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conferences

5th International Symposium on Poetry and Medicine at the Royal Society of Medicine, Wimpole Street, London on Saturday 10 May 2014

17 May, 14 | by BMJ

Reflections from the 5th International Symposium on Poetry and Medicine by Clare Best

 

This year’s Symposium invited us to focus on how we might begin to define the term ‘medical poetry’ and asked if that is even a useful aim. Michael Hulse started the day with a thought-provoking talk proposing that the Romantic ego has evolved and survived in the area of medical poetry whereas it is now rare in other contemporary poetry. He argued that the natural successors of the Romantic poets, those foregrounding the self in extremis, are concerned with what he terms ‘primary medical poetry’ –  in which a person writes about his/her own experience of illness or treatment from the point of view of an existential self. ‘Secondary medical poetry’ is the term Michael used to describe poetry written about medical experiences happening to a close other. He saw ‘tertiary medical poetry’ as including poetry that stands at another remove from the medical experience, being more engaged with scientific, historical, ethical and other aspects of medicine.

 

Michael’s talk was a helpful starting point, and throughout the day speakers came back and back to the different kinds of medical poetry he had suggested. After years of hearing nothing but the term ‘confessional poetry’ used in reference to poetry of extremis written in the first person, I liked Michael’s idea of affirming ‘a central literary site’ for the Romantic ego.

 

A particular highlight of the Symposium, for me, was Sandy Goldbeck-Wood’s beautifully fluent and convincing presentation of her work on how biography drives biology. I have always been interested in how the body expresses adverse experiences as symptoms, and I found myself nodding as Sandy spoke about how ‘both poetry and psychosomatic illness might be seen to be forms of embodied feeling or knowledge, both resisting “purely conscious” forms of communication’. Yes!

 

There were many, many other highlights, including Alan Beattie’s warm and generous account of Norman Nicholson’s life and poetry, Ahmed Hankir’s powerfully dramatic rendition of his ideas around the wounded healer, and Jens Lohfert Jorgensen’s brilliantly engaging presentation of the Danish poet Morten Sondergaard’s Wordpharmacy (do have a look at http://www.wordpharmacy.com) – I’ll be ordering my copy immediately.

 

Then there was poetry itself of course: poems of medicine and surgery, remedy and reverie, diagnosis and prognosis, all kinds of poems to make you laugh and cry. I was honoured to present some of mine from Self-portrait without Breasts alongside Rebecca Goss reading vivid and beautiful poems from Her Birth and Lesley Saunders reading from her stunning collection Cloud Camera.

 

Philip Gross gave gorgeous readings from Deep Field and Later, leading us on into the final part of the day which celebrated the winning and commended poets in the three categories (Young Poet, NHS and Open Awards) of the 2014 Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine. Conor McKee won the Young Poet section with ‘I Will Not Cut for Stone’, Ellen Storm won the NHS section with ‘Out of Hospital Arrest’ and Jane Draycott won the Open section with ‘The Return’. Many congratulations to all the winning and commended poets.

 

I came away from the Symposium once again inspired and uplifted by the truth and power of poetry that addresses medical subjects. I came away knowing that in the face of extreme and threatening medical events, in situations where our identities are challenged and even deconstructed or changed forever, poetry can excite us into new appreciations of life and of who we are and can be. As I see it, the more science probes and uncovers the physical and medical experiences of our lives, the more we need poetry to interpret and express these experiences. Poetry and medicine are perfect companions.

 

Thank you Donald Singer, Michael Hulse, Nicola Williams and all the others including the judges Sarah Crown, Robert Francis QC, Philip Gross and Kit Wright, who made Saturday happen. It was a wonderfully rich day. I’m already looking forward to next year’s Symposium.

 

Find out more about the Hippocrates Initiative for Poetry and Medicine at: www.hippocrates-poetry.org

 

Clare Best

www.clarebest.co.uk

http://selfportraitwithoutbreasts.wordpress.com

 

 

