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Centre for Medical Humanities

Programme of Research

The Centre for Arts and Humanities in Health and Medicine (CAHHM) developed into the Centre for Medical Humanities.

CAHHM was a research centre based in Durham University's multidisciplinary School for Health. It was established in 2000 by the Vice Chancellor, Sir Kenneth Calman, with initial support from the Nuffield Trust. The Centre's aim was to pursue interdisciplinary research and educational initiatives that explored and extended the relationship between the humanities, the arts and medical and healthcare practice. CAHHM developed research activities and interests in three main areas: medical humanities, arts in health and health care environments. The Centre had four members and two associate members of staff all from different backgrounds and they worked closely with the Departments of English Studies, Philosophy and Anthropology. Nationally, the Centre was the editorial base for the journal Medical Humanities, as well as being the secretariat for the Association for Medical Humanities. CAHHM staff worked closely on the arts in health and health care environments aspects of their work with the Arts Council, Department of Health and Department of Culture, Media and Sport on the development of policy initiatives in these fields and in workforce development. They also engaged in developing international links in all three of the research fields and staff were invited to Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

From that rich history of engagement, CMH has developed to continue the same level of commitment to interdisciplinary enlightenment and transformation through the following programme of research.

Research Clusters 

A sculpture called “Industry”, near the Botanic Gardens, now replaced by J3372 : Sculpture, Queen's University Belfast.© Copyright Albert Bridge and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Health, Imagination and Creativity

We want to assess the contribution of creative imagination to medicine, healthcare and public health within a shared reflective practice that establishes effective arts in health as a hybrid rather than specialist activity.

Virtual Environmental Doctor by Wonderlane, Flickr

Policy, Practice and Practitioners

Taking perspectives from outside the context of medical practice, we are able to take a critical view of the way in which that practice has evolved, to question the assumptions that underlie it, and to work with practitioners who are interested in developing new therapeutic approaches.

Mind, Body and Affect

The Centre is investigating the interdependence of mind, body and affect, exploring the history of these ideas and their relationship to the pre- and post-Cartesian views of the self and the implications of challenging these divides for distinctions between the ‘normal’ and ‘pathological’ subjecthood.

Critical Medical Humanities

This last cluster cuts across our other research endeavours to assert our commitment to research that takes the time to stand back, reflect and embed our specific enquiries within the broader implications of and for medicine and health.

Contact Details

Centre for Medical Humanities
Caedmon Building
Leazes Road

Tel: +44 (0)191 33 48277