Erica Burman and Sabah Siddiqui

Sabah's thesis is entitled 'Clinical Imagination in Critico-Cultural Context: Faith Healing Practices in India'.


Photograph of Erica Burman

What are the areas in which you most like to supervise?

That’s a tricky question. I would say that I like to supervise what I think has the potential to be a worthwhile contribution to knowledge and will make the world a better place. My own background is in psychology and psychotherapy and is qualitative in orientation, but in terms of supervision I am not committed to any one particular topic. Rather I need to sense that there will be a fruitful collaboration through which we can learn from each other.  My role is to help the research student develop their thinking, finish their programme and become a socially engaged researcher. I have supervised over fifty PhDs and they have all had a different focus. Each challenge was also unique, and every supervisory relationship has been different, too.

Why do you enjoy supervising Sabah?

Sabah has a School funded scholarship. We are lucky to be supporting her project, plus an extra benefit of working on this interdisciplinary study is that we have composed a cross-Faculty supervisory team with Dr Rubina Jasani from the Humanitarian Conflict Response Institute, who has actually done similar work, and so we have the sense of really being able to contribute to a specific field as well as building new partnerships across the University.

Sabah's research is particularly interesting as it engages key debates in the contemporary Indian context. She is investigating the relationships between politics, science and faith healing through ethnographic study of a shrine in rural Gujarat. Her research is relevant to MIE because it centres on the role of professional training and the socio-political consequences of Mental Health educational interventions.

Moreover Sabah is theoretically engaged; she writes well and is also active in supporting and inspiring other students through organising events and student-centred methods sessions such as Discourse Unplugged; she wants to contribute to change in a positive way; and she is engaged with projects and practices in the UK that will provide her with comparative experience when she returns to India. I am very keen to support her and I believe that her thesis will offer important contributions.


Photograph of Sabah Siddiqui

What's your research about?

My research is located at the intersection of science and religion. I am exploring the experiences of people based in a religious shrine alongside state-funded psychiatric services in India. I am interested in how they understand the meeting of these two types of treatments. My interest for this topic started with my MPhil research for which I have recently published as a book. The book is called Psychoanalysis and Religion in India: Critical Clinical Practices (Routledge, 2016).

What's it like to be supervised by Erica at the Manchester Institute of Education?

It's fabulous! Erica gives specialised attention to each research project. She provides sharp and unique feedback for my particular strengths and weaknesses. I really appreciate her comments that concern the interdisciplinary nature of my research, for example with regard to the connections between different discipline areas. I am always encouraged to go for conferences and publications. In addition, Erica sees my time at the University of Manchester as an important part of my professional development, but she also values my personal development, and wants me to enjoy my time as an international student in the UK. I feel very supported by my supervisory team!