Psychosis and the Arts: Conference

12 Feb, 14 | by Deborah Bowman

Psychosis and the Arts – Thursday 27th March, 2014
Amnesty International Human Rights Action Centre
17-25 New Inn Yard, London, EC2A 3EA
Speakers include:
Bobby Baker, Martin Gayford, David Bell, Wiebke Trunk, Nanna Luth & Meg Harris-Williams.
About the Conference:
The use of the arts in personalised recovery journeys, as well as in psychological treatment approaches to working with psychosis, is well known in contemporary mental health practice.
In this one-day conference supported by Tate Modern, clinical and non-clinical speakers will come together in encouraging dialogue and dispelling some of the myths that persist in the field of psychosis and the arts, including Van Gogh’s ear.
Confirmed speakers include the acclaimed visual and performance artist Bobby Baker, the award-winning writer Martin Gayford, the psychoanalyst David Bell and the psychoanalytically-informed arts scholar Meg Harris-Williams, together with arts therapists, service users, their family and friends and other specialists working with psychosis. International gallery curators Wiebke Trunk and Nanna Luth and educators in the medical humanities will provide a new lens through which ways of approaching the urgent UK agenda of compassionate care can be looked at in the context of the wider contribution of the arts for enhancing empathic mental health care.
To find out more, please visit www.ispsuk.org or email: admin@ispsuk.org

Troubling Narratives: Identity Matters – Conference Announcement and Call for Papers

11 Feb, 14 | by Deborah Bowman

First Call for Papers

‘Troubling Narratives: Identity Matters’
The Institute for Research in Citizenship and Applied Human Sciences, University of Huddersfield, Thursday 19th and Friday 20th of June 2014. 

Confirmed keynote speakers for the conference are:

Ann Phoenix, University of London
Ken Plummer, University of Essex

This conference builds on the University of Huddersfield’s long held tradition of hosting a bi-annual conference on narrative research. It seeks to provide a fresh context for the development and dissemination of new research, ideas, perspectives and methodologies in the field of narrative research and enquiry and aims to bring together scholars working in a range of disciplinary fields. ‘Narrative’ is well known for its looseness of definition, its multiplicity of approaches and its interdisciplinarity, which over the years has led to a richness and diversity of narrative work. Identities, both private and public and individual and collective, have long been a focus for narrative researchers, where the content, form and effects of identity story-telling have been explored in a range of areas and contexts. The focus of ‘Troubling Narratives: Identity Matters’ is to address the ‘troubles’ that now surround contemporary narratives of identity, and the ways in which previous work may simultaneously inform but also trouble and be ‘troubled’ by new narrative work in the broad area of ‘identities’.

The conference invites contributions from researchers interested in using narratives across a range of disciplines including, sociology, gender studies, psychology, law, politics, criminology, philosophy, history, anthropology, social work, education, and business and management. Topics of interest to this conference include (though are not restricted to) the following areas:

Abstracts should be no longer than 250 words. Papers may be in the form of 20 minute oral presentations, and also workshop sessions and poster presentations (the format should be clearly stated in the abstract).  All submissions must include the author/speaker(s) name, title of paper, university or organizational affiliation, and contact information. The deadline for submission of abstract is Monday 3rd February 2014. Please email your abstract to the conference organisers at:  troublingnarratives@hud.ac.uk  with ‘conference abstract’ in the subject line.  You will be notified about whether your paper has been accepted soon after Monday 10th March 2014.

The conference registration deadline is 5th June 2014. Conference costs are: Full rate: £150 to include conference dinner, or £110 excluding dinner. Student rate: £50 to include conference dinner, or £30 excluding dinner.

 

Call for Papers: Fashionable Diseases: Medicine, Literature and Culture, ca. 1660-1832

28 Jan, 14 | by Deborah Bowman

An International Interdisciplinary Conference

Newcastle and Northumbria Universities

3rd – 5th July 2014

 

Keynote speakers include:
Professor Helen Deutsch, ‘Diseases of Writing’

University of California, Los Angeles

Author of Resemblance and Disgrace: Alexander Pope and the Deformation of Culture

 

Dr David Shuttleton, ‘The Fashioning of Fashionable Diseases in the Eighteenth Century’

University of Glasgow

Author of Smallpox and the Literary Imagination

 

Between 1660 and 1832 books such as Cheyne’s English Malady and Adair’s Essays on Fashionable Diseases created a substantial debate on the relationship between fashion and sickness, linking melancholy, the vapours, nervousness, gout, consumption and many other conditions with the elite and superior sensibility. This conference aims to include voices from both within the social and medical elite and beyond, and to look at diseases that have not previously been examined in this context and at what can be learned from ‘unfashionable’ illnesses. It also aims to consider not only diseases associated with social prestige, but also with the medical critique of fashionable luxurious lifestyles, and the debate on ‘imaginary’ diseases. The role of culture in creating, framing and spreading conceptions of fashionable disease will also be considered.

