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Centre for Medical Humanities


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.

Workshop 1: Durham University, IAS (Institute of Advanced Studies)

Introduction: Interdisciplinary research and methods in the Medical Humanities. September 25th and 26th, 2014.

This introductory session was led by the Director of New Generations, Professor Jane Macnaughton, and members of the CMH research team, including researchers on ‘Hearing the Voice’ (HtV), an interdisciplinary project involving researchers in psychology and neuroscience working alongside those in literary studies and philosophy. The workshop began with an overview of the medical humanities, the rationale for and outline of the course. The focus was on interdisciplinary methods, introduced by the Director of Durham University’s Institute of Advanced Study (IAS), Prof. Veronica Strang. The nature, role and importance of social science methods was highlighted. Participants participated in a simulated HtV research team ‘Voice Club’ meeting facilitated by Mary Robson.

Read the blog post about this workshop by cohort members Claude Jousselin and Ben Kasstan.

Workshop 2: Glasgow University

Digital developments in the Medical Humanities. December 10th and 11th, 2014.

This workshop focused on harnessing digital technology for research in the medical humanities and was delivered by the Medical Humanities Research Centre (MHRC) based in the School of Critical Studies (with the technical support of HATTI, the Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institute). In particular it drew upon expertise gained on the major AHRC funded, collaborative digital editing project, ‘The Consultation Letters of Dr William Cullen at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh’. Themes covered include: grant capture, entering into a collaboration, creating and managing large data-sets, developing in-built project management systems, legacy, knowledge transfer and impact.

For many years Glasgow University has played a leading, international role in the development of both the medical and digital humanities and as a consequence was in a unique position to provide expert, cross-disciplinary, post-graduate training in these combined areas.

Read the blog post about this workshop by cohort members Hieke Huistra and Emily T. Troscianko.

Workshop 3: Wellcome Trust

Public engagement: simulation and innovation in the Medical Humanities. February 10th, 2015.

This workshop was be led by Ms Lisa Jamieson, Head of Engaging Science at the Wellcome Trust and Prof. Roger Kneebone, Professor of Surgical Education at Imperial College. Ms Jamieson and her team discussed the Trust’s programme for grantholders, ‘Public engagement with Research Provision’, and the potential ways in which participants might capture the public imagination in research dissemination.

Prof Kneebone hosted a medical simulation at the Trust in the afternoon. The simulation demonstrated how to turn engagement into participation and created a space in which participants shared perspectives and provided reciprocal illumination.

Read the blog post about this workshop by cohort members Luna Dolezal and James Stark.

Workshop 4: Wellcome Library

The changing landscape of library provision. February 11th, 2015.

Dr Simon Chaplin and his team at the Wellcome Library will lead a workshop on the changing face of libraries in medical humanities research. How is digitisation transforming the practice of traditional libraries? What next for the humble library catalogue? And what will archives - and archivists - look like in the future? Speakers will be invited from major London libraries and archives to report on current projects.

Read the blog post about this workshop by cohort members Becky Brown and Sam Goodman.

Workshop 5: Wellcome Trust

Broadening horizons: funding, publishing and careers options. February 12th, 2015.

Dr Dan O’Connor, Head of Medical Humanities and Lauren Couch, Medical Humanities Advisor, presented a workshop that covered funding options, the fast-moving opportunities for publishing and dissemination of research, and career opportunities in the medical humanities and related fields. Speakers included representatives from the business sector who discussed the applications of medical humanities research and training in non-academic contexts, such as broadcasting, museums, policy-making and the library and research resource management sectors.

Workshop 6: Kings College London

Narrative medicine and the Medical Humanities. February 13th, 2015.

This workshop focused on research questions at the interface of clinical care and the humanities. Clinical practice daily encompasses patient experience in its cultural contexts. But biomedical science essentially focuses on causes, mechanisms and treatments, and accounts for human experiences only partially and schematically. As long as the meaning of illness to individuals, families and to society falls outside the purview of biomedical science, biomedical science alone will offer less than a full foundation for clinical practice.

Workshop 7: Leeds University

The material culture of medicine: applications in the Medical Humanities. April 16th and 17th 2015.

This workshop focused on the ways in which the material culture of medicine can be fruitfully incorporated into medical humanities teaching and research. Morning sessions explored material culture as a research methodology and assessed the ways in which objects can be interrogated for information. The morning part of the workshop also focused on the ways in which healthcare is represented in and employs art and objects. The afternoon session involved a tour of the museum and its exhibition, a discussion of career options in museums and heritage for medical humanities scholars. Since 2007, the Museum of the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at the University of Leeds has safeguarded the material scientific and medical heritage of the University, the city and the region. It continues to develop innovative programmes of undergraduate and postgraduate teaching, to make accessible core source materials to researchers and to deliver exciting public engagement events.

Provision Programme: 10am – 4pm [30-45 min sessions with time for questions/discussion]

  1. Introduction: Object interrogation and Research Methodology
  2. Things, Meanings and Cultural History
  3. Interpreting healthcare: the practical application of art
  4. Lunch
  5. Campus Collections Tour
  6. Careers
  7. Curating an exhibition

Read the blog post about this workshop by cohort members Victoria Bates and Fiona Johnstone.

Workshop 8: Trinity Dublin College | Long Room Hub

Interventions through Art and Heritage. June 2015.

Participating New Generations Cohort members determined the programme content and location for the June workshop. With the help of cohort member Luna Dolezal, a programme was developed that involved a visit to the Long Room Hub in Trinity College, the Arts and Humanities Research Institute in Dublin. We enjoyed talks by leading researchers on recent and current projects involving Arts and Health initiatives. Additionally, we heard about the unique body donor project underway in the Anatomy Department crucial to medical research and the education of medical students. The highlight of the workshop was a visit to the Anatomy Rooms which house the original Trinity College medical lecture theatre and years of archival objects related to medicine and medical science.

Workshop 9: Durham University

New Generations in Medical Humanities – Final Event Showcase. September 2015.

As we celebrated the year end of the CMH New Generations Workshops we reflected on our accomplishments in an open showcase. The New Generations programme, funded by the AHRC and Wellcome Trust, was aimed at delivering an exciting and innovative skills development programme to a group of doctoral students and early career researchers in the medical humanities while facilitating the development of a supportive, interdisciplinary peer group. Additionally, the programme set out to create career development opportunities by enabling interaction between participants and staff in key centres of the medical humanities while engaging in discussions on the full range of medical humanities career options. This open showcase event provided an opportunity to reflect on these aims while also demonstrating the breadth of research underway amongst this group of doctoral students and early career researchers.

The final workshop of the New Generations in Medical Humanities programme was hosted in Durham on 9th September 2015.

Contact Details

Centre for Medical Humanities
Caedmon Building
Leazes Road

Tel: +44 (0)191 33 48277