Dr Cheryl McGeachan

  • Senior Lecturer (School of Geographical & Earth Sciences)

telephone: 0141 330 3634
email: Cheryl.McGeachan@glasgow.ac.uk

Ges, Room 407, East Quadrangle, Glasgow G12 8QQ

ORCID iDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-7476-6218

Research interests

I am an historical and social geographer interested in researching the lived experiences of mental ill-health in historical and contemporary contexts. My work is grounded in uncovering worldly encounters with people, place and objects and I have worked with numerous archives, collections and community partners to develop stories of mental ill-health that are often overlooked and ignored.

Mental (ill)health, outsider art and asylum spaces 

I am driven by a desire to understand the worldly configurations and experiences of mental ill-health in a range of contexts. 

Current research includes working in partnership with Glasgow Museums on the Art Extraordinary Collection, a unique collection of Scottish 'outsider art', to create new stories of mental ill-health and creativity. Working in collaboration with Leverndale Recreational Therapy Department, Barlinnie Prison, Project Ability and Gartnavel Hospital we have developed a range of community curated exhibitions and resources. We are currently in the process of developing Glasgow Museums first ever fine art Handling Kit and a permanent exhibition for Kelvingrove Museum. Key to this project is to generate further understanding of the lived experiences of mental ill-health and its associated geographies. 

I have written extensively on asylum worlds, using various biographical tools to track the traces of lives lived and lost in such places. In doing so I draw attention to the importance of humanising the histories and geographies of asylums through the 'voices' and experiences of those who inhabited these spaces. 

Geographical Biographies

School gardens, ecological anxiety and world-building 

I am the Associate Director of the International Green Academy, a collective of researchers from the University of Glasgow and University of Arizona, as well as schools at Glasgow (Boclair Academy & Drumchapel High School) and Tucson (Tucson Unified School District), working together to build new worlds through developing school gardens. We see school gardens as vital political spaces that can challenge societal problems, such as austerity and food insecurity, and aid in creating more hopeful futures. This project is founded on the principles of ecological justice and empowerment. 

Crime, violence and (in)justice 

I am interested in exploring issues of (in)justice through attention to crime and violence. My current research into forensics and police surgery illuminates the possibilites for examining neglected experiences of violence, death and justice making.

Recent work includes exploring the Scottish police surgeon. The nineteenth century figure of the police surgeon undoubtedly played a significant role in the development of forensic medicine in Britain, innovatively fusing legal and medical worlds, yet very little is known about the role and its practices. This work seeks to uncover the practices of the police surgeon in the nineteenth century in three key cities across Scotland (Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh) through the figures of Sir William Macewen, Sir Henry Duncan Littlejohn and Dr Francis Ogston. In doing so, it seeks to develop a ground-breaking understanding of the key practices of Scottish police surgery during the period and to uncover the geographies of the practice in Scotland.   

Body of Work Heritage Podcast: Police Surgeon

 

Key Research Interests

  • Geographies of mental ill-health
  • Asylum and post-asylum geographies
  • Biography and life-writing
  • Violence and forensics 
  • Outsider art and art therapy 
  • School gardens and ecological anxiety
  • Criminal-medical histories and geographies
  • R.D. Laing and the history of psychiatry
  • Psychoanalytic and psychotherapeutic geographies
  • Medical humanities
  • World-building

External Roles 

Chair of the Historical Geography Research Group 

I sit on the Executive Committee for the Medical Humanities Research Centre at the University of Glasgow. 

I am an External Adviser of the Heritage Committee of Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Publications

Selected publications

McGeachan, C. (2013) Needles, picks and an intern named Laing: exploring the psychiatric spaces of Army life. Journal of Historical Geography, 40, pp. 67-78. (doi: 10.1016/j.jhg.2012.10.002)

All publications

List by: Type | Date

Jump to: 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012
Number of items: 24.

2021

McGeachan, C. (2021) Tracking traces of the art extraordinary collection. In: Ellis, R., Kendal, S. and Taylor, S. J. (eds.) Voices in the History of Madness: Personal and Professional Perspectives on Mental Health and Illness. Series: Mental health in historical perspective. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9783030695583 (In Press)

2020

White, R. , McGeachan, C. , Miller, G. and Xenofontos, S. (Eds.) (2020) Special Issue: "Other Psychotherapies” – Healing Interactions Across Time, Geography and Culture [Guest Editors]. Transcultural Psychiatry, 57(6). SAGE Publications.

