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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Professor Jane Macnaughton, MA, PhD, DRCOG, MRCGP

Professor of Medical Humanities in the Department of Anthropology
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 48164
Research Associate in the Department of English Studies

Contact Professor Jane Macnaughton (email at


Jane Macnaughton is Professor of Medical Humanities at Durham University in the UK and Director of the University’s Centre for Medical Humanities (CMH). She has been centrally involved in the development of medical humanities in the UK since 1998. She was part of the core group that set up the Association for Medical Humanities in 2000 with support from the Nuffield Trust and was its inaugural Secretary. She edited the journal Medical Humanities from 2002-2008. The Northern Network for Medical Humanities Research was established on the back of a meeting Jane initiated and chaired at Durham in February 2013 with the purpose of strengthening the visibility of medical humanities research and encouraging collaboration across universities in the North of England and Scotland. 

Jane currently holds two large awards from Wellcome: a Development Grant for the Centre for Medical Humanities. and a Senior Investigator Award for her project, the Life of Breath. She sits on the Wellcome Trust Expert Review Group for established career awards in medical humanities. Her research focusses on the idea of the ‘symptom’: its initial appearance, development and evolution in connection with medical contexts, habits and technologies. 

Until August 2017 when Medicine moved to Newcastle University, Jane was Dean of Undergraduate Medicine at Durham University. She is now Professor in the Anthropology Department and interested in supervising work on the nature of clinical interactions, the development of symptoms, including breathlessness and symptoms relating to women’s health. She is a member of the Department’s Research Committee and the Anthropology of Health Research Group. She is involved in the University’s Equality and Diversity strategy as a member of the Institutional Athena SWAN Committee and the University’s Bullying and Harassment Network. She continues to be clinically active and is an Honorary Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University Hospital of North Durham working in colposcopy.

Research Groups

School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health

Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing

Research Interests

  • Medical humanities
  • Embodied and emergent symptoms
  • Movement and health
  • Breath and breathlessness
  • Epistemologies of health research

Selected Publications

Authored book

  • Downie, RS & Macnaughton, RJ (2007). Bioethics and the Humanities: Attitudes and Perceptions. London: Routledge-Cavendish.
  • Downie, RS & Macnaughton, RJ (2000). Clinical Judgement: evidence in practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Edited book

  • Whitehead, A., Woods, A., Atkinson, S., Macnaughton, J. & Richards, J. (2016). The Edinburgh Companion to the Critical Medical Humanities. Edinburgh Companions to Literature. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
  • Saunders, Corinne, Macnaughton, Jane & Fuller, David (2015). The Recovery of Beauty: Arts, Culture, Medicine. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Gordon, J, Macnaughton, J & Rudebeck, CE (2013). Medical Humanities Companion: Prognosis. Medical humanities companion, volume 4. Oxford: Radcliffe Publishing.
  • Evans, M, Ahlzen, R, Heath, I & Macnaughton, R (2009). Medical Humanities Companion Vol. 1: Symptom. Oxford: Radcliffe Publishing Ltd.
  • Saunders, CJ, Maude, U & Macnaughton, J (2009). The Body and the Arts. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Saunders, Corinne & Macnaughton, Jane (2005). Madness and Creativity in Literature and Culture.. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Chapter in book

