Dr Amy Chandler

Chancellor's Fellow

Contact details



Doorway 6
Old Medical School
Teviot Place

Post code


  • Monday-Thursday (I work compressed hours over four days)


Appointed as Chancellor's Fellow in Health, through Arts, Design and Humanities in October 2016.

Previously I was Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Lincoln (2015-16), and Research Fellow in the Centre for Population Health Sciences/Centre for Research on Families and Relationships at the University of Edinburgh (2010-15).


PhD Sociology, University of Edinburgh, 2010

MSc Research, University of Edinburgh, 2006

MA (Hons) Sociology, University of Edinburgh, 2003

Undergraduate teaching

I contribute to the MA Health Science and Society.

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

I welcome enquiries from students interested in pursuing PhD study in the sociology of mental health, sociological or anthropological studies of suicide and/or self-harm, and social scientific studies of addiction, drug and alcohol use. 

Current PhD students supervised

Georgi Gill, Health in Social Science/Centre for Creative-Relational Inquiry

Catalina Martin, Health in Social Science/Centre for Homeless and Inclusion Health

Liliana Arias Urueña, Usher Institute: Cultural perspectives towards Cleft  Lip and Palate in children and impact on mental health

Annie Taylor, Edinburgh Napier University: Alcohol use in pregnancy

Research summary

I am a sociologist, specialising in the sociology of health and illness, with a particular focus on mental health and substance use. Much of my current and ongoing work addresses suicide and self-harm. 

Current research interests

Understanding suicide across Scotland. Using arts-based methods to research self-harm. Substance use and suicide. Parenting, pregnancy and substance use. Sociological explanations of mental 'disorder'

Past research interests

Previous research has included: Life-story research with men in mid-life, exploring relationships between alcohol use, self-harm and suicide (funded by Alcohol Research UK). Exploring the risks and realities of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome: Parent and professional accounts (funded by Edinburgh & Lothians Health Foundation), in collaboration with colleagues at Edinburgh Napier University, and NHS Lothian. Qualitative research with young people addressing understandings of self-harm, drug and alcohol use (funded by the Sir Halley Stewart Trust) Research with General Practitioners, exploring understandings of self-harm and suicide (funded by Chief Scientists' Office, in collaboration with Chris Burton (University of Aberdeen), Steve Platt (Edinburgh), and Caroline King (Glasgow Caledonian University).

Knowledge exchange

I have collaborated with Samaritans on a number of projects, including:




Affiliated research centres

Project activity

My research spans two substantive areas: suicide and self-harm, and drug-use, especially in the context of pregnancy and parenting. 

I specialise in qualitative approaches, including drawing on arts-based/arts-informed methodologies. 

Across all of my research I am interested in exploring the meanings of often margnialised practices, among diverse groups. For instance, my research on self-harm has worked with adults, young people and General Practitioners to exmaine how social location and context shapes the way that self-harm is accounted for. In one of my current projects - the Suicide Cultures study - I am developing different methods in order to study the meanings of suicide across different areas and among diverse communities in Scotland.  

Current project grants

Suicide Cultures - Funded by a Wellcome Trust/University of Edinburgh ISSF award - more details here: https://suicidecultures.wordpress.com/
An arts-based inquiry into meanings of self-harm. Funded by Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland and the British Academy.

Past project grants

2015: Alcohol Research UK. ‘Alcohol Stories: Using the life grid to explore how men in mid-life talk about the relationship between alcohol, mental health, self-harm and suicide’. Principal Investigator.
2014: Edinburgh & Lothian Health Foundation. ‘Risks and realities of neonatal abstinence syndrome’. Co-investigator.
2014: Innovation Initiative Grant, University of Edinburgh. ‘Animating Harm: A Public Engagement Grant – self-harm, drug and alcohol use among young people’. Principal Investigator.
2013: Sir Halley Stewart Trust Fund Grant Award. ‘Exploring understandings about self-harm, drug and alcohol use among young people in diverse socioeconomic contexts’ Principal Investigator.
2013: Chief Scientist’s Office of the Scottish Government. ‘General Practitioner understandings and management of self-harm: a qualitative study’. Co-Investigator.
2013: Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh. ‘Self-harm: Ethical Considerations of an Embodied Practice. Principal Investigator.

View all 24 publications on Research Explorer