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Ed Kiely

Ed Kiely

PhD student

I am a health geographer with interests in economic, cultural and feminist geographies, and social theory. My PhD research explores the relationship between austerity and the regulation of mental health in contemporary Britain.



  • Junior Editor, Southbank Centre (2014-15)
  • Senior Researcher, Flamingo (2015-17)

Academic qualifications

  • 2010 MA (Cantab) Social and Political Sciences (1st), University of Cambridge
  • 2018 MPhil Geographical Research (Distinction), University of Cambridge

Awards, honours and grants

  • ESRC 1+3 Studentship (2017-21)
  • Lush Charity Pot grant (2020)
  • Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness symposium grant (2019)
  • CRASSH Conference Grant (2019-20)
  • Sir Robbie Jennings Fund, Jesus College (2019)
  • Graduate Research Fund, Jesus College (2018 & 2019)
  • Philip Lake II Fund, Dept of Geography (2018 & 2019)
  • Scholarship, Jesus College (2019)
  • Highly Commended, OSCEA award for Inclusive Practice (2019)
  • Polity Press Prize for best exam results in Sociology (2009)
  • Scholarship, Emmanuel College (2009 & 2010)


My PhD project examines the impact of austerity on geographies of mental health care. Through a multi-sited ethnography of several council-funded mental health services in the East of England, my research explores both the political, cultural and economic logics of austerity and the everyday affects it produces. Working with 'service users' and service providers, my aim is to understand the mental health service landscape that has emerged since the recession. I build on existing geographical work on personalisation, marketisation and deinstitutionalisation in health services to analyse the transient geographies of mental health care which constitute this landscape.

I am particularly interested in how health services frame, interpret and attempt to regulate 'mental health', and how people's experiences of care are affected by cost-cutting imperatives and the precarity they induce. This connects into a broader set of questions about power, bureaucracy, normative regulation and emerging regimes of welfare and care under late capitalism. My approach is influenced by feminist ethics and participatory approaches and I am indebted to the ongoing critical work of psychiatric survivor movements and Mad Studies scholars.

Before returning to academia I worked as a cultural researcher and strategist for organisations including Channel 4, Diageo, Universal Music and the BBC World Service. My co-authored research for Twitter received two international awards in 2016.


Review essays

Press articles

Invited talks

  • 'Mental health in the "holding pattern": austerity, recovery and "waiting-in-motion"'. Mental Health in an Age of Austerity (5th Annual Shared Solidarities symposium), DMU, Leicester, October 2019

Conference papers

  • 'Ambiguities of consent and sensitive data.' Whose wellbeing? The challenges of doing sensitive research. RGS-IBG conference, London, August 2019
  • 'Waiting "without nothing": Mental health services and the longue durée of austerity.' Time and Austerity: Troubled pasts/hopeful futures? RGS-IBG conference, London, August 2019
  • Making space for lived experience? 'Co-producing' a conference with and for people with experience of mental health challenges. Inaccessible Access in the Academy and Beyond (workshop), UCL, London, July 2019
  • 'Enduring the "holding pattern": Techniques for waiting in post-austerity mental health services.' Exhaustion, endurance and living on. AAG Annual Meeting, Washington DC, April 2019.
  • 'Enduring the 'holding pattern': Techniques for waiting in post-austerity mental health services.' Vital Geographies graduate seminar, Department of Geography, Cambridge, March 2019.
  • '"I'm no good with dates": Linking micro to macro in mental health research.' ENRGHI, Bristol, June 2018.

Conferences and workshops

  • Convenor, Social Power and Mental Health (conference). CRASSH, Cambridge, April 2021
  • Convenor, Blurred Boundaries: Caring Institutions in Uncertain Times (paper session). RGS-IBG conference, London, August 2021
  • Convenor, Hopeful, troubled or both together? New geographies of mental health and wellbeing (paper session). RGS-IBG conference, London, August 2019
  • Convenor, Graduate Workshop with Prof. James C. Scott, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, May 2019
  • Convenor, Graduate Workshop with Prof. Linda McDowell, October 2018
  • Conventor, Graduate Workshop with Prof. Ananya Roy, January 2018
  • Participant, Teaching in Geography, Earth and Environmental Science. Royal Geographical Society, online, October 2020
  • Participant, GHWRG Virtual Hack Day, Royal Geographical Society, online, August 2020
  • Participant, GHWRG Hack Day, Royal Geographical Society, London, August 2019



  • SECHI, Clinical School (2020–
  • Unequal geographies (2019)
  • Political appetites (2018–)
  • Part II dissertation supervisions (2018–)
  • Writing programme, Jesus College (2017)

Session leader

  • HE+ residential, Jesus College (2018)


  • Part 1B, Paper 2: Austerity (2020)

External activities

  • Graduate member, AAG (2018–)
  • Convenor, Graduate Wellbeing Programme (2018–19)
  • Graduate convenor, Vital Geographies (2018–19)
  • Convenor, Das Kapital reading group (2018–9)
  • Convenor, Anti-Oedipus reading group (2018–9)
  • MPhil rep, Graduate Student Committee (2017–18)
  • MPhil rep, Graduate Teaching Committee (2017–18)