  • Macnaughton, J. & Carel, H. (2016). ‘Breathing and breathlessness in clinic and culture: using critical medical humanities to bridge an epistemic gap’. In The Edinburgh Companion to the Critical Medical Humanities. Whitehead, A., Woods, A., Atkinson, S., Macnaughton, J. & Richards, J. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 294-309.
  • Macnaughton, J. (2015). ‘Elegant’ Surgery: The Beauty of Clinical Expertise. In The Recovery of Beauty: Arts, Culture, Medicine. Saunders, C., Macnaughton, J. & Fuller, D. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan. 175-198.
  • Macnaughton J (2013). Becoming. In Medical Humanities Companion: Prognosis. Gordon J, Macnaughton J & Rudebeck CE Oxford: Radcliffe Publishing. 4: 53-56.
  • Macnaughton, J (2013). On Treatment and its effects. In Medical Humanities Companion: Treatment. Louhiala, P, Heath, I & Saunders, J Oxford Radcliffe Publishing. 3: 1-16.
  • Evans, HM & Macnaughton, Jane (2010). Intimacy and distance in the clinical examination. In Medical Humanities Companion Volume 2. Ahlzen R, Evans M, Louhiala P & Puustinen R Oxford: Radcliffe Publishing. 2: 89-107.
  • Macnaughton, J (2009). Flesh Revealed: medicine, art and anatomy. In The Body and the Arts. Saunders, C, Maude, U & Macnaughton, J London Palgrave. 72-86.
  • Macnaughton, J (2008). Seeing ourselves: interpreting the visual signs of illness. In Medical Humanities Companion Volume 1: Symptom. Evans, M, Ahlzen, R, Heath, I & Macnaughton, J Oxford: Radcliffe. 1: 71-85.
  • Macnaughton, R. J. (2003). Clinical Judgement. In Oxford Textbook of Primary Medical Care. Jones, R., Britten, N., Culpepper, L., Gass, D. A., Grol, R., Mant, D. & Silagy, C. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1: 205-209.
  • Macnaughton, RJ (2002). Arts and humanities in medical education. In GP Tomorrow. Oxford: Radcliffe Medical Press.
  • Macnaughton, RJ (2001). Why medical humanities now? In Medical Humanities. Evans, HM & Finlay, IG London: Blackwell BMJ Books. 187-203.
  • Downie, RS & Macnaughton, RJ (1999). Public morality and moral education. In Advances in Bioethics: Bioethics for Medical Education. Edwards, RB & Bittar, EE Connecticut USA: JAI Press. 5: 17-30.
  • Downie, RS & Macnaughton, RJ (1998). Can we teach medical students to be morally good doctors? In Advances in Bioethics. Evans, HM Connecticut USA: JAI Press.
  • Downie, RS & Macnaughton, RJ (1998). Public Health and Ethics. In Progress in Public Health. Scally, G London: Churchill Livingstone.
  • Macnaughton, RJ (1998). The value of anecdote in clinical practice. In Narrative Based Medicine. Greenlaugh, T & Hurwitz, B London: BMJ Books.