McGeachan, C. (2020) Troubling, troubled, troublesome. In: Domosh, M., Heffernan, M. and Withers, C. W.J. (eds.) The SAGE Handbook of Historical Geography. SAGE Publications: London. ISBN 9781526404558

White, R. G. , McGeachan, C. , Miller, G. and Xenophontos, S. (2020) "Other Psychotherapies” – healing interactions across time, geography and culture. Transcultural Psychiatry, 57(6), pp. 727-740. (doi: 10.1177/1363461520948997)

2019

McGeachan, C. and Parr, H. (2019) GARTNAVEL: an experiment in teaching ‘Asylum Week’. In: Atkinson, S. and Hunt, R. (eds.) GeoHumanities and Health. Series: Global perspectives on health geography. Springer: Cham, Switzerland, pp. 193-213. ISBN 9783030214050 (doi:10.1007/978-3-030-21406-7_12)

McGeachan, C. (2019) "A Prison within a Prison”?: Examining the enfolding spatialities of care and control in the Barlinnie Special Unit. Area, 51(2), pp. 200-207. (doi: 10.1111/area.12447)

McGeachan, C. (2019) Historical geography III: hope persists. Progress in Human Geography, 43(2), pp. 351-362. (doi: 10.1177/0309132517740481)

2018

McGeachan, C. (2018) Historical geography II: traces remain. Progress in Human Geography, 42(1), pp. 134-147. (doi: 10.1177/0309132516651762)

de Leeuw, S. et al. (2018) Geographies of medical and health humanities: a cross-disciplinary conversation. GeoHumanities, 4(2), pp. 285-334. (doi: 10.1080/2373566X.2018.1518081)

McGeachan, C. (2018) Carceral Spatiality: Dialogues between Geography and Criminology: Book Review. [Website]

2017

McGeachan, C. (2017) Mental health geographies. In: Richardson, D., Castree, N., Goodchild, M. F., Kobayashi, A., Liu, W. and Marston, R. A. (eds.) The International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment, and Technology. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 9780470659632 (doi:10.1002/9781118786352)

McGeachan, C. (2017) 'The Head Carver ’: Art Extraordinary and the small spaces of the asylum. History of Psychiatry, 28(1), pp. 58-71. (doi: 10.1177/0957154X16676693) (PMID:27834293)

McGeachan, C. (2017) Book review: The Afterlives of the Psychiatric Asylum: Recycling Concepts, Sites and Memories. Cultural Geographies, 24(1), pp. 188-189. (doi: 10.1177/1474474016643976)[Book Review]

McGeachan, C. (2017) The ghosts of the refractory ward: R.D. Laing and (re)configuring psychiatric spaces of care. In: Nord, C. and Högström, E. (eds.) Caring Architecture: Institutions and Relational Practices. Cambridge Scholars Publishing: Cambridge, pp. 111-126. ISBN 9781443898966

McGeachan, C. and Philo, C. (2017) Occupying space: mental health geography and global directions. In: White, R. G., Jain, S., Orr, D. M.R. and Read, U. M. (eds.) The Palgrave Handbook of Sociocultural Perspectives on Global Mental Health. Series: Palgrave handbooks. Palgrave Macmillan: London, pp. 31-50. ISBN 9781137395092 (doi:10.1057/978-1-137-39510-8_2)

2016

McGeachan, C. (2016) 'Do you have a frog to guide you?': Exploring the 'asylum' spaces of R.D. Laing. In: Kritsotaki, D., Long, V. and Smith, M. (eds.) Deinstitutionalisation and After: Post-War Psychiatry in the Western World. Series: Mental health in historical perspective. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 195-213. ISBN 9783319453590 (doi:10.1007/978-3-319-45360-6_10)

McGeachan, C. (2016) Researching art extraordinary: a fieldwork photo-collage essay. Project Report. N/A. (Unpublished)

2014

McGeachan, C. (2014) Historical geography I: what remains? Progress in Human Geography, 38(6), pp. 824-837. (doi: 10.1177/0309132514546449)

