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Tavistock and Portman Charity appoints Professor Edward Harcourt as new chair

The Tavistock and Portman Charity has welcomed a new chair of trustees, Professor Edward Harcourt MBE. 

Edward is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Keble College. A Cambridge undergraduate and Oxford doctoral student, he recently completed a four-year secondment to the UKRI Arts and Humanities Research Council as Director of Research, Strategy and Innovation. Edward has also held a Mind Association Research Fellowship and his visiting appointments include the University of California at Berkeley, Williams College (Massachusetts) and the University of Innsbruck.

Edward looking at the camera in black jacket, blue shirt and red tie

His links to the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust go back to 2010 when he convened the first of five annual series of popular seminars linking philosophy and psychoanalysis at the Tavistock.

Edward said: “The charity and the NHS Trust it serves speak to a number of my longstanding interests as a philosopher and academic leader all at once: ethics, psychoanalysis and psychotherapy, psychiatry and public education. While in a constantly changing environment there is an obvious need to innovate, in a delivery system that is inevitably both bureaucratic and science-heavy, the Tavi’s unique voice – speaking up for the importance of the human relationship in mental health services – is as important now as it ever was.”

The Trust Charity is focused on improving access to mental health training for under-represented groups, as well as supporting research and clinical innovation centred on the social and relational aspects of mental health.

Over the past three years, it has funded more than 100k in bursaries to 26 students from under-represented backgrounds, to study various courses at the Trust. The Trust is a well-reputed education and training provider, offering hundreds of courses, including university-accredited post-qualification and doctoral programmes.

Edward replaces outgoing Chair, Louise Lyon.

Louise said: “I’m delighted to hand on the chair to Edward at an important time in the Trust’s history and I’m pleased to retain my commitment to the charity as a trustee.  There’s much we can do to support Trust staff, students and the community it serves though promoting equality, diversity, inclusion, innovation and research.”

Michael Holland, Chief Executive of the Tavistock and Portman, said: “We thank Louise for her invaluable work, nurturing the Charity from its inception until now. We wish her the very best for the future. We’re also very pleased to welcome Edward and look forward to all the impactful work the Charity will be doing under his leadership.”