The Measurement Lab is linked to a range of projects, including:

Illustration of the Miner's Gala in Durham

When Categories Constrain Care: Investigating Social Categories in Health Norms through Disability History 1909–1958

When Categories Constrain Care: Investigating Social Categories in Health Norms through Disability History 1909-1958

We think of categories like height, weight and sex as integral to health assessment. Drawing on insights from disability history and history of science, When Categories Constrain Care explores how these categories were constructed, and how they have influenced subsequent provision and compensation for the disabled. It locates the making of these categories in two distinct areas: eugenics and coal-mining compensation. These two areas have been chosen because in the case of eugenics, researchers were attempting to prove the influence of heredity over the environment while in the case of compensation disputes, miners and trade unionists sought to prove the influence of the environment over heredity. This contrast illuminates how these categories constructed disability as either biological or social, which had a corresponding impact on whether disablement was located in the individual, or whether it was lcoated in the environment and ways of living and working.

When Categories Constrain Care is supported by a Wellcome University Award (2023–2028) awarded to Coreen McGuire. More information about the project, including events and activities, is available on Coreen McGuire’s personal website. 

A rust coloured plaque in the grass. The plaque says 'A wind that carries memories of coal'.

Environmental Histories and Futures of the North-East

The North-East has played a pivotal role in the formation of the British energy economy, from its long mining history to its contemporary role in the green energy transition. The goal of this project is to reflect on the North-East’s environmental heritage and future from 1850 to 2050, tracing the legacies of key energy transitions in the region. The project will take a socio-ecological approach to the question, looking especially to the ways that energy economies have shaped livelihoods and wellbeing of communities in the North-East, and conversely how the interests and cultural practices of the area’s residents have shaped its environments. The project will integrate issues of environmental justice, economic inequality, and environmental health in the region during this period.

Environmental Histories and Futures of the North-East is led by Dr Emily Webster (Durham University), Dr Simona Capisani (Durham University), Dr Coreen McGuire (Durham University) and Dr Jessi Lehman (Durham University).