Professor Brendan Stone  Brendan Stone

Tel: (0)114-222-8495

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My academic interests are various, but one important strand centres on the development of initiatives which have genuine social impact and also offer undergraduate and postgraduate students chances to develop practical experience and knowledge. My PhD (2004) focused on the relationship between narrative and human identity, with a specific focus on experiences of distress and trauma as described in first-person autobiographical writing. A lot of my subsequent work has involved me in working with people who live with severe and enduring mental distress (or mental illness), and with statutory and third-sector organisations which provide support. I also work with neighbourhoods and communities to help build understandings of cohesion and wellbeing through the study of residents' stories, and frequently participate in partnerships and collaborations with a wide range of organisations.

I was awarded a Chair in January 2013 for my work in the areas of social and civic engagement, teaching innovation and excellence, leadership in widening participation, and my work in equality and diversity particularly in the fields of disability and mental health.

My route into working in academia has been a slightly unconventional one. I left school at 16 with few qualifications, and returned to education in my mid-thirties on a university access course.


I have developed and taught on a wide range of courses in various disciplines, including English Literature, Medicine, and Social Work. Over the last few years I have led the Storying Sheffield course (and wider project) in which School of English undergraduates work alongside Sheffield people, usually from less advantaged backgrounds, in order to co-produce narrative representations of their lives in the city. You can read more about Storying Sheffield at the project website (linked below - or search for 'Storying Sheffield'). I also lead the related course 'Researching Community Stories' in which undergraduates work with local residents to research community assets and challenges through the production and analysis of stories. These and other courses often include public events, such as the annual popular Storying Sheffield exhibition.

I have also designed and led courses in dystopian literature; medicine and narrative ethics; user perspectives in social work; the novella and the uncanny; trauma, identity and narrative.

In 2012 I was awarded a Higher Education Academy National Teaching Fellowship for excellence in learning and teaching. I have also been awarded a University of Sheffield Senate Award for Excellence in Learning and Teaching.


My research (and teaching) often involves me in working with users of mental health services. I am currently working with a range of initiatives in which service-users are supported in using creative arts and digital media to explore and communicate their experience and influence healthcare policy and practice. I am always keen to hear from individuals, groups, or organisations who want to develop similar or related work. I am a long-time mental health service-user myself, and have a strong commitment to the rights and empowerment of individuals using mental health services and/or living with mental distress. I am committed to promoting service-user led research wherever this is feasible.

I am a Senior Fellow for The Institute of Mental Health, and a Director of the Recovery Enterprises charity. I frequently work with the Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust which is responsible for mental healthcare across Sheffield, and have also served as a governor.

I am currently supervising six PhD students:

Ruth Kilner, Un-becoming the illness: the shaping of personal over medical narratives for mental health service users through life-story interviews, performed as autobiographical verbatim theatre

Vicky Grant, Knowing as Healing: A narrative investigation into how patients with IBS can use information gain autonomy in their care (Interdisciplinary PhD co-located between School of English and School of Medicine Dentistry and Health, TuOS)

Jackie Hopson, The Psychiatrist in Fiction

Matthew Colbeck, The Struggle for Identity in Coma Literature

Solange Ayache, Theatres of the Mental Space: Women and Trauma in Sarah Kane's and Martin Crimp's writings (1993-present) towards a Psychopoetics of the Voice'. (PhD co-located between School of English, TUOS and Université Paris IV-Sorbonne.)

Jack Windle, ' Class, Culture and Colonialism: Working-Class Writing in Postwar Britain'.


‘How can I speak of madness? Narrative and identity in memoirs of mental illness’, in Brian Roberts (ed.), Narrative, Memory and Identity: Theoretical and Methodological Issues (Huddersfield: University of Huddersfield Press, 2004), pp. 49-59.
‘Towards a writing without power: Notes on the narration of madness’, Auto/Biography, 12.1 (2004), 16–33.
‘Speaking of the Everyday: Psychosis and writing’, in Brian Roberts (ed.), Narrative, Memory and Everyday Life (Huddersfield: University of Huddersfield Press, 2005), pp. 169-177.
‘Diaries, self-talk, and psychosis: writing as a place to live’, Auto/Biography, 14.1 (2006), 41-59.
‘Knowing, Not-knowing, Fiction: Remembering Ross David Burke’, in Brian Roberts (ed.), Narrative, Memory and Knowledge: Representations, Aesthetics & Contexts (Huddersfield: University of Huddersfield Press, 2006), pp. 91-101.
'Why Fiction Matters to Madness', in David Robinson (ed.), Narrative and Fiction: An Interdisciplinary Approach (Huddersfield: University of Huddersfield Press, 2008), pp. 71-78.
'Sch!zo', Social Alternatives 27.4 (2008), 53.
'Running Man', Qualitative Research in Sport and Exercise, 1.1 (March 2009), 67-71.
'An anti-discriminatory approach to therapy with seriously distressed clients', in Lago, C. & Smith, B., (eds.), Anti-Discriminatory Counselling and Psychotherapy Practice, 2nd Edition (London: Sage, 2010), pp. 75-85.
Stone, B., Wilson, A. & Beresford P., ‘Madness and distress: From individual to collective narratives,’ Narratives of learning and teaching about mental health (Lancaster: MHHE, 2011) (in press).
Stone, B., Film narratives of recovery (Sheffield: University of Sheffield/ SHSC, 2011)
Stone, B., Wilson, A. & Beresford P., ‘Madness and distress: From individual to collective narratives,’ Narratives of learning and teaching about mental health(Lancaster: MHHE, 2013) (in press).