National Teaching Fellow 2012
Dr Brendan Stone’s work focuses on developing initiatives which have tangible social impact, and offer undergraduate and postgraduate students opportunities to develop their experience and knowledge in practical demonstrable ways.
His interdisciplinary expertise centres on the study of how narrative, and other forms of representation, can illuminate our understanding of wellbeing, mental illness, social exclusion, community, and social cohesion. He has been influential in supporting and developing the University’s ‘civic’ identity, and frequently works in partnership with commercial, public-sector and third-sector organisations.
Brendan has developed several highly innovative initiatives including the Storying Sheffield project, a central component being a degree module in which undergraduates and residents of the city with disabilities and/or mental health problems study together at the University. They then stage a public exhibition of narrative artefacts which examine contemporary urban life. Brendan’s students have also worked with a variety of groups including older people with dementia in residential care; new women migrants to the UK; women who worked in the Sheffield steel industry during World War II (from which the acclaimed student-made Women of Steel film was produced); and school children.
Brendan has developed and led educational projects within a high-security psychiatric hospital, and has worked extensively with NHS Trusts and local authorities to understand and articulate the benefits of education to people living with serious mental illness. He has also developed courses in Medicine and Social Work which require students to engage at a deep and personal level with patients and clients, and with the conceptual underpinnings of their disciplines, using insights from arts, social science and medicine. Brendan frequently contributes to, develops, and leads equality and diversity initiatives including work on mental health and employment, and developing support mechanisms for students with complex mental health needs.
Leaving school at 16 with few qualifications, Brendan returned to education in his mid-thirties on a university access course. He has personal experience of long-term disability and unemployment, and views this non-traditional background as an asset and a major influence in shaping his approach to his work.
Senior University Teacher, School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics
University of Sheffield