

Supervised By

Dr. Celia Roberts and Dr. Imogen Tyler

Current Teaching

I am a Teaching Fellow in the Sociology Department. I teach on Gender & Women's Studies 101 and Media & Cultural Studies 200 (Critical Cultural Theory), SOCL317 (Imaging the Body) and SOCL324 (Media in a Global age).


BA Sociology (1st class with honours), MA Sociological Research Methods (Distinction), Supported Learning Award. All attained at Lancaster University.

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