Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Dr Lavis is interested in supervising doctoral research in:

Individuals’ experiences of illness and/or treatment interventions
Women’s illness experiences
Qualitative (especially ethnographic) research into any area related to mental health
Anorexia and/or other eating disorders
Psychosis and/or treatment interventions


Research activity per year

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Personal profile

Research interests

Anna Lavis is a Lecturer in Medical Anthropology in the Social Studies in Medicine (SSiM) Team in the Institute of Applied Health Research.

Her research focuses on developing approaches and solutions to the key 21st century challenge of mental ill-health. Collaborating across academic, policy and clinical interfaces, Anna has led qualitative and mixed-method studies funded by the ESRC; NIHR; NSPCR, Samaritans and Wellcome Trust, exploring lived experiences of eating disorders, self-harm, suicidality and psychosis. She has particular expertise in ethnographic methods, having conducted sustained ethnographic fieldwork in online, clinical and community settings.

Anna's research has conceptual emphases on materiality, specifically the material culture of mental health; concepts, ethics and practices of care; social media, ‘truth’ and the politics of evidence; affect, desire and intimacy. 

She currently leads a programme of work exploring relationships between young people’s mental health and social media, interrogating the harms and benefits of online environments.  She acts as an advisor to Facebook/Instagram on online harms and her research has informed the development of the upcoming online harms legislation. 

She teaches on various programmes, covering topics in qualitative methods and medical sociology/anthropology, as well as undertaking doctoral supervision both at Birmingham and externally. She regularly guest lectures at UCL and accepts invitations for teaching and examining in the UK. She is also an honorary Senior Lecturer in the School of Archaeology and Anthropology at the Australian National University. 



• PhD Medical Anthropology: Goldsmiths, University of London, 2011.
• MRes Anthropology: Goldsmiths, University of London, 2006.
• MSc Social Anthropology: University College London, 2003.
• BA European and Middle Eastern Languages: University of Oxford, 2002 (MA, 2014)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities

External positions

Australian National University

1 Nov 2020 → …

University of Oxford

31 Dec 2011 → …


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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