Re-thinking diagnosis

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This Research & Innovation Doctoral Project brief summarises our priority areas of research interest under the heading of: Re-thinking diagnosis: an artistic approach to diagnosis in mental health.

We welcome all research degree applications aligned with and in response to this brief.

Project brief details

Research suggests that diagnoses can be experienced as helpful by some individuals, providing access to specialist treatment, and a sense of understanding. However, being labelled with a mental health problem can produce feelings of helplessness and self-stigma, as well as problems associated with discrimination (Brohan et al, 2012). 

The aim of this practice-led research project is to contribute to existing knowledge surrounding the concept of diagnosis through a studio-based practice, which utilizes on campus resources. In doing so, the project will further strengthen the connection between artistic research and the medical humanities at Falmouth University, by providing a strong conceptual basis for researchers, from different disciplines, to consider the impact of non-diagnostic artistic methods.

This project is set against a backdrop that aims to help individuals understand their mental health experiences, and enable them to make changes, or accept who they are, by adopting the hypothesis that it is better to see ourselves as people with individual and shared human attributes. Moreover, the artistic research project will aim to provide health professionals with an expanded knowledge of disorder, and a new vision which debates ideals surrounding being diagnosed.

In doing so, the artistic research will confront ideas of helplessness and self-stigma, as well as problems associated with discrimination, by representing human attributes that are positive and accessible.

Indicative Bibliography

Barrett E & Bolt B (2010) (eds) Practice As Research Approaches to Creative Arts Enquiry. London and New York: I.B Tauris
Brohan, E., Henderson, C., Wheat, K., Malcolm, E., Clement, S., Barley, E. A., . . . Thornicroft, G. (2012). Systematic review of beliefs, behaviours and influencing factors associated with disclosure of a mental health problem in the workplace. BMC Psychiatry,12(1).
De Silva, P (2004) 'The Phenomenology Of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder', in Menzies R.G and Silva P.D. (ed.) Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Theory, Research and Treatment. Chichester, England: Wiley & Sons.
De-Silva, P & Rachman, S (2006) (eds) (3rd edn) Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, The Facts. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Klonsky, E.D. (2007) 'The functions of deliberate self-injury: A review of the evidence', Clinical Psychology Review, 27, pp226-239
iss, M. and Polk, E. (2007) 'Psychological characteristics of self-injurious behaviour', Personality and Individual Differences, 43, pp 567-577

Strategic alignment

Projects deriving from this brief are expected to sit within the following Research & Innovation programme and department:

ProgrammeDesign for Health and Wellbeing
DepartmentFalmouth School of Art

As successful research degree project proposals must emphasise a clear alignment between the project idea and one or more of our Research & Innovation programmes, we recommend that you review details of the programme aligned to this brief before you complete the application process.


Project brief lead

Dr Tom Baugh staff image
Dr Tom Baugh image

Proposed supervisor: Dr Tom Baugh

Thomas's art practice serves to strengthen the research, which currently exists in medical fields surrounding the concept of disorder and diagnosis. In doing so the artistic research aims to provide health professionals and the general public with accessible information about disorder and diagnosis that can be used to plan services, support research studies and public health campaigns to reduce stigma, increase self-efficacy and generate improvements in mental health.

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How to apply

Apply for a Research MPhil or PhD

We welcome all research degree applications aligned with this Doctoral Project brief.​To apply in response to this brief or learn about the application process view:

Apply for a Research Degree
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Project brief & project proposal enquiries

To discuss this project brief, ideas or project proposal responding to this brief, please contact: Dr Tom Baugh.


Application enquiries

For all other application related enquires please contact the Research & Development team.


T: 01326 255831

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