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Centre for Medical Humanities

Matthew Colbeck

Interdisciplinary skills development for medical humanities: an opportunity for early career researchers and postgraduates. Funded by the AHRC and led by Durham University’s Centre for Medical Humanities in collaboration with the Northern Network for Medical Humanities Research and the Wellcome Trust.

Matthew Colbeck

Matthew Colbeck


Matthew Colbeck is a PhD student within the School of English at the University of Sheffield. He is researching the representation of coma and brain injury in literature, with a particular interest in the ethical issues of writing about cognitive impairment and disability. As part of this, he has been addressing the idea that inaccurate, fictional representations of coma are influential in creating a misleading, collective understanding within a wider audience as to what coma and brain injury entails. For this reason, he is interested in mapping first person testimony against fiction in order to examine the mythologies that are generated by coma texts.

As part of his research, Matthew has established a writing group, The Write Way, of which all participants have experienced coma or brain injury. The group has published their first collection of writings, Head-Lines, which was launched at Sheffield’s Off The Shelf literary festival in October 2011. The second edition was launched at the University of Sheffield’s In The City festival in 2014.

His article, ‘There Is The Trouble, There Is The Toil’: Katabasis And The Underworld Topography Of Coma was published in the University of Bristol’s peer-reviewed online journal, Harts & Minds.

Contact Details

Hearing the Voice
c/o School of Education
Durham University
Leazes Road 
Durham
DH1 1SZ

Tel: +44 (0)191 3348163