Dr Neil Armstrong
I am Stipendiary Lecturer in Social and Cultural Anthropology and Director of Studies for the Archaeology and Anthropology degree at Magdalen College.
My research investigates mental health. I am particularly interested in how the institutional setting shapes so much of mental healthcare. I am aim to find ways that we might improve healthcare institutions rather than just focussing on developing new healthcare interventions. I am also concerned with methodological questions: how anthropological work can be of clinical value, and how best to produce anthropological knowledge in an inclusive way.
I am currently writing a book about recovery from mental illness that includes co-authored ethnography produced with services users.
I am involved in a number of other research ventures. One of my interests is personal transformation. This is the focus of ongoing work with people who have overcome addiction to drugs. With colleagues at the University of the Arts London, I am investigating ways that shared creative activity might promote social connection or bonding that could protect against mental ill health. And, as academic lead in Re:Create Psychiatry, I work to facilitate productive dialogue between people who experience mental health problems, clinicians and researchers. I am Co-Investigator on the UKRI-funded Smarten project where I form part of an interdisciplinary team seeking to understand the apparent epidemic of student mental ill health. Part of my role is to lead a group of student ethnographers exploring how students negotiate the frontier between ordinary distress and mental ill health.