McGeachan, C. (2014) 'The world is full of big bad wolves': investigating the experimental therapeutic spaces of R.D. Laing and Aaron Esterson. History of Psychiatry, 25(3), pp. 283-298. (doi: 10.1177/0957154X14529222)

McGeachan, C. (2014) ‘Worlding’ psychoanalytic insights: unpicking R.D. Laing's geographies. In: Kingsbury, P. and Pile, S. (eds.) Psychoanalytic Geographies. Ashgate: Farnham. ISBN 9781472407214

McGeachan, C. and Philo, C. (2014) Words. In: Lee, R., Castree, N., Kitchin, R., Lawson, V., Paasi, A., Philo, C., Radcliffe, S., Roberts, S. M. and Withers, C. W. (eds.) The Sage Handbook of Human Geography. SAGE: London, pp. 545-570. ISBN 9780857022486

2013

McGeachan, C. (2013) Needles, picks and an intern named Laing: exploring the psychiatric spaces of Army life. Journal of Historical Geography, 40, pp. 67-78. (doi: 10.1016/j.jhg.2012.10.002)

McGeachan, C. (2013) (Re)remembering and narrating the childhood city of R.D. Laing. Cultural Geographies, 20(3), pp. 269-284. (doi: 10.1177/1474474012462532)

2012

McGeachan, C. , Forsyth, I. and Hasty, W. (2012) Certain subjects? Working with biography and life-writing in historical geography. Historical Geography, 40, pp. 169-185.

This list was generated on Thu Oct 21 10:57:23 2021 BST.
Number of items: 24.

Articles

White, R. G. , McGeachan, C. , Miller, G. and Xenophontos, S. (2020) "Other Psychotherapies” – healing interactions across time, geography and culture. Transcultural Psychiatry, 57(6), pp. 727-740. (doi: 10.1177/1363461520948997)

McGeachan, C. (2019) "A Prison within a Prison”?: Examining the enfolding spatialities of care and control in the Barlinnie Special Unit. Area, 51(2), pp. 200-207. (doi: 10.1111/area.12447)

McGeachan, C. (2019) Historical geography III: hope persists. Progress in Human Geography, 43(2), pp. 351-362. (doi: 10.1177/0309132517740481)

McGeachan, C. (2018) Historical geography II: traces remain. Progress in Human Geography, 42(1), pp. 134-147. (doi: 10.1177/0309132516651762)

de Leeuw, S. et al. (2018) Geographies of medical and health humanities: a cross-disciplinary conversation. GeoHumanities, 4(2), pp. 285-334. (doi: 10.1080/2373566X.2018.1518081)

McGeachan, C. (2017) 'The Head Carver ’: Art Extraordinary and the small spaces of the asylum. History of Psychiatry, 28(1), pp. 58-71. (doi: 10.1177/0957154X16676693) (PMID:27834293)

McGeachan, C. (2014) Historical geography I: what remains? Progress in Human Geography, 38(6), pp. 824-837. (doi: 10.1177/0309132514546449)

McGeachan, C. (2014) 'The world is full of big bad wolves': investigating the experimental therapeutic spaces of R.D. Laing and Aaron Esterson. History of Psychiatry, 25(3), pp. 283-298. (doi: 10.1177/0957154X14529222)

McGeachan, C. (2013) Needles, picks and an intern named Laing: exploring the psychiatric spaces of Army life. Journal of Historical Geography, 40, pp. 67-78. (doi: 10.1016/j.jhg.2012.10.002)

McGeachan, C. (2013) (Re)remembering and narrating the childhood city of R.D. Laing. Cultural Geographies, 20(3), pp. 269-284. (doi: 10.1177/1474474012462532)

McGeachan, C. , Forsyth, I. and Hasty, W. (2012) Certain subjects? Working with biography and life-writing in historical geography. Historical Geography, 40, pp. 169-185.

