I am Stipendiary Lecturer in Social and Cultural Anthropology and Director of Studies for the Archaeology and Anthropology degree at Magdalen.
In college, I give tutorials in the core papers in anthropology for undergraduates taking the Archaeology and Anthropology degree. I also give tutorials in anthropology for Human Sciences undergraduates. In the wider university, I run a lecture series on the anthropology of religion and offer lectures in medical anthropology for graduate students. I also co-convene a graduate class in ethnographic portraiture and a class in anthropological theory.
My own research investigates mental health. I am particularly interested in how the institutional setting shapes so much of mental healthcare. My research aims 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. https://recreatepsychiatry.com/ 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. https://www.smarten.org.uk/
Armstrong N, 2017 ‘Knowing more by knowing less? A reading of ‘Give Me Everything You Have. On being stalked’ by James Lasdun.’ Journal of Medical Humanities 38 (3): 287-302.
Armstrong N, Price J and Geddes J, 2015: ‘Serious but not solemn: rebalancing the assessment of risks and benefits of patient recruitment materials.’ Research Ethics 11: 98-107
Armstrong N, 2012: ‘What can we learn from service user memoirs? Information and service user experience.’ The Psychiatrist (36) 341 – 344
Armstrong N, 2018. What leads to innovation in mental healthcare? Some reflections on clinical expertise in a bureaucratic age. BJPsychiatric Bulletin 42 (5): 184-187