Natassia Brenman is an ESRC postdoctoral research fellow based at Goldsmiths sociology department, mentored by Professor Monica Greco. Her research uses ethnographic methods to explore the technologies, temporalities, and spaces of mental health and care. Natassia is currently developing work on detecting dementia in her new project on time and technology in neurodegenerative disease. This project speaks to a broader set of interests in the changing face of psychiatric diagnosis, including different or emergent ways of making sense of the ‘normal’ and the ‘pathological’ in mental health. Natassia received her PhD from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in Medical Anthropology, and she currently holds an honorary position at the University of Cambridge Institute of Public Health.
Natassia Brenman works at the intersection of medical anthropology, sociology and feminist science & technology studies. She conducts ethnographic research into mental health and care, primarily in the UK.
She is currently interested in themes of temporality, technology, and vitality in the context of neurodegenerative disease. She will develop these ideas for a new project in partnership with the MRC Dementias Platform UK, aligned with the UKRI industrial strategy on ‘AI and Data’ and ‘the Ageing Society’. This builds on her post doc at the University of Cambridge on social and ethical aspects of detecting dementia in the context of drug development and the emergent field of ‘digital psychiatry’. She is currently publishing this work in Sociology and STS journals and is part of a Special Issue on digital phenotyping in Big Data and Society.
In her work more broadly, Natassia has used ethnography and creative methodologies to generate new modes of engagement with taken-for-granted concepts in mental health and psychiatry, such as diagnosis, need, and in/exclusion. Her PhD on “Place, need, and precarity in UK mental health care” re-thought the problem of ‘access’ within public health infrastructure and particular spaces in the voluntary sector. Natassia has published this work in Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry and Medicine Anthropology Theory.
Natassia is part of a London-based ‘Vitalities Collective’ research group, and is coordinating a Somatosphere blog series with colleagues at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and King’s College London on "Tracking Digital Psy: Mental Health and Technology in an Age of Disruption".
Further profile content
Placing precarity: access and belonging in the shifting landscape of UK mental health care
Brenman, Natassia. 2020. “Placing precarity: access and belonging in the shifting landscape of UK mental health care” Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry.
Pandemic vitality: on living and being alive in lockdown
Brenman, Natassia. 2020. “Pandemic vitality: on living and being alive in lockdown” COVID-19 FORUM, Social Anthropology.
The subjects of digital psychiatry
Bemme, Doerte, Natassia Brenman and Beth Semel. 2020. ”The subjects of digital psychiatry” Somatosphere, October 2020.
A composite case: Thinking with ‘BME’ categories in UK mental health care
Brenman, Natassia. 2019. “A composite case: Thinking with ‘BME’ categories in UK mental health care” Medicine Anthropology Theory, 6 (4) 291–300.
Intersecting Cultures in Deaf Mental Health: An Ethnographic Study of NHS Professionals Diagnosing Autism in D/deaf Children
Brenman, Natassia, Anja H J Hiddinga, and Barry Wright. 2017. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, 41 (3), 431-452.
Public health and bioethics: Natassia has worked on an ethical advisory committee for a large-scale clinical trial platform and continues her contributions to ethics and society working groups in the field of ageing and dementia via an honorary contract at the University of Cambridge. Her current focus for this is the RECORD study: Researching the Effects of Covid On Research in Dementia, in collaboration with her project partners at the University of Oxford and Dementias Platform UK.