School of History, Classics and Archaeology

Staff Profile

Dr Vicky Long

Senior Lecturer (20th Century British)

Background

I joined Newcastle University in 2018 following research and lectureship posts at Warwick, Manchester, Northumbria and Glasgow Caledonian Universities. I’m a historian of modern British history, labour history and health history, and have published articles and books on the history of mental health services; occupational health history; work and mental health; health, work and gender, and disability history

I’m a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and in 2014, I was appointed a member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Young Academy of Scotland, serving on the Health and Wellbeing working group. I also serve on the Wellcome Trust Research Resources Committee and the editorial board for Palgrave’s Mental Health in Historical Perspective book series.

Research

My research links the fields of modern British history and health history, and has focused to date on mental health, occupational health and disability, and work and gender. I completed my PhD thesis in 2004 at the University of Warwick and later revised and extended this research to complete my 2014 book, Destigmatising Mental Illness? This work examined mental healthcare workers' efforts to educate the public, and argues that psychiatrists, nurses and social workers generated representations of mental illness which reflected their professional aspirations, economic motivations and perceptions of the public. Sharing in the stigma of their patients, healthcare workers sought to enhance the prestige of their professions by focussing upon the ability of psychiatry to effectively treat acute cases of mental disturbance. I concluded that as a consequence, healthcare workers inadvertently reinforced the stigma attached to serious and enduring mental distress.

Recently, I have turned my attention to post-war mental health services in Britain, publishing -  individually and in collaboration with Despo Kritsotaki and Matt Smith - on the limitations of deinstitutionalisation and how evolving policies and practices affected the care of long-stay patients. I also have a longstanding interest in the relationship between work and mental health, which brings together my interests in mental health and occupational health, and have published articles and book chapters on this topic.

My other main strand of research examines occupational health and disability, while also considering the gendering of work and of workplace. My work as research assistant at Warwick University on the Wellcome project grant, 'The Politics and Practices of Health in Britain' resulted in my 2011 book, The Rise and Fall of the Healthy Factory. Focussing on the role of the Trades Union Congress, I analysed the politics of industrial health, studying the negotiations which took place between the government, the unions, employers and the medical profession as efforts were made to actualise the vision of the healthy factory and implement a national occupational health service. I subsequently worked as co-investigator on the collaborative Wellcome-funded programme grant, 'Disability and Industrial Society: A Comparative Cultural History of British Coalfields, 1780-1948', which was led by Swansea University.

goals by a) undertaking a rigorous literature review and scoping potential sources; b) holding workshops with academics, and stakeholders from medicine and the voluntary sector to inform the project's design and approach, and to identify further sources, as well as collaboration and engagement opportunities; and c) to design a methodology for the project which enables women's voices to be heard, and secure ethical approval for this methodology.

In 2018, I started work on a new research project, 'Decision Making in Pregnancy after 1970'. Funded via a Wellcome seed award, I aim to examine the sociocultural context of prenatal screening and diagnostic technologies, and their impact upon women and their partners by a) undertaking a rigorous literature review and scoping potential sources; b) holding workshops with academics, and stakeholders from medicine and the voluntary sector to inform the project's design and approach, and to identify further sources, as well as collaboration and engagement opportunities; and c) to design a methodology for the project which enables women's voices to be heard, and secure ethical approval for this methodology.

Current PhD supervisions:

Rachel Hewitt, 'Highly evolved: epileptic colonies and "the epileptic", 1870-1935' (Glasgow Caledonian University: funded by the Wellcome Trust)

Jennifer Farquharson, 'Citizen soldier: the marginalized civilian patient in war-time Scotland, c. 1914-1930' (Glasgow Caledonian University: funded by a GCU Studentship).

I welcome enquires from prospective PhD students with interests in modern British healthcare policy and practice, particularly the fields of reproductive health, psychiatry and mental health, and occupational health and disability; and those with interests in the socio-cultural history of twentieth-century Britain more broadly.

Publications