Book Sections

McGeachan, C. (2021) Tracking traces of the art extraordinary collection. In: Ellis, R., Kendal, S. and Taylor, S. J. (eds.) Voices in the History of Madness: Personal and Professional Perspectives on Mental Health and Illness. Series: Mental health in historical perspective. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9783030695583 (In Press)

McGeachan, C. (2020) Troubling, troubled, troublesome. In: Domosh, M., Heffernan, M. and Withers, C. W.J. (eds.) The SAGE Handbook of Historical Geography. SAGE Publications: London. ISBN 9781526404558

McGeachan, C. and Parr, H. (2019) GARTNAVEL: an experiment in teaching ‘Asylum Week’. In: Atkinson, S. and Hunt, R. (eds.) GeoHumanities and Health. Series: Global perspectives on health geography. Springer: Cham, Switzerland, pp. 193-213. ISBN 9783030214050 (doi:10.1007/978-3-030-21406-7_12)

McGeachan, C. (2017) Mental health geographies. In: Richardson, D., Castree, N., Goodchild, M. F., Kobayashi, A., Liu, W. and Marston, R. A. (eds.) The International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment, and Technology. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 9780470659632 (doi:10.1002/9781118786352)

McGeachan, C. (2017) The ghosts of the refractory ward: R.D. Laing and (re)configuring psychiatric spaces of care. In: Nord, C. and Högström, E. (eds.) Caring Architecture: Institutions and Relational Practices. Cambridge Scholars Publishing: Cambridge, pp. 111-126. ISBN 9781443898966

McGeachan, C. and Philo, C. (2017) Occupying space: mental health geography and global directions. In: White, R. G., Jain, S., Orr, D. M.R. and Read, U. M. (eds.) The Palgrave Handbook of Sociocultural Perspectives on Global Mental Health. Series: Palgrave handbooks. Palgrave Macmillan: London, pp. 31-50. ISBN 9781137395092 (doi:10.1057/978-1-137-39510-8_2)

McGeachan, C. (2016) 'Do you have a frog to guide you?': Exploring the 'asylum' spaces of R.D. Laing. In: Kritsotaki, D., Long, V. and Smith, M. (eds.) Deinstitutionalisation and After: Post-War Psychiatry in the Western World. Series: Mental health in historical perspective. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 195-213. ISBN 9783319453590 (doi:10.1007/978-3-319-45360-6_10)

McGeachan, C. (2014) ‘Worlding’ psychoanalytic insights: unpicking R.D. Laing's geographies. In: Kingsbury, P. and Pile, S. (eds.) Psychoanalytic Geographies. Ashgate: Farnham. ISBN 9781472407214

McGeachan, C. and Philo, C. (2014) Words. In: Lee, R., Castree, N., Kitchin, R., Lawson, V., Paasi, A., Philo, C., Radcliffe, S., Roberts, S. M. and Withers, C. W. (eds.) The Sage Handbook of Human Geography. SAGE: London, pp. 545-570. ISBN 9780857022486

Book Reviews

McGeachan, C. (2017) Book review: The Afterlives of the Psychiatric Asylum: Recycling Concepts, Sites and Memories. Cultural Geographies, 24(1), pp. 188-189. (doi: 10.1177/1474474016643976)[Book Review]

Edited Books

White, R. , McGeachan, C. , Miller, G. and Xenofontos, S. (Eds.) (2020) Special Issue: "Other Psychotherapies” – Healing Interactions Across Time, Geography and Culture [Guest Editors]. Transcultural Psychiatry, 57(6). SAGE Publications.

Research Reports or Papers

McGeachan, C. (2016) Researching art extraordinary: a fieldwork photo-collage essay. Project Report. N/A. (Unpublished)

Website

McGeachan, C. (2018) Carceral Spatiality: Dialogues between Geography and Criminology: Book Review. [Website]

This list was generated on Thu Oct 21 10:57:23 2021 BST.

Grants

McGeachan, C. (PI) and Shaw, I. (Co-I) Green Technicians: Diversifying and Enhancing Student Outdoor Learning, University of Glasgow Cancellor's Fund 2020-2021. 

McGeachan, C. (PI), Mathers, H (Co-I), Hepworth, S. (Co-I), Maddra, S. (Co-I) and Brown, R. (Co-I) Mapping Edwin Morgan: Developing Multidisciplinary Collaboration through Creative Active Learning Techniques, Learning and Teaching Development Fund, University of Glasgow 2020-2021. 

Shaw, I. (PI), McGeachan, C. (Co-I), Phipps, A. (Co-I) International Green Academy: School Gardens and Progressive Urban Ecologies, British Academy Tackling the UK's International Challenges 2019-2021.

