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Dr Natalie Mullen

Former Research Student

Natalie Mullen

Thesis Title

'Negotiating the Asylum: Patient Agency and Asylum Authority in Lancaster County Asylum, 1840-1915'


My PhD project seeks to understand the experiences of individuals who were confined as patients in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century asylums. I am particularly interested in investigating the relationship between medical authority and patient agency in the institution. Using Lancaster County Asylum as a case study, I use medical records, objects, photographs, architecture and spatial analyses to explore the ways in which patients rejected, coped with or engaged with medical authority. 

Research Grants

AHRC Doctoral Award (Oct 2015 - Sept 2018)

ESRC Interdisciplinary Event Fund (Aug 2017)

Supervised By

Dr. John Welshman, Lancaster University

Additional Information

Conferences, Workshops and Symposiums:


  • 'Negotiating the Asylum: Patient Agency in Lancashire County Asylum 1840-1915' Social History Society Conference, Institute of Education (UCL), London, April 2017.


  • 'Getting out of the Asylum: Running away and patient agency in Lancashire County Asylum, 1840-1915' Re-thinking the Institution in the Long Nineteenth Century, John Moores University, Liverpool, June 2017.


  • '"The Geography of License": Asylum Architecture and Patient Agency in Lancaster’s County Asylum, 1840-1915' Inaugral Congress of the Northern Network for the Medical Humanities, University of Durham, September, 2017.


  • 'Locating Patient Agency: Patient Responses to Confinement in Lancaster County Asylum, 1840-1915' Patient Voices: Historical and Ethical Engagement with Patient Experiences of Healthcare 1850-1948, University of Oxford, September 2017.


Public Engagement:


I have participated in a number of public enagement events involving various community groups in Lancashire. In particular I was involved in the 'Left Behind: Capturing the Moor Hospital' exhibition at Lancaster City Museum 3 Dec 2016 - 19 Feb 2017 contributing public history talks on Lancaster Asylum. I have also contributed to 'Whittingham Lives', a three-year Heritage Lottery funded project, co-delivering a workshop on the ethical ramifications of malaria treatment at Whittingham, and provided a public lecture on patient responses to confinement in Lancaster Asylum.

Current Teaching

I currently teach on HIST100 'From the Ancient to Modern: History and Historians'.

I have also contributed to HIST199 'Lancaster A Place in Space and Time' and MA History modules HIST434 'Critical Heritage Studies' and HIST401 'Researching and Writing History'.

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