About

Mind Reading was founded upon a simple question: do clinicians and patients speak the same language, and how might we use literature to bridge the evident gaps? We are interested in how literature might function as a source of comfort or a frame of reference in moments of pain, trauma, and physical and mental illness, in how medical and clinical knowledge might be deployed and refracted through literary worlds, as well as the ways in which literary techniques like textual analysis might be employed as tools to foster understanding between medical learners, healthcare providers, service users, and family members.
 
Our activities and conference function as independent events, but are brought together by their intent to explore the best ways of drawing on the insights of historical and literary research in contemporary medical practice in the field of mental health.
 
Dr Elizabeth Barrett
 
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Dr Elizabeth Barrett is a Consultant in Liaison Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street and an Associate Professor at UCD. She graduate from University College Cork. Her early interest in the interface between physical illness and mental health stemmed from basic training and membership examinations in paediatric medicine prior to training in Psychiatry. She worked at Great Ormond Street and the South London and Maudsley Trust prior to taking up her post at Temple St and UCD. Clinically, Dr Barrett advocates for enhanced services for children and adolescents with both medical and mental health illnesses in paediatric settings. She holds a masters degree in Medical Education and has developed several national postgraduate training initiatives, often with an interdisciplinary focus, in conjunction with UCD, the College of Psychiatrists, the RCPI and with the Lucena Clinic. She has a long standing interest in interdisciplinary aspects of the arts and mental health, leading to this current collaboration.
 
 
Dr Melissa Dickson
 
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Dr Melissa Dickson joined the English Department at the University of Birmingham as a Lecturer in Victorian Literature in January 2018. She is the author of Cultural Encounters with the Arabian Nights in Nineteenth-Century Britain (2019), co-author of Anxious Times: Medicine and Modernity in Nineteenth-Century Britain, and co-editor of Progress and Pathology: Medicine and Culture in the Nineteenth Century (2020). Before joining Birmingham, Dr Dickson worked for 4 years as a Postdoctoral Researcher on ‘The Diseases of Modern Life’, an ERC funded project based at St Anne’s College, Oxford, investigating nineteenth-century cultural, literary, and medical understandings of stress, overwork, and other disorders associated in the period with the problems of modernity. At Oxford, she was part of a team investigating nineteenth-century cultural, literary, and medical understandings of stress, overwork, and other disorders associated in the period with the problems of modernity. Her own work within the project focused on education and over-pressure, and nervous disorders and phobias. Melissa’s work is inherently interdisciplinary in nature, and her research focuses on the relationships between literature, science, and medicine in the long nineteenth century. 
 
 
Dr Clare Hayes-Brady
 

Dr Clare Hayes-Brady is an Associate Professor in American Literature at University College Dublin and the author of The Unspeakable Failures of David Foster Wallace, published by Bloomsbury Academic (2016), out now in paperback. She is also the editor of the Journal of David Foster Wallace Studies, and has published widely on aspects of contemporary fiction. Other research interests include medical humanities and narrative medicine; the interaction of literature with film; transatlantic cultural heritage; performative sexuality, resistant gender modes and the history of burlesque; digital humanities and modes of transmission; adolescence in contemporary fiction, and dystopian narrative.