Dr Neil Armstrong
Academic position: Stipendiary Lecturer in Social and Cultural Anthropology
I am Stipendiary Lecturer in Social and Cultural Anthropology and Director of Studies for the Archaeology and Anthropology degree at Magdalen. I am also non-stipendiary Fellow and Tutor in Anthropology at Harris Manchester College. I am affiliated to the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography and to the University Department of Psychiatry.
In Magdalen, 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 give lectures in medical anthropology for graduate students. I also co-convene a graduate class in coproduction and autoethnography. I supervise doctoral students working in the anthropology of mental health.
My research investigates mental health. My focus is on improving how mental healthcare is organised, rather than developing and evaluating new interventions.
A feature of my research is that I coproduce ethnography, sharing authorship and working with people to write about their lives. A book containing coproduced ethnography and autoethnography, Everybody Knows: Collaborative Ethnographic Working in Mental Healthcare will be published by Routledge in 2023.I am currently writing a book about recovery from mental illness that includes co-authored ethnography produced with services users.
I am Student Mental Health Research Associate at King’s College London, where I am conducting a long-term ethnographic investigation of how to make the campus compassionate.
With colleagues at the University of the Arts London, I am involved in developing rituals that promote social connection and reduce loneliness through acts of public silliness.
I am co-editor (and co-author of four papers) for a forthcoming special edition of the journal History of Psychiatry: ‘The processes and context of innovation in mental healthcare: Oxfordshire as a case study’ to be published in 2023.
I am a Research Fellow at Re:Create Psychiatry, an organisation that works to facilitate productive dialogue between people who experience mental health problems, clinicians and researchers. https://recreatepsychiatry.com/
I am a member of the local NHS Clinical Ethics Advisory Group and Associate Editor of the BJPsych Bulletin https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5458-9066
I am a member of the local NHS Clinical Ethics Advisory Group and Associate Editor of the BJPsych Bulletin https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
Armstrong, N and K Pratt-Boyden, 2021 ‘Silver linings: how mental health activists can help us navigate wicked problems’ BJ Psych Bulletin 45 (4): 227 – 230
Armstrong N and Agulnik, P, 2020 ‘“I was at the right place in the right time” The neglected role of happenstance in the lives of people and institutions.’ HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 10 (3): 890–905
Armstrong N, 2018. What leads to innovation in mental healthcare? Some reflections on clinical expertise in a bureaucratic age.’ BJ Psych Bulletin 42 (5): 184-187)
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