McGeachan, C. (PI) A Distinctly Scottish Surgeon? Uncovering Police Surgery in 19th Century Scotland, Carnegie Trust 2018-2019. 

Miller, G. (PI), McGeachan, C. (Co-I), White, R. (Co-I) and Xenofontos. S. (Co-I). Other Psychotherapies - across time, space, and cultures, Wellcome Trust Small Grant in Medical Humanities 2016-17. 

McGeachan, C. (PI) A Tapestry of Tales: Investigating the Historical Geographies of Art Therapy and 'Art Extraordinary' in Scotland (1950-1980), British Academy Small Research Grants 2014/16. 

McGeachan, C. (PI) Encountering R.D. Laing's Archive: Mental Health, Care and Creativity, Wellcome Trust Small Grant in Medical Humanities 2014. 

McGeachan, C. (PI) Narrating the Archive: A pilot study into student use of archives in Glasgow, Learning and Teaching Development Fund 2013-14.

 

 

Supervision

I would like to develop undergraduate and postgraduate projects with students interested in the following:

  • crime, violence and forensics
  • experiences of mental ill-health and asylum spaces 
  • historical geographies of war, trauma and death 
  • geographical biographies and life-writing
  • ecological (in)justice and ecological anxiety 
  • patient narratives from the institutional and/or deinstitutionalised landscape
  • sites of death and disease in the 19th century city
  • creative writing and mental (ill)health 
  • outsider art and collections 

 

  • Farquharson, Lauren
    L720 ‘Fearful landscapes’: parochial asylums and poorhouse lunatic wards – where the Scottish Poor and Lunacy Laws collided
  • Hržić, Katja
    International labour migration and fair employment in the Scottish fishing industry
  • Kane, Megan
    'Mattering violence: Rethinking the everyday politics of food banking'
  • Ruane, Rose
    Exploring research-based creative writing as an ethical strategy for amplifying silenced voices from asylum archives

Louise Boyle - Running into the SAnD: a social and anticipatory geography of Social Anxiety Disprder (SAnD) in on- and offline worlds.

Co-supervision with Professor Chris Philo. 

Kim Ross - The Locational History of Scotland's District Lunatic Asylums, 1857-1913

Co-supervision with Professor Chris Philo and Professor Malcolm Nicholson (completed 2014)

Hazel Morrison - Unearthing the Clinical Encounter: Gartnavel Royal Mental Hospital 1921-1932.

Co-supervision with Professor Chris Philo and Professor Malcolm Nicholson (completed 2014)

Cristin Sarg - Scottish-Jewish 'Madness'?: An examination of Jewish admissions to the royal asylums of Edinburgh and Glasgow, c. 1870 - 1939. 

Co-supervision with Professor Chris Philo (completed 2018)

Teaching

I am passionate about the role of education in promoting empowerment, understanding world complexities and generating hopeful futures. My teaching emcompasses a commitment to worldly engagement with issues such as conflict, violence and institutionalisation. 

I teach on a number of courses throughout the Geography Degree programme including:

  • Geography-1 Lectures 'A World of Conflict'
  • Geographical Thought 
  • Geographical Techniques 'Visual Methods' and 'Documentary Sources'
  • Geography 4 Beyond the Academy
  • Geography Summer School
  • MRes in Human Geography 

I am the Convenor of the Geography-1 Programme and the Senior Adviser of Studies for Geography 

 

Honours Option

  • Historical Geographies: Care, Conflict and Confinement (this option will next run in the 2020/21 academic year)

This course critically considers the ways in which the sub-disciplinary field of historical geography has explored the geographies of people, places and environments in the past and their reverberations in contemporary times. Using examples from work on colonial lives, pirate tales, family biographies and (sometimes unsuccessful) experiments on bodies and minds, this course will examine some of the central theoretical debates in historical geography. A significant section of this course will be devoted to the practice of historical geography and time will be spent rooting around in 'archives' of varying kinds. Dealing with a variety of historical materials such as manuscripts, film, diaries, photographs, objects, novels and maps, this course enables you the opportunity to build a set of core skills in conducting research on the past and a critical awareness of the complex processes involved. In doing so, this course aims to promote a deeper understanding of the different ways in which the past has been (re)presented in geographical work and provides you with the chance to reflect personally on the different ways in which you may wish to story past lives and past places.