Browser does not support script.

Staff Profile

Dr Harriet Barratt

Senior Research Associate (Converge Evaluation Project)

Harriett Barratt, Senior Research Associate

I lead the research team for the Office for Students/Research England-funded Converge evaluation project (2020-22), which is researching the impact of Converge on participants, students, staff, and local partners. This project focuses on student-community knowledge exchange, experiences of educational arts outreach, and the role of space and place in non-clinical mental health support, using qualitative, quantitative, and creative autoethnography research methods. It is co-produced with the Converge Evaluation and Research Team, a group of researchers with lived experience of mental ill health.

I’ve recently published an article on the psychoanalyst Melanie Klein and material spaces of healthcare with Wellcome Open Research, and have a book chapter on Virginia Woolf and Donald Winnicott coming out in the edited volume ‘Matters of the Mind: Materialities of Mental Ill Health and Distress’ (eds. Anna Lavis and Karin Eli, Routledge, forthcoming in 2021). I’m also part of the collaborative project ‘Senses and Modern Health/care Environments‘, led by the University of Bristol, working on an international conference (2021), set of creative publications (2021) and an interdisciplinary monograph (due 2023).

I previously worked in academic publishing for Oxford University Press, communications for the European Commission, public sector bid-writing at the Sector Skills Council for the creative and cultural industries, and arts partnership development/Widening Participation for the University of Brighton’s College of Arts and Humanities. I am a regular oral history volunteer (particularly with the project NHS at 70/NHS: Voices of COVID) and a member of the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust’s Onward Arts Group, helping to advise on the arts and culture programme across the Trust.


My research interests span the critical medical humanities, literature, arts and health, psychoanalysis, public health and social policy, the patient experience, and interdisciplinary methodologies (particularly around narratives of material and sensory experience). In 2019 I completed a PhD entitled ‘Objects of Illness: Winnicott, Materiality, and the Patient Experience’ at the University of Sussex (funded by the CHASE/AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership) on the role and representation of medical objects in literature, psychoanalysis and material culture. During 2016-17 I was resident in the Science Museum’s Medicine team, researching objects in their extensive collections, and in 2019-20 was a Postdoctoral Research Officer on the UKRI-funded project ART/DATA/HEALTH.


Conference presentations

  • The “holding environment” in Melanie Klein’s “Observations after an Operation”: psychoanalytic object relations theory and spaces of healthcare’, ‘Space, Place and Design in the Medical and Health Humanities’ conference, University of Southern Denmark, June 2021 (postponed from June 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
  • ‘Melanie Klein’s “Observations after an Operation”: spaces of healthcare read through psychoanalytic object relations theory’, Association of Medical Humanities Annual Conference on ‘Making Space’, University of Limerick, June 2021 (postponed from June 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
  • ‘“The boy who could not play”: psychoanalytic object relations, play and psychosis in Patrick Hamilton’s Hangover Square’, Association of Medical Humanities Annual Conference on ‘Material Medicine: Objects and Bodies’, Plymouth, June 2019.
  • ‘Prosthetic subjectivities in the Southern Gothic’, British Association of American Studies annual conference, University of Sussex, April 2019.
  • ‘The cement leg: Modernist object relations and the prosthetic’, ‘Modernist Objects’ conference, French Society for Modernist Studies (SEM), Sorbonne, Paris, June 2018.
  • ‘Good air: sickrooms, spaces and sensory experience in the pre-NHS era’, ‘Patient Voices’ conference, University of Oxford, September 2017.
  • ‘The craft of prosthetics’, ‘Craft Modernism’, University of Sussex, June 2017
  • ‘Extending the body: medical objects, modernist patients’, English Graduate Seminar, Sussex, April 2017.
  • ‘The “space between”: the role of the material object in the doctor-patient encounter’, ‘Global and Historical Perspectives on the Doctor-Patient Relationship’ conference, University of Oxford, March 2017.
  • ‘Methodological considerations for material culture, literature and biography’, ‘Interdisciplinary Approaches to Material Culture’ conference, University of Kent, June 2016.

Invited talks, webinars and workshops

  • Invited by the Wellcome Collection to co-lead a roundtable on material methods in the medical humanities as part of the ‘Exploring Research’ series, June 2021 (postponed from June 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
  • ‘Othering Through Isolation and Exclusion: The Psychology of Space, the 'Hostile Environment', and Social Healthcare Movements in the UK’ webinar, CHASE ‘Building Humanitarian Networks’ series, June 2020
  • Invited Chair/moderator for talk by Shital Pravinchandra at the Sussex English Colloquium for a talk on ‘Sherman Alexie’s biomedical fictions’, 6 March 2019.
  • ‘The cement leg: Prosthetics and patient subjectivities’, invited talk at the University of Exeter’s Centre for Medical History Seminar Series, June 2018.
  • Invited to talk at ‘Doctoral Discussions’ event on public engagement, University of Sussex, December 2017.
  • ‘Psychoanalytic objects in the museum’, 10-minute presentation at the Science Museum Medicine Research Group, December 2016.
  • ‘The Charleston dressing table’, 5-minute on-site presentation at Charleston, part of ‘Bloomsbury in Sussex’, a conference run by the ‘Sussex Modernism’ project, University of Sussex, July 2016.
  • ‘Stomach pumps and dressing tables: Absent and insistent objects in the work of Virginia Woolf’, 20-minute invited paper at ‘Medical Objects’ symposium, Birkbeck, July 2016.

Public engagement events

  • ‘The cement leg; Or, how to wear prosthetics’: 20-minute talk at Brighton Catalyst Club (a monthly public event: see, December 2017; repeated at Lewes Catalyst Club, October 2018.
  • ‘Faking It: artificial lives, manufactured bodies’ public engagement event, December 2017.

Professional activities

  • Core collaborator – ‘Senses and Modern Health/Care Environments’ research network, led by the University of Bristol, funded by the Wellcome Trust, 2018–2023 (
  • ‘NHS at 70’ oral history project, University of Manchester (, March 2020 – ongoing
  • ‘Onward Arts’ Board, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, 2013 to present
  • ‘Royal Sussex County Hospital: A People’s History from the 19th to the 21st Century’ (conservation, curation and oral history project designed to preserve hospital heritage), 2017–19
  • ‘Artificial Lives’ conference team, September-December 2017 (
  • Science Museum research placement (funded by CHASE AHRC DTP), September 2016-June 2017 (part-time)
  • ‘Brief Encounters’ Journal Editorial Board – Associate Editor, 2016–18


Cookie Settings