Researchers in Faculty of Arts, Humanities & Cultures launch pioneering WUN global mental health conference

Researchers in Faculty of Arts, Humanities & Cultures launch pioneering WUN global mental health conference

Two researchers from the University of Leeds’ Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures are co-organising a cross-disciplinary global mental health conference to present cutting-edge research that spans the arts and humanities, social sciences and medical sciences.

‘New Research Directions in Global Mental Health: Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) Symposium’ will take place at the University of Leeds on 12-13 June 2024.

Convened by Professor Sarah Waters from the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies, and Dr Matthew Elliott from the School of Performance and Cultural Industries, the two-day event will bring together researchers from across the Worldwide Universities Network and beyond to discuss how collaborative research could and should be addressing the major mental health challenges in our societies today.

The aim is to foster collaboration between researchers from a wide range of countries and disciplinary backgrounds, to share knowledge and generate new research ideas and approaches.

The conference is open to academic researchers, doctoral students, and postdoctoral trainees. It will be an in-person event, but the keynote presentations will be live-streamed. Two bursaries will support participation from international early career-researchers.

Alongside leading international speakers, there will be three keynote speakers from the University of Leeds:

The window for abstracts for the event is now open and closes Friday 22 March.

Mental health is a complex and thorny research area, and one that cannot be tackled from narrow disciplinary perspectives. That is why we are organising this conference. We want to break down siloes that confine people to specific approaches, disciplines or ways of thinking, and open up mental health to new ways of thinking, innovative approaches and methodologies. We are delighted to be working with the WUN and look forward to welcoming people from around the world to help breathe new life into mental health research.

Sarah Waters, Professor of French Studies at the University of Leeds’ School of Languages, Cultures and Societies


I am excited to bring colleagues together from across the globe to share knowledges, experiences and innovative research. In a landscape that is dominated by certain health models and practices, the opportunity to hear alternative and exciting approaches is incredibly valuable to the wider Global Mental Health project.

Dr Matthew Elliott, Lecturer in Applied Performance and Global Challenges


The Horizons Institute is delighted to be supporting this symposium and facilitating interdisciplinary, global conversations which will address such an important research challenge. We also hope that by sponsoring the participation of an international ECR we can take a small step in helping to remove barriers to equitable research and knowledge production.

Dr Abi Rowson, Acting Head of Interdisciplinary Research at the Horizons Institute, University of Leeds


Mental health is an important research focus for the Worldwide Universities Network. We are delighted to be able to support this symposium, which, by bringing together researchers from diverse geographies and cultures, will advance our understanding of a major global challenge.

Peter Lennie, Executive Director of Worldwide Universities Network

The conference is supported by WUN and the Leeds Interdisciplinary Mental Health Research Network (LIMHRN), the Horizons Institute, University of Leeds and the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies.