Post-Graduate Steering Committee
Sasha Bergstrom-Katz is an artist and second-year PhD candidate at Birkbeck, University of London in Psychosocial Studies. Her work looks at how the human sciences (particularly psy-disciplines) produce people as subjects and is specifically interested in how the subject is re-presented to itself through examination, study and diagnosis. She holds a three-year MFA in Art from the University of California, Irvine and exhibits internationally in arts and theatre spaces.
Bethany Chapman is a final year ESRC-funded PhD student working with the Birkbeck BRiC Centre (Building Resilience in Breast Cancer Centre). Her research focuses on the impact of cancer-related cognitive impairment and emotional distress on work ability in women affected by breast cancer. She is also investigating the efficacy of cognitive training in helping women to improve their work sustainability and productivity. Her most recent work, however, has elucidated the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the cognitive, emotional and occupational health of women living with breast cancer in the UK.
Pedro Ferreira holds a PhD in Neuroscience from the Champalimaud Foundation and the New University of Lisbon (2016) and a Wellcome-funded MSc in Science Communication (Science Media Production) from Imperial College London (2018). He is currently researching an interdisciplinary PhD at the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology (HCA) at Birkbeck, in which he is using critical, cultural and literary theories to explore the reception history of theories of mental health, focusing on the conception and reception of Attachment Theory post-1939. Pedro is also an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He can be found on LinkedIn, on Twitter @BrainyJabber, and at pedroferreira.science.
Becka Hudson is a doctoral student at Birkbeck’s Criminology and UCL’s Medical Anthropology departments, looking at the use of diagnostic tools in the UK prison system, particularly for people with personality disorder. She is particularly interested in how criminal justice infrastructure was utilised in the British Empire, and the relationship of these developments to contemporary iterations of class, race and imperialism. Becka frequently works as a campaigner around criminal justice issues and occasionally appears in popular press to discuss imprisonment and policing.
Cora Salkovskis is a third-year doctoral student, researching the history of mental health and the lived experience of insanity in the nineteenth and early-twentieth century. Her work engages with phenomenological approaches to insanity and the asylum, asking how historians might understand meaning and lived experience of hallucinations, delusion, and the body through different positionalities of the clinical encounter. She completed her undergraduate and master’s degrees at the University of Oxford, before coming to Birkbeck for her PhD in 2017, funded by the Wellcome Trust. She is also currently co-convenor of the History of the Human Sciences seminar series, the HCA PGR Student Rep at Birkbeck, and on the organising committee of the Challenging Research Network.
Hannah Blythe is an ESRC-funded PhD student in Cambridge History Faculty, co-supervised by Peter Mandler, Cambridge University, and Sarah Marks, Birkbeck. Hannah’s PhD thesis examines British community-based mental health charities between 1879 and 1939, and she is more broadly interested in using the mental health humanities to examine recovery and psychotherapy. Prior to her PhD studies, Hannah worked in policy and research in the charity and local government sectors. She holds an MA in Health Humanities from UCL and a BA in History from Durham University.
Kiara Wickremasinghe is a second-year PhD candidate in Social Anthropology at SOAS University of London. She holds a Bloomsbury Colleges PhD Studentship and is supervised by Prof David Mosse (SOAS) and Dr Sarah Marks (Birkbeck). Her PhD is part of a broader ESRC-funded Anthropological Study of Peer-Supported Open Dialogue which follows an NHS randomised controlled trial seeking to implement a social network approach to psychiatric crisis care. Previously, Kiara read for a BA in Geography at the University of Cambridge (2016) and an MA in Music in Development at SOAS University of London (2017).