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Ethics of Care in Mental Health Archives in London

July 14, 2022 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm UTC+0


Typist, Artist, Pirate, King: Representing the life of Audrey Amiss though a mental health lens Dr. Anna Sexton seeks to consider what adopting an ethics of care means when stewarding collections that document mental health lived experience. Self-described on her passport as a typist, artist, pirate and king, Audrey Amiss won a scholarship to the Royal Academy School of Art in London in 1954 but was unable to complete her studies due to a breakdown that resulted in incarceration at Warlingham Park Hospital via MayDay Hospital, Croydon. The Audrey Amiss Archive, deposited at the Wellcome Library in London, will be used as a case study to surface the ethical tensions that arise when mainstream collecting institutions with a remit to document health and medicine take in personal collections under the auspices of seeking to better represent the perspective of the mentally ill patient.

The paper will explore how shifting institutional remits and perspectives at the Wellcome have influenced how Audrey’s life and archive has been positioned, described, and interpreted by the Wellcome and its users. The Caring Archive: A Case Study of documenting mental health Dr. Hannah Ishmael will discuss Black Cultural Archives’ approach to cataloguing the papers of African American activist Melba Wilson who has spent almost 40 years in London. This collection documents not only Melba Wilson’s role in the development of the Black Women’s Movement and Black feminism in Britain but also her extensive role in ensuring greater equity in the development of mental health services across the United Kingdom. In this paper I will outline our approach to attempting to develop a framework that encapsulates this vision of ethics of care and collaboration but analysis the tension between current cataloguing practices and an attempt to disrupt them.

Presenter Bios

Dr. Anna Sexton, UCL

Dr. Hannah Ishmael, UCL


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This session will be recorded and made available on AERI YouTube.


July 14, 2022
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm UTC+0
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