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Durham University

Institute for Medical Humanities

Our Research

“We want to improve health through an enhanced understanding of human experience.”

Medical research often starts at the clinic door - we start further back, with everyday experiences of health and illness, the emergence of symptoms, and the cultural contexts and constructs of health. Most of us are lucky enough to know what ‘healthy’ feels like. All of us have experienced some kind of illness, injury or environment which disrupts that feeling of wellness. But health, that feeling of being well or unwell, is subjective. It defies quantification and varies from day to day, let alone between people, environments, cultures and contexts. Our research uses an interdisciplinary approach to tease apart these experiences of health and illness, to build knowledge, transform understanding, inform healthcare practices and ultimately improve human health.

Our research is organised into 5 overlapping, interdisciplinary strands.

  1. Embodied Symptoms
  2. Thinking, Feeling, Imagining
  3. Everyday Environments
  4. The Science of Human Experience
  5. Critical Concepts

Read more about these Research Strands