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Dr Anna Stenning

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Postdoctoral Research Associate in the School of Education
Member of the Institute for Medical Humanities 
Fellow in the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing 


BA (Hons), MA, PhD 

I am an interdisciplinary medical humanities researcher, and my work focuses on how neurological/developmental differences and mental health conditions are constructed by scientists, and how they are experienced by individuals. I am interested in how scientific constructions resist or reinforce competing concepts of human personhood within a culture, and the consequences of these for individuals are already devalued or disabled by dominant sociocultural practices. My recent work explores how autistic people find arts artful ways make sense of their experiences alongside each other in relation to the more-than-human world and, in so-doing, resist claims that they are falling short of human personhood or bound to a fixed neurostructural identity. I am currently exploring the implications of this for recognising how literature, art and technology facilitate connections against the grain of dominant models of personhood and contribute to the emergence of new subjectivities in educational and activist spaces. I draw on methods from philosophy, literary studies, psychology, geography and cultural anthropology, and am informed by ideas from disability studies alongside neurodiversity, critical race and decolonial theory.

I am currently a postdoctoral research associate in the School of Education and Institute for Medical Humanities where I am working in the Narrative Practices Lab. 

Engagement Activities

Interdisciplinary Autism Research Festival (IAR Festival)

Esteem indicators

Advisory board member for Wellcome Trust Discovery Award “Autism in affinity spaces: Interest-driven social media practices during the transition to adulthood", Neyla Koteyo (Queen Mary University), 2021.

Editorial Board membership of the Sage journal Neurodiversity ISSN: 27546330 (2023).

Co-founding member of the Narratives of Neurodiversity Network. 




I was previously Wellcome Trust Research Fellow based in the School of English at the University of Leeds, working on Remembering What Matters: Nature, Culture and Autism (2019-2022)

I was PI on the Wellcome Secondment Project, Developing a Pilot Peer Mentoring Project for Autistic Students in Higher Education (Arts and Humanities) (2023)

'Is neurodiversity theory consistent with decolonising global health in an age of a ‘globalised’ autism strategy? (2023-2024) 


Chapters in books

Forthcoming (2024). "The Superfluous Who “Neither Produce like the Poor nor Consume like the Rich”: Eugenics and the “Coloniality of Ability” in Edward Thomas’s The Happy-Go-Lucky Morgans (1913)", in Disability and the Environment in the Colonial Era, edited by Tatiana Konrad. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Understanding empathy through a study of autistic life writing in Neurodiversity Studies - A New Critical Paradigm (see below) pp. 108-124.

 ‘Autism and cognitive embodiment. Walking, Landscape and Environment’, in Walking, Landscape and Environment (see below) pp. 149-167.

Edited books

Creechan, Louise, Bergenmar, Jenny & Stenning, Anna. Critical Neurodiversity Studies: Divergent Textualities, London: Bloomsbury (forthcoming 2024)

Bertilsdotter-Rosqvist, Hanna, Nick Chown and Anna Stenning, Neurodiversity Studies - A New Critical Paradigm. Abingdon: Routledge, 2020.

Borthwick, David, Pippa Marland and Anna Stenning, Walking, Landscape and Environment. Abingdon: Routledge, 2019.

Journal articles

Bertilsdotter-Rosqvist H, Botha M, Hens K, O’Donoghue S, Pearson A, Stenning A. ‘Cutting our own keys: New possibilities of neurodivergent storying in research’, Autism : the international journal of research and practice, 27 (5) 2023, pp. 1235-1244.

Rosqvist H.B., Rosqvist H.B. Botha M. Hens K. O'Donoghue S. Pearson A. Stenning A. ‘Being, Knowing, and Doing: Importing Theoretical Toolboxes for Autism Studies’, Autism in Adulthood. Mar 1;5(1) 2023:15-23. doi: 10.1089/aut.2022.0021. Epub 2023 Mar 13.

Betts, Kerri, Creechan, Louise, Cawkwell, Rosemarie, Finn‐Kelcey, Isabelle, Griffin, C. J., Hagopian, Alice, Hartley, David, Manalili, Marie Adrienne R., Murkumbi, Inika, O’Donoghue, Sarinah, Shanahan, Cassandra, Stenning, Anna & Zisk, Alyssa Hillary (2023). ‘Neurodiversity, Networks, and Narratives: Exploring Intimacy and Expressive Freedom in the Time of Covid‐19’. Social Inclusion 11(1) 2023, pp 60-71.

Stenning A, (2022). ‘Misfits and ecological saints: strategies for non-normative living in autistic life writing’, Disability Studies Quarterly, 42 (1) ,2022.

Stenning A, Bertilsdotter-Rosqvist H. (2021). ‘Neurodiversity studies: mapping out possibilities of a new critical paradigm’, Disability & society, 36 (9) 2021, pp. 1532-1537.

Stenning A, (2016). Edward Thomas’s ‘Ecstasy’: An Unpublished Essay. Essays in Criticism, Volume 66, Issue 4, October 2016, pp466–487.