Journal Article

  • Rose, Arthur, Duschinsky, Robbie & Macnaughton, Jane (2017). Cynicism as a strategic virtue. The Lancet 389(10070): 692-693.
  • Macnaughton, Jane (2017). The past, present, and future of medical humanities. postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies 8(2): 234-239.
  • Oxley, R. & Macnaughton, J. (2016). Inspiring change: humanities and social science insights into the experience and management of breathlessness. Current Opinion in Supportive and Palliative Care 10(3): 256-261.
  • Wainwright, M & Macnaughton, J (2013). Is a qualitative perspective missing from COPD guidelines? The Lancet Respiratory Medicine 1(6): 441-442.
  • Macnaughton, J., Carro-Ripalda, S. & Russell, A. (2012). ‘Risking enchantment’ how are we to view the smoking person? Critical Public Health 22(4): 455-469.
  • Carel, H & Macnaughton, J (2012). “How do you feel?” oscillating perspectives in the clinic. The Lancet 379(9834): 2334-2335.
  • Raw, A., Lewis, S., Russell, A. & Macnaughton, J. (2012). A Hole in the Heart: confronting the drive for evidence-based impact research in arts in health. Arts & Health, an International Journal for Research, Policy & Practice 4(2): 97-108.
  • Macnaughton, J. (2011). Medical humanities’ challenge to medicine. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 17(5): 927-932.
  • Atkinson, S, Macnaughton, J, Saunders, C & Evans, M (2010). Cool Intimacies of Care for Contemporary Clinical Practice. The Lancet 376(9754): 1732-1733.
  • Downie, Robin & Macnaughton, Jane (2009). In defence of professional judgement. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment 15(5): 328-331.
  • McLachlan, John C, Finn, Gabrielle M & Macnaughton, Jane (2009). The Conscientiousness Index: A Novel Tool to Explore Students’ Professionalism. Academic Medicine 84(5): 559-565.
  • Macnaughton, RJ (2009). The dangerous practice of empathy. The Lancet 373 (9679): 1940-1941.
  • Macnaughton, RJ (2007). Art in Hospital Spaces: the Role of Hospitals in an Aestheticised Society. International Journal of Cultural Policy 13(1): 85-101.
  • Macnaughton, RJ (2007). Literature and the ‘good doctor’ in Ian McEwan’s Saturday. Journal of Medical Ethics: Medical Humanities 33: 70-74.
  • Macnaughton, RJ, White, M & Stacy, R (2005). Researching the Benefits of Arts in Health. Health Education 105(5): 332-339.
  • Evans, HM & Macnaughton, RJ (2004). Is there a role for patients' voices in the modern case record? Journal of Medical Ethics: Medical Humanities 30: 57-58.
  • Evans, HM & Macnaughton, RJ (2004). Should Medical Humanities be a multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary study? Journal of Medical Ethics: Medical Humanities 30: 1-4.
  • Macnaughton, RJ (2002). 'Arts and Humanities': a new section in Medical Education. Medical Education 36: 106-107.
  • Macnaughton, RJ (2002). Research in Medical Humanities: time for a new paradigm? Medical Education 36: 500-501.
  • Macnaughton, RJ (2002). The St Andrews Institute for Clinical Research: An early Experiment in Collaboration. Medical History 46(4): 549-568.
  • Kinn, S, Macnaughton, RJ , Scoular, A & Noone, A (2000). Chlamydia trachomatis: knowledge and practice in Glasgow. British Journal of General Practice 50: 214-215.
  • Macnaughton, RJ (2000). The humanities in medical education: context, outcomes and structures. Journal Medical Ethics: Medical Humanities 26: 23-30.
  • Davison, H, Capewell, S, Macnaughton, RJ , Murray, S & Hanlon, P (1999). Community-orientated education in Glasgow: developing a community diagnosis exercise. Medical Education 33: 55-62.
  • Downie, RS & Macnaughton, RJ (1999). Should medical students read Plato? Medical Journal of Australia 170: 125-127.
  • Macnaughton, RJ (1998). Evidence and clinical judgement. Journal of Education in Clinical Practice 4: 89-92.
  • Downie, RS & Macnaughton, RJ (1998). Images of Health in Literature. Lancet 351: 823-825.
  • Macnaughton, RJ (1998). Medicine and Arts: let's not forget the medicine. British Journal of General Practice 48: 952-953.
  • Downie, RS Hendry, RA & Macnaughton, RJ (1997). Humanising Medicine: a special study module. Medical Education 31: 276-280.
  • Macnaughton, RJ (1997). Special study modules: an opportunity not to be missed. Medical Education 31: 49-51.
  • Macnaughton, RJ (1996). Core values: doctor or everyman? British Medical Journal 313: 120-121.
  • Sullivan, FM & Macnaughton, RJ (1996). Evidence in consultations: interpreted and individualised. Lancet 348: 941-43.
  • Macnaughton, RJ (1996). Numbers scales and qualitative research. Lancet 347: 1099-1100.
  • Macnaughton, RJ (1995). Anecdotes and Empiricism. British Journal of General Practice 45: 571-572.
  • Macnaughton, RJ (1995). The ultimate course: the doctor as patient. Journal of Medical Ethics 21(5): 278-280.


  • Macnaughton, RJ, Collins, PJ, White, M, Elliott, K, Soukas, A, Purves, G, Kellett, P & Coleman, SM (2005). Designing for Health: Architecture, Art and Design at the James Cook University Hospital. Centre for Arts and Humanities in Health and Medicine. London, NHS Estates.

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