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Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

Living Scales: Scaling the Body - workshop

28th February 2017, 10:00 to 16:30, Kenworthy Hall, St Mary's College, Dr Liz Hallam (University of Aberdeen ), Dr Anna Maerker (Kings College London), Professor Douglas Davies (Durham University)


With recent advances in transplant medicine, there is now not much that isn’t of potential secondary use when we die. The heart, liver, kidneys, lungs, pancreas and small intestines, corneas, skin, veins, heart valves, tendons, ligaments and bones that functioned in one body might all now find themselves functioning in another.

The trajectory of these entities is both complex and ethically challenging. It brings within a single frame questions of biomedical need and the relief of suffering on the one hand and ideas about the body, death and what happens beyond on the other. This workshop will explore this trajectory with the aim of shedding new light on the various transactions of which it is comprised. This exploration will be twofold.

First, this workshop consider the way the body is subject to different scales and what it means when there is a shift between scales. This will entail reflection upon the whole body of the donor at death; the body as partible and made up of entities that are physically isolatable, hierarchically ordered and yet dynamically interlinked; the re-constitution of recipient bodies as healthy and whole; and, finally, the larger scale social and moral imaginaries into which these entities pass.

Second, the workshop will draw [and do so quite literally!] upon the visual arts to stimulate a deeper meditation upon these shifts between scales and what they mean in the present and, crucially, they might mean in the future.

The visual and participatory elements of this event will be led by the acclaimed artist, Barrie Ormsby. The participatory elements will be interspersed by contributions from Dr Liz Hallam (University of Oxford), Dr Anna Maerker (Kings College London and IAS visiting fellow) and Professor Douglas Davies (Professor of Theology, Durham University). The event will also feature contributions from the Centre for Medical Humanities.

This event is also part of the Department of Anthropology’s 70/50 anniversary celebrations.

The all-day workshop is open to all and will take place on 28th February 2017 in Kenworthy Hall (St Mary’s College). Places will be limited to 25 and registration is essential at: www.dur.ac.uk/anthropology/scalingthebody/

For further details contact Professor Bob Simpson, Departmentof Anthropology. robert.simpson@durham.ac.uk

Contact robert.simpson@durham.ac.uk for more information about this event.