School of Health Sciences

Image of Paul Crawford

Paul Crawford

Professor of Health Humanities, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences



Paul Crawford is Professor of Health Humanities at the School of Health Sciences, Director of the Centre for Social Futures at the Institute of Mental Health, University of Nottingham, UK. He is also Adjunct Professor at Canberra University, Australia. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA, Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS) and Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health (FRSPH). As the founding father of the new, global and rapidly developing field of health humanities, Professor Crawford has spearheaded research in applying the arts and humanities to inform and transform healthcare, health and wellbeing.

Most recently, Professor Crawford led the What's Up With Everyone campaign with Academy-award winning Aardman (Wallace & Gromit, Shaun the Sheep, Chicken Run etc.) to support the mental health literacy of young people. This campaign co-created with young people five short original films and a companion website,, focusing on perfectionism, loneliness & isolation, competitiveness, social media and independence. This upstream initiative, funded with a grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (£808,690; AH/T003804/1), brought together production, research, charitable, clinical, and communication expertise (Aardman, University of Nottingham, University of Loughborough, London School of Economics and Politics, Mental Health Foundation, Happy Space, Buzz Consulting, ILK). This campaign aims to increase mental health literacy among but not limited to a target group of 17-24 year olds. In the first four months following launch in February 2021, it reached over 17m people. The partnership seeks to evaluate the efficacy and impact of these creative outputs in order to inform the much-needed evidence base in the area of young people's mental health.

Professor Crawford is also Principal Investigator for a second current, major project funded by the Arts Humanities Research Council: Florence Nightingale Comes Home for 2020 (£677,065; AH/R00014X/1) and Co-Investigator for the ESRC/ UKRI funded 'MARCH Network' (£1,014,879; ES/S002588/1) to enhance public mental health and wellbeing. He has held several visiting professor or advisory board appointments in the UK and overseas. He is also Principal Investigator for three AHRC-funded networks to advance health humanities, attracting circa £7m in prestigious research funding.

Professor Crawford has written over 140 publications including peer-reviewed papers or chapters and 13 books, most recently Cabin Fever: Surviving Lockdown in the Coronavirus Pandemic (Emerald, 2021) Florence Nightingale at Home (Palgrave, 2020), The Routledge Companion for Health Humanities (Routledge, 2020) and Humiliation: Mental Health and Public Shame (2019). He remains the leading figure in health humanities worldwide with two additional major publications: Health Humanities (Palgrave, 2015) and The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Health Humanities (Springer Nature, forthcoming 2021). He is Commissioning Editor for a new large 'Arts for Health Series' (Emerald, 2020) to advance public understanding of the health humanities and the benefits of creative practices for human health and wellbeing.

His earlier work includes four books on health communication: Evidence-based Health Communication (Open University Press: Maidenhead, 2006), Communication in Clinical Settings (Nelson Thornes: Cheltenham, 2006), Storytelling in Therapy (Nelson Thornes: Cheltenham, 2004), and Communicating Care: The Language of Nursing (Stanley Thornes: Cheltenham, 1998) which was the first book on nursing language worldwide. His book on research philosophy in health won a Highly Commended Award at British Medical Association Book Competition 2004: Evidence Based Research: Dilemmas and Debates in Health Care (Open University Press: Maidenhead, 2003). He has also written two literary critical works: Madness in Post-1945 British and American Fiction (Palgrave: London, 2010) and Politics and History in William Golding: The World Turned Upside Down (University of Missouri Press: Columbia, 2002). His acclaimed novel about mental illness, Nothing Purple, Nothing Black (Book Guild: Lewes, 2002) was optioned for film with Dramahouse, UK/ Florida.

Professor Crawford on the editorial boards of Journal of Medical Humanities, Communication & Medicine and Applied Arts in Health and acts as a referee for several prominent publishing houses and major journals. He has also written articles and letters for national and regional newspapers and appeared on BBC Radio 4 (Today Programme, Woman's Hour), Radio 2 (Johnnie Walker), 5 Live (Simon Mayo) and various regional shows.

My Twitter: @ProfessorPaulC1

Expertise Summary

Social and Cultural Perspectives on Mental health (acute, primary, community)

Health Humanities, including:

Language and communication in healthcare (Corpus Linguistics, Critical Discourse Analysis, Discourse Analysis)

Literature and narrative in healthcare (literary analysis, literary theory, cultural studies)

Teaching Summary

  • Mental Health
  • Health humanities
  • Health language and communication
  • Philosophy of research
  • Qualitative research methods
  • Evidence-based practice

Research Summary

My research focuses on applying knowledge from the social sciences, humanities and arts disciplines to the development and practice of mental health, health and well-being.

  • Social and cultural perspectives in mental health Health humanities
  • Language, narratives and communication in mental health and healthcare generally
  • Mental health in community and primary care settings

Recent Publications

  • Director, Creative Practice as Mutual Recovery: Connecting Communities for Mental Health and Well-Being (£1.5m large programme grant, Connected Communities, AHRC/RCUK)
  • Director, Nottingham Health Humanities (in association with CAS)

Other responsibilities

  • Co-Founder and Consulting Professor, Research and Education Centre, Derbyshire Healthcare Foundation Trust
  • Co-Founder and Lead, Madness and Literature Network: (AHRC)
  • Co-Founder and Lead, International Health Humanities Network: (AHRC)
  • Academic Lead, Managed Innovation Network in Mental Health Communication, Institute of Mental Health

School of Health Sciences

B236, Medical School
Queen's Medical Centre
Nottingham, NG7 2HA

telephone: +44 (0)115 95 15559