 

Proposals for papers and three-person panels are welcome on topics related to fashionable diseases, including:

  • Patient experience
  • Consumer society and the ‘medical marketplace’
  • Culture (literature, music, etc) and fashionable disease
  • Geographical meanings – travel literature and spa culture
  • Morality, politics and medicine in critiques of fashionable lifestyles
  • Satire, stigma, fashion
  • ‘Imaginary’ diseases
  • Class, gender, race, religion, etc
  • Unfashionable diseases

 

We are also keen to receive proposals offering interdisciplinary and internationally comparative perspectives, or relating eighteenth-century to contemporary fashionable diseases.

Please submit abstracts (max. 250 words) and a brief biography (max 100 words) to enquiries@fashionablediseases.info by 28 February 2014 http://fashionablediseases.info/

 

Ayesha Ahmad: Call For Abstracts – Second Annual Western Michigan University Medical Humanities Conference

26 Mar, 12 | by Ayesha Ahmad

Second Annual Western Michigan University Medical Humanities Conference

September 27-28, 2012; Kalamazoo, Michigan

Proposals should be submitted electronically by July 15—in either .doc/.docx or .pdf format—to
medical-humanities@wmich.edu

more…

Ayesha Ahmad: CFP: Comics and Medicine: Navigating the Margins, 22-24 July 2012, Toronto, Canada

14 Mar, 12 | by Ayesha Ahmad

The third international interdisciplinary conference* on comics and
medicine will continue to explore the intersection of sequential
visual arts and medicine. This year we will highlight perspectives
that are often under-represented in graphic narratives, such as
depictions of the Outsider or Other in the context of issues such as
barriers to healthcare, the stigma of mental illness and disability,
and the silent burden of caretaking.

more…

Ayesha Ahmad: Forthcoming Symposium ‘Activating Theatre: people participating, performing politics’ at University of Leeds

13 Feb, 12 | by Ayesha Ahmad

Activating Theatre: people participating, performing politics

A practice-based symposium examining how theatre and performance work to change people and society

Tuesday 6 March 2012, Stage@leeds Building, University of Leeds

more…

James Poskett: Material and visual culture of conferences

9 Dec, 11 | by James Poskett

Conferences can be somewhat dry affairs. Papers delivered as long droning monologues are liable to send even the most hardened academics into a dreary stupor. The more enticing discussions can also take their toll as the days wear on, debate often returning to ancient disputes. So what better way to break up the day and keep everyone fresh than with an outing to the cinema?

At the recent Communicating Reproduction conference we were all sent to see Helga (1967). Of course, this outing wasn’t frivolous but rather an opportunity for us to engage with the substance of the conference: the history of reproduction through communication including text, images, film and sound.

more…

Ayesha Ahmad: ‘Looking and Healing Seminar': King’s College London

10 Nov, 11 | by Ayesha Ahmad

Highly recommended is a forthcoming seminar to be held at the Centre for Humanities and Health, King’s College London by Dr Matha Fleming. Dr Fleming is a museum professional and academic working in the interdisciplinary nexus between the sciences, the humanities and the fine arts: her work over several decades has forged innovative and productive methodological alignments across disciplines.

more…

James Poskett: Stories of psychology

12 Oct, 11 | by James Poskett

Who are the big names in the history of child psychology? Anna Freud? Melanie Klein? John Bowlby? Certainly. But, according to Professor Sally Shuttleworth, in order to locate the origins of child psychology, we have to look to nineteenth-century literature, to authors such as George Eliot and Charles Dickens.

This is just one of the historical titbits to come out of the recent Stories of Psychology conference, ran by the British Psychological Society at the Wellcome Trust. In her paper, entitled Studying the Child in the Nineteenth Century, Shuttleworth argued that the emerging genre of the nineteenth-century novel was the first to take the psychological world of the child seriously. Whilst previous works may have dealt with comings of age, novels such as Dickens’s Dombey and Son began to investigate the psychological world of the child in its own right, particularly within the context of education. (In the novel, Dombey’s son has difficultly socialising and is sent to a number of medical and educational establishments in order to rectify this shortcoming.)

Shuttleworth believes that such literary explorations were picked up by the psychologists and educationalists of the time, citing as evidence the way in which psychological theories were put to use in debates over compulsory education.

more…

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