We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing

Previous Events

List of months

Thursday 29 May 2014

The Problem with Care: priorities, politics and research

1:00pm to 4:00pm, Room 452, Durham University Business School, Mill Hill Lane, Durham

You are invited to the launch event of the Organising Care Special Interest Group hosted by the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing & Durham University Business School. The aim of the group is to encourage critical consideration of the effects of organising on care - how the act of organising people, professions, services, resources, regulation, ideas, procedures and processes fundamentally effects experiences of caring and being cared for in health social and related sectors. 

With above in mind we have brought together an expert panel to open up a discussion of what are or ought to be the priorities for political, policy and research action. Following their presentations there will be time for open debate with questions invited from the audience to our panellists.


1.00 - 1.30 Lunch
1.30 - 3.30 Introductions - Paula Hyde and Robert McMurray (co-convenors)

 Panel Presentations:

Making wicked problems governable? Managed networks in health care

Ewan Ferlie, Professor of Public Services Management, Kings College London

Crossing the boundaries: Leading complex health systems

David Hunter, Professor of Health Policy and Management in the Centre for Public Policy and Health, School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health

Priorities, politics and research

Derek Marshall, Chief Workforce Strategist and Planner, Health Education North East


3.30 Open Discussion
4.00 Close

Refreshments will be served & you are invited to take a tour around the new reopened Durham University Business School. To reserve a place please contact: Teresa Rayner (

This event will be followed by the inaugural lecture at 6.00-7.00pm by Professor Paula Hyde at St John’s College, South Bailey, Durham, Durham DH1 3RJ followed by drinks and refreshments. If you would like to attend please contact Teresa Rayner (


Contact for more information about this event.

Wednesday 14 May 2014

Joint Guest Lecture between Belief, Understanding & Wellbeing theme and St Cuthbert's Society - Retraining our Brains to be More Resilient

11:30am to 1:45pm, SCR, St Cuthbert's Society, 12 South Bailey, Durham, DH1 3EE, Dr Cynthia Stonnington, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Mayo Clinic, Arizona


A joint guest lecture between the WRIHW theme of Belief, Understanding & Wellbeing and St Cuthbert’s Society.


Resilience is the ability to recover quickly from adversity, sustain positive engagement in the midst of hardship or stress, and to learn and grow from the experience. Resilient people appear better able to buffer a variety of stressors with better medical outcomes than those with less resilience. Researchers can use brain imaging to show structural and functional differences between people who do and do not develop stress-related symptoms. Evidence also supports the notion that several aspects of resilience can be taught and that these interventions change brain structure and function. One of the most studied strategies to enhance effective responses to stress is Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). We have tested a modified version of MBSR that also incorporates other principles from the resilience literature, called Mindfulness Based Resilience Training (MBRT). Preliminary evidence shows MBRT to be a helpful intervention for both medically ill and healthy populations. 

Educational objectives of this talk:

  • Discuss neurobiology of stress and resilience
  • Review the latest evidence from mindfulness research
  • Describe the key concepts of MBRT
  • Report outcomes from MBRT in cancer and transplant patients
  • Practice a typical mindfulness meditation and discuss the experience


Dr. Cynthia Stonnington is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and the Chair of Psychiatry & Psychology at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. She completed medical school at Mayo Medical School in Rochester, MN; her residency training in Psychiatry at Stanford University Medical Center; and a Clinical Research Fellowship in brain imaging at University College London’s Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging. Her research interests include: Applying neuroimaging methods to predict cognitive decline; exploring the neuropsychiatric underpinnings of psychosomatic illness; and identifying and testing interventions that can help patients increase their resiliency in the face of illness or its risk. 


It is essential to book your place as places are limited to 35 and for catering purposes. A light lunch will follow the talk. Please click here to take you to the online booking form. 

Contact for more information about this event.

Thursday 8 May 2014

Understanding and Communicating Pain: an interdisciplinary approach

6:00pm to 3:00pm

07 May 2014, 6.00 – 8.00pm Calman Learning Centre, Durham University

08 May 2014, 9.00 – 3.00pm, Wolfson Research Institute, Durham University

Pain is not just an individual physical or emotional experience. The ways in which it is represented and imagined, and the knowledges, beliefs and values that surround it, have a direct effect on how it is experienced and managed by individuals, families and social groups.

