Some of you may have noticed that it’s gotten a little quiet here at asylumscience recently. This is chiefly due to two exciting developments: the first being that I submitted my thesis last month, and the second – rather more exciting – being Mike’s appointment as Lecturer in History of Science at the University of Leeds! Both causes for congratulation, but also causes that have led to the blog being a little neglected as we get to grips with a new term of teaching, publication plans, and new roles.
It’s just over a year now since we held our ‘Science in the Asylum’ conference at the site of the old West Riding Lunatic Asylum in Wakefield, Yorkshire. Since then, Mike has continued to work alongside staff at the Stephen Beaumont Museum of Mental Health, and we’ve had a range of blog posts expanding on the themes we addressed at the conference. We’ve considered surgery in the asylum, if the weather might affect our mental health, even the role of horses in the history of neurology.
The blog has also led to some fantastic opportunities for collaboration. In July Simon Tombs, a teacher of Psychology at Devonport High School for Girls, wrote a guest post for us on how he and his colleagues had put together a project on King George III for a group of the school’s pupils and exchange students. Simon’s project was a brilliant example of how the history of psychiatry can be incorporated into the curriculum. Earlier this year, I participated in some research being undertaken by journalism students at London’s City University for a short documentary they were making on modern ‘psychosurgery’. Alongside this, we’ve had a number of interested queries from students researching the field, showing that the history of psychiatry and neurology holds an enduring fascination for many people.
As 2013 comes to a close, asylumscience will remain online as a resource – though posts won’t be as regular as they were previously, we still hope to be able to offer some new posts as our own research progresses (and we’d still love to hear from you if you’d like to write something!). Mike will keep you updated on the work he’s doing with the Stephen Beaumont Museum, and in the not-too-distant future we expect to have a permanent published record of several of the papers given at ‘Science in the Asylum’ – so please watch this space!