Sensing Space and Making Place: The Hospital and Therapeutic Landscapes in Two Cancer Narratives

by Victoria Bates

A Senior Lecturer in Modern History, Victoria Bates researches medico-legal history and the arts in medicine/healthcare at the University of Bristol. In this article for MH, she explores the role of “senses” in the construction and experience of “place,” principally by focusing on patients’ experiences of hospital care. By comparing two cancer narratives, Bates gains insight about the ways that hospital environments are made into therapeutic landscapes. That is, the space itself acts as part of dynamic processes rather than just brick and mortar. The article draws on a relational model of space and place, alongside literary analysis, to explore the making of healthy and unhealthy environments. Bates concludes that sensory experiences in hospitals are made (un)therapeutic in relation to illness and recovery, as well as a range of social and human/non-human relations rather than there being static ‘good’ or ‘bad’ hospital sensescapes. We encourage you to read the article in MH March issue!

Read the full article on the Medical Humanities Journal website.

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