This event takes an interdisciplinary look at how pain is caused, experienced, understood and communicated exploring the following questions:

  • How do different cultural and sub-cultural groups deal with pain: what kinds of beliefs and values do they have about pain; what kinds of rituals and forms of therapy do they employ in managing it; how do they communicate it? What can we learn from diverse cultural and historial perspectives on pain?
  • Pain is represented in the arts in multiple ways: as something to be feared and conquered; as something that offers fascination and drama. What kinds of images of pain do we draw on in the UK? How can images of pain in the visual and literary arts affect people’s experiences of pain and our strategies for managing it? 
  • How do beliefs and ideas about pain affect its representation as a social problem, for example in relation to policies providing access to health and social services? What kinds of scientific evidence are required in demonstrating the efficacy of pain management therapies? How do dominant societal ideas about pain affect social and economic policies relating to worklessness and benefits?
  • What is the science behind pain and its perception by people and how is this linked to the social and psychological questions? What is is the basis for the analgesic “placebo” effect? What is the link between pain and addiction/reward? What is the basis of pain experience changes as we age?
  • Why are numbers of prescriptions for analgesics excessively higher (5-fold in some cases) in Teesside than the rest of the country? (

Durham University’s Institute of Advanced Study and Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing, in collaboration with the Durham Forum for Health, will explore these questions in these two events; firstly a public talk, followed by a full day workshop.

07 May: An evening public event centred on a panel discussion with three speakers, addressing the questions above and inviting contributions from a public audience.

08 May: A one-day workshop, co-hosted by the University’s Biophysical Sciences Institute, aimed at initiating an interdisciplinary project on pain.


07 May 2014, 6.00 – 8.00pm

Calman Learning Centre, Rosemary Cramp Theatre, Durham University

The panel

Chair: Professor: Professor Jane Macnaughton


Dr Clare Roques

Is Pain a Problem to be Fixed? An International Perspective

In a briefing note published in 2009, the World Health Organization estimated ‘that 5 billion people... have no or insufficient access to treatment for moderated to severe pain’. Despite widespread initiatives to change this situation, often focussing on improving access to opioid medications such as morphine, in many countries progress has been limited. Dr Clare Roques will present an overview of these initiatives and describe some of the potential reasons for the apparent gap between global policy and local implementation.

Dr Suzannah Biernoff
Iconographies of pain and stoicism

How and when is pain represented in Western art and visual culture? There are certain contexts in which pain has been made visible and communicable: religious iconography; studies of physiognomy and human expression; images of illness and self-portraiture. What is harder to fathom is why certain kinds of pain are imaged while others are not. The example Dr Biernoff will focus on is military medicine, in which cultural ideals of masculinity coincide with a medical gaze that abstracts the symptom, or the injured part, from the patient. In photographs of facial injury from the First World War – and Henry Tonks’ intimate drawings of the same patients – one is confronted by a perplexing absence of pain. This absence can be explained, Dr Biernoff suggests, by contemporary views of both masculinity and medicine. Stoicism – the ‘stiff upper lip’ – limits the expression of pain and while Tonks’ portraits suggest psychological depth, the case photographs are all surface. In this context pain was – and perhaps still is – subsumed by the ideology of repair and rehabilitation.

Dr Rachael Gooberman-Hill
Research into pain: ethnographic and clinical perspectives

In this talk Dr Rachael Gooberman-Hill shall discuss ethnographic and qualitative studies of pain and reflect on how these may relate to concepts used in, and design of, clinical research. This matters because ethnography and qualitative studies provide insight into pain in context, and because clinical research informs current practice in healthcare. She will introduce some key studies of pain, which have variously explored experiences of pain and pain management. By providing insight into pain in context, such studies help us to understand pain as simultaneously individual, social, cultural, structural and political. As an anthropologist working in pain research, Dr Gooberman-Hill often wonders how these insights relate to concepts and practice in clinical research? To answer this we need to unpack concepts used in clinical research and see whether and how they relate to a broader understanding of pain gleaned from ethnography and qualitative studies. Dr Gooberman-Hill shall do this by discussing clinical studies in which she have been involved, including work on long-term musculoskeletal and post-surgical pain, and will conclude with some suggestions for enhanced cross-fertilisation of ideas in the future.


Chair: Professor Jane Macnaughton

Jane Macnaughton is Professor of Medical Humanities at Durham University and co-director of its Centre for Medical Humanities (CMH). She has published in the fields of medical education, medical humanities, literature and medicine, history of medicine and health care environments. Her books include, Madness and Creativity in Literature and Culture (with Corinne Saunders), The Body and the Arts (with Corinne Saunders and Ulrika Maude) and – in 2013 – a co-edited Medical Humanities Companion. She also led a recent IAS research activity, The Recovery of Beauty, which generated an exhibition at the Durham Light Infantry Museum, and a book, Frissure, by Kathleen Jamie.

