Category Archives: Hazel Morrison

Hazel Morrison

Hazel Morrison


My earlier work looks to a history of patients and psychiatrists, within and beyond the asylum. Using ‘dynamic’ patient case note records, which record verbatim and semi-verbatim the narratives of patients and psychiatrists, my work establishes how clinical encounters, situated in Glasgow’s Gartnavel Mental Hospital, 1921-1932, produced under the superintendence of Dr. David Kennedy Henderson, shaped 20th century Western understanding of illness categories, such as the psychopathic states (Morrison, 2014).

Using archival records of ‘dynamic’ patient case notes, I look to a period in which the patient’s narrative was regarded as a significant component of the case note record. Paying attention to the situated production of these records – to the role of stenographers, to the presence of screens, to the proximity of beds, the use of segregation – my work looks to the role of the asylum environment in shaping the illness narrative (Morrison, 2016). Moreover, looking beyond the asylum, I work to understand the wider social, cultural and geographical factors, brought to clinical encounters by patients and psychiatrists, that further shape the modes of communication and models of understanding – through which concepts of illness are established (Morrison, 2013).

This work contributes to a growing interest in histories and historical geographies of Scottish psychiatry, asylums and psychiatric patients. My involvement in the History of Psychiatry special edition, edited by Professors Chris Philo and Jonathan Andrews and contributed to by various members of this research group, demonstrates how my work feeds into the work of established and emerging scholarship (Morrison, 2017).

Over the last few years my research has moved beyond the boundaries of the asylum. Studying relations between the wandering mind and philosophical, psychological and psychiatric concepts of health and illness, my work looks to a history of experimentation into ‘inner’ mental states – daydream, reverie, fantasy, mind wandering – states in which the individual mentally, consciously, disengages from the world around them (Morrison, 2016b; Morrison, 2018b). The study of mind wandering has historically been brought into relation to studies of selfhood, personality and mental pathology. My work brings this history into conversation with current research in psychology and neuroscience.

In collaboration with Dr Hilary Powell and Professor Felicity Callard, my written work was transformed into an interactive installation. In the public exhibition ‘Rest and its Discontents’, Mile End Art Pavilion, London, (2016) – The Cubiculum – a mind wandering booth – was created so to use sound, image, dialogue and a dark, cramped interior, to induce, and reproduce historical moments that attest to, the phenomena of mind wandering (Morrison, 2018a).

Hazel 2

Image of Cubiculum



Select publications:

Powell, Hilary, Hazel Morrison, Felicity Callard, ‘Mind wandering: Tracing Inner Worlds through an Historical-Geographical Art Installation’ GeoHumanities (2018a)

Morrison, Hazel, ‘Sensing the Self in the Wandering Mind’ in (eds.) Lesa Scholl, Medicine and being human (Routledge, 2018b).

Morrison, Hazel, ‘Henderson and Meyer in correspondence: a transatlantic history of dynamic psychiatry, 1908-29.’ History of Psychiatry 28:1 (2017)

Morrison, Hazel, Constructing Patient Stories: ‘Dynamic’ Case Notes and Clinical Encounters at Glasgow’s Gartnavel Mental Hospital, 1921-32’ Medical History 60.1 (2016a)

Morrison, Hazel, ‘Writing and Daydreaming’ in (eds.) Felicity Callard, James Wilkes and Kimberley Staines, The Restless Compendium, Interdisciplinary Investigations of Rest and Its Opposites, Oct (2016b)

Morrison, Hazel, PhD, University of Glasgow, ‘Unearthing the Clinical Encounter. Gartnavel Mental Hospital 1921-1932. Exploring the intersection of scientific and social discourses which negotiated the boundaries of psychiatric diagnoses’. (2014)

Morrison, Hazel, ‘Conversing with the Psychiatrist: Patient Narratives within Glasgow’s Royal Asylum, 1921-1929’
Journal of Literature and Science 6.1 (2013)