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Dr Laura McGrath

Profile summary

Professional biography

Laura started at the Open University in August 2019 as a Lecturer in Mental Health. She previously worked at the University of East London, where she was programme leader for the BSc in Clinical and Community Psychology, as well as co-lead for the Mental Health and Social Change Research Group. Laura completed her PhD from London South Bank University in 2012, following a conversion course to Psychology.

Research interests

Laura's research concentrates on the role of the envrionment in experiences of mental distress, care and recovery. Her work is interdisciplinary, drawing on social, community and critical psychology, as well as human geography and social theory, to explore psychosocial and material aspects of mental health experiences. This work lead Laura to co-edit the recent volume 'Handbook of Mental Health and Space: Community and Clinical Applications' with Professor Paula Reavey. 

Impact and engagement

Laura is a founder member of the national network 'Psychologists for Social Change', which aims to encourage psychologists to engage with the political context of their work, and organise social and political action. She was lead author of the PSC briefing paper: The Psychological Impact of Austerity. 


The impact of the built environment on loneliness: A systematic review and narrative synthesis (2023-01-07)
Bower, Marlee; Kent, Jennifer; Patulny, Roger; Green, Olivia; McGrath, Laura; Teesson, Lily; Jamalishahni, Tara; Sandison, Hannah and Rugel, Emily
Health & Place, 79, Article 102962

Muting, filtering and transforming space: Autistic children's sensory ‘tactics’ for navigating mainstream school space following transition to secondary school (2022-02-02)
Birkett, Lily; McGrath, Laura and Tucker, Ian
Emotion, Space and Society, 42, Article 100872

‘You don't take things too seriously or un-seriously’: Beyond recovery to liminal and liminoid possibility in a community arts and mental health project (2022)
Laver, Cassie; McGrath, Laura; Liebert, Rachel Jane; Noorani, Tehseen; Barnes, Nick; Chase, Mike; Hall, Jon and Wakeling, Ben
Community and Applied Social Psychology, 32(4) (pp. 653-664)

Stuck in separation: Liminality, graffiti arts and the forensic institution as a failed rite of passage (2021-08-11)
McGrath, Laura; Mighetto, Isabella; Liebert, Rachel Jane and Wakeling, Ben
Sociology of Health and Illness, 43(6) (pp. 1355-1371)

Peripheral recovery: 'Keeping safe' and 'keep progressing' as conflicting modes of ordering in a forensic psychiatric unit (2021)
McGrath, Laura; Brown, Steven D.; Kanyeredzi, Ava; Reavey, Paula and Tucker, Ian
Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 39(4) (pp. 704-721)

‘Trapped’, ‘anxious’ and ‘traumatised’: COVID-19 intensified the impact of housing inequality on Australians’ mental health (2021)
Bower, Marlee; Buckle, Caitlin; Rugel, Emily; Donohoe-Bales, Amarina; McGrath, Laura; Gournay, Kevin; Barrett, Emma; Phibbs, Peter and Teesson, Maree
International Journal of Housing Policy, 23(2) (pp. 260-291)

Organizing the sensory: Ear-work, panauralism and sonic agency on a forensic psychiatric unit (2020-11-01)
Brown, Steven D.; Kanyeredzi, Ava; McGrath, Laura; Reavey, Paula and Tucker, Ian
Human Relations, 73(11) (pp. 1537-1562)

Building visual worlds: using maps in qualitative psychological research on affect and emotion (2020)
McGrath, Laura; Mullarkey, Shauna and Reavey, Paula
Qualitative Research in Psychology, 17(1) (pp. 75-97)

Through the prison walls: using published poetry to explore current UK prisoners’ narratives of past, present and future selves (2020)
DeValiant, Georgina; McGrath, Laura and Kougiali, Zetta
Qualitative Research in Psychology, 17(2) (pp. 240-257)

The atmosphere of the ward: Attunements and attachments of everyday life for patients on a medium-secure forensic psychiatric unit (2019-03-01)
Kanyeredzi, Ava; Brown, Steven D.; Mcgrath, Laura; Reavey, Paula and Tucker, Ian
The Sociological Review, 67(2) (pp. 444-466)

Agents and spectres: Life-space on a medium secure forensic psychiatric unit (2019-01-31)
Reavey, P.; Brown, S. D.; Kanyeredzi, A.; Mcgrath, L. and Tucker, I.
Social Science & Medicine, 220 (pp. 273-282)

Living ‘in between’ outside and inside: The forensic psychiatric unit as an impermanent assemblage (2019-01-15)
Tucker, Ian M.; Brown, Steven D.; Kanyeredzi, Ava; Mcgrath, Laura and Reavey, Paula
Health & Place, 55 (pp. 29-36)

Contending with the minimum data set: Subjectivity, linearity and dividualising experiences in Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (2019)
Bendall, Caroline and McGrath, Laura
Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine, 24(1) (pp. 94-109)

Electroconvulsive Therapy for Depression: A Review of the Quality of ECT versus Sham ECT Trials and Meta-Analyses (2019)
Read, John; Kirsch, Irving and McGrath, Laura
Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry, 21(2) (pp. 64-103)

Life lines: Loss, loneliness and expanding meshworks with an urban Walk and Talk group (2018-09)
Muir, Jessica and McGrath, Laura
Health & Place, 53 (pp. 164-172)

Facing the void: Recollections of embodying fear in the space of childhood homes (2018-08)
Del Busso, Lilliana; McGrath, Laura; Guest, Carly; Reavey, Paula; Kanyeredzi, Ava and Majumdar, Anamika
Emotion, Space and Society, 28 (pp. 24-31)

The Psychological Impact of Austerity: A Briefing Paper (2016-12)
Mcgrath, Laura; Griffin, Vanessa and Mundy, Ed
Educational Psychology Research and Practice, 2(2) (pp. 46-57)

Psychologists Against Austerity: mobilising psychology for social change (2016-11-01)
Mcgrath, Laura; Walker, Carl and Jones, Christopher
Critical and Radical Social Work, 4(3) (pp. 409-413)

"Zip me up, and cool me down": Molar narratives and molecular intensities in 'helicopter' mental health services (2016-03)
Mcgrath, Laura and Reavey, Paula
Health & Place, 38 (pp. 61-69)

Transportations of space, time and self: the role of reading groups in managing mental distress in the community (2016)
Shipman, Judith and Mcgrath, Laura
Journal of Mental Health, 25(5) (pp. 416-421)

Seeking fluid possibility and solid ground: Space and movement in mental health service users' experiences of ‘crisis’ (2015-03)
Mcgrath, Laura and Reavey, Paula
Social Science & Medicine, 128 (pp. 115-125)

Exploring embodied and located experience: Memory Work as a method for drug research (2014-11)
Anderson, Katie and Mcgrath, Laura
International Journal of Drug Policy, 25(6) (pp. 1135-1138)

Embodying limb absence in the negotiation of sexual intimacy (2014-09-01)
Batty, Richard; Mcgrath, Laura and Reavey, Paula
Sexualities, 17(5-6) (pp. 686-706)

Heterotopias of control: Placing the material in experiences of mental health service use and community living (2013-07)
Mcgrath, Laura and Reavey, Paula
Health & Place, 22 (pp. 123-131)

The scenes and spaces of anxiety: Embodied expressions of distress in public and private fora (2008-10)
Mcgrath, Laura; Reavey, Paula and Brown, Steven D.
Emotion, Space and Society, 1(1) (pp. 56-64)

The Handbook of Mental Health and Space: Community and Clinical Applications (2018-08-29)
Mcgrath, Laura and Reavey, Paula eds.
ISBN : 9781138643932 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London