Dr Clare Roques
Clare is the chair of the ‘Pain in Developing Countries Special Interest Group'. The group hopes to promote efficient and sustainable pain management; to improve awareness of pain management strategies and the barriers to effective implementation of such treatments in developing countries; and to facilitate the communication of views, knowledge, and ideas between healthcare professionals from developing and developed countries.

Dr Suzannah Biernoff
Suzannah Biernoff joined Birkbeck in 2007 as a Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Visual Culture, having previously taught on the Visual Culture programme at Middlesex University and at Chelsea College of Art & Design. Her research has spanned medieval and modern periods: she completed her PhD in Sydney, Australia (it was published in 2002 as Sight and Embodiment in the Middle Ages), and currently works on war and visual culture in early twentieth-century Britain. Her book Portraits of Violence: War and the Aesthetics of Disfigurement is due out later this year.

Dr Rachael Gooberman-Hill
Rachael Gooberman-Hill is the Head of Health Services Research within the Orthopaedic Surgery Research Group, which is part of the Musculoskeletal Research Unit at the University of Bristol. She is a social anthropologist by background who applies techniques from anthropology and other qualitative approaches in applied health research. Her research interests include long-term painful conditions, long-term post-surgical pain, osteoarthritis, care and disability in later life, help-seeking, clinical decision-making and public involvement in research.

08 May 2014, 9.00 – 3.00pm
Wolfson Research Institute, Durham University, Queen’s Campus, Stockton


Participants include Dr Clare Roques, Dr Suzannah Biernoff, Dr Rachael Gooberman-Hill

09:00 – 09:30 – Registration

09:30 – 11.00 - Welcome and initial roundtable discussion

(Chaired by Dr Amanda Ellison, Department of Psychology & Deputy Director, WRIHW)

11:00 – 11:15 - Coffeebreak

11:15 – 12:45 - Breakout sessions to discuss themes

12:45 – 13:30 - Lunch

13:30 – 14:30 - Wrap up session and discussion, and next steps
(Wellcome Trust project proposal framework/Working package champions)

15:00 – Close

Contact for more information about this event.

Wednesday 7 May 2014

Wolfson Coffee Morning

11:00am to 11:30am, The Wolfson Street, Wolfson Building, Durham University, Queen's Campus, Stockton

Wolfson coffee morning will be held on Wednesday 7th May 2014 in the Wolfson Street from 11.00am - 11.30am.

Professor Sarah Atkinson, Co-Director Belief, Understanding and Wellbeing will be on hand to discuss her role in leading the BUW theme.

Please do come along and network over a cake and a coffee.

Everyone is welcome!

Contact for more information about this event.

Stephenson College and Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing Postgraduate Seminar

5:30pm to 7:30pm, Stephenson Central Meeting Room, Stephenson College, Queen's Campus, Stockton

Stephenson College and the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing are pleased to host the second in a series of Postgraduate Seminars. 

This talk is presented by Mr Peter Moseley, Postgraduate Researcher based in Psychology, who will be discussing "Voices in the noise: investigating the cognitive and neural correlates of inner speech and auditory verbal hallucinations"?


Auditory verbal hallucinations (AVHs) are the experience of hearing a voice in the absence of any speaker. Prominent cognitive models of AVHs have suggested that atypical self-monitoring processes may lead to internal mental events (such as ‘inner speech’) being misattributed to an external source. Furthermore, it has been argued that in the general population, proneness to hallucinations exists on a continuum, ranging from extremely rare to very frequent occurrences of hallucinatory experiences. I will talk about 3 studies I am conducting as part of my PhD, investigating the cognitive and neural mechanisms that underlie AVHs and self-monitoring in a healthy, non-clinical sample.

Refreshments available from 5.00pm in the Stephenson Central Meeting Room. The talk will be follwed by a Scholar's Supper in the Waterside Restaurant at 6.30pm.

If you wish to attend the talk and/or the supper, places are available on a first come, first serve basis please book on-line by clicking here to take you to online booking form by Wednesday 30th April 2014. Please note there is no charge to attend the talk.

For further information on future Stephenson Collegiate Programme Talks and Suppers, please follow this link,

We do hope you will join us and your fellow students.

Contact for more information about this event.