Art and the Critical Medical Humanities workshop, June 2024

June 13, 2024

Summary

"Art & the Critical Medical Humanities: Confabulations X Health & Care at the RCA" (June 2024) is a three-day workshop aimed at fostering dialogue, creating connections and activating new entanglements between art-led practices and the critical medical humanities.

Poster for Art & the Critical Medical Humanities

Art & the Critical Medical Humanities: Confabulations X Health & Care at the RCA is an invitation only, three-day workshop aimed at fostering dialogue, creating connections and activating new entanglements between art-led practices and the critical medical humanities. 

Taking place at the Royal College of Art, London from 19-21 June 2024, the workshop is a collaboration between the Visual and Material Lab, Discovery Research Platform for Medical Humanities, Durham University and Confabulations: art practice, art history, critical medical humanities; and the Health & Care Research Cluster at the Royal College of Art. It is co-convened by the team behind Confabulations, Fiona Johnstone (Visual and Material Lab, Durham University), Allison Morehead (Queen’s University, Canada), Imogen Wiltshire (Lincoln University); and Gemma Blackshaw and Alice Butler from the Royal College of Art.

The programme for Wednesday 19th June is curated by the Health & Care Research Cluster at the Royal College of Art, and involves presentations and performances from RCA staff, students and alumni working on the intersections of creative research practices with questions of health and care. The programme for Thursday 20th and Friday 21st is curated by Confabulations: art practice, art history, critical medical humanities and the Visual and Material Lab, Discovery Research Platform for Medical Humanities, Durham University. Participants will workshop contributions to the forthcoming field-defining edited volume Art & the Critical Medical Humanities (eds. Johnstone, Morehead and Wiltshire, Bloomsbury Critical Interventions in the Medical and Health Humanities, 2025), and collectively dream big about the future(s) of the emerging field of visual, material and curatorial medical humanities. 

PROGRAMME

Wednesday 19 June, curated by the Health & Care Research Cluster at the RCA

09:30 Registration and coffee

10:00 Introductions and Welcome

10:30 Dialogue 1: Esther Teichmann + guest Deirdre Gribbin 

11:15 Break

11:30 Dialogue 2: Abbas Zahedi + guest Nisha Ramayya

12:15 Dialogue 3: Rachel Garfield + guest Jenny Chamarette

13:00 Lunch

14:00 Hermione Wiltshire: To repair / Mah Rana: To well-make and make-well / Sofie Layton: To materialise (to give form; to make present) / Hannah Clarkson: To converse / Katrine Skovsgaard: To voice.

15:15 Break

15:30 Mijke van der Drift: To refuse / Mel Brimfield: To listen / Edward Thomasson: To open / Jess Potter: To sound / Minna Pollanen: To hold

16:45 Closing remarks

17:00 Wine reception

18:00 to 20:30 Optional visit to RCA’s graduate public exhibition Private View 

Thursday 20 June, curated by Confabulations: art practice, art history, critical medical humanities and the Visual and Material Lab, Discovery Research Platform for Medical Humanities, Durham University.

09:30 Welcome and Introduction to days two and three

09:45 Icebreaker exercise: Imag(in)ing Critical Medical Humanities

10:50 Parallel sessions of ‘lightning’ presentations. 

“Lived Experience”: Vanessa Bartlett (University of Melbourne); Chris Millard (Sheffield University) and Daniel Regan (independent artist, UK; executive director of the Arts & Health Hub); Silvia Casini (University of Aberdeen) and Ilona Sagar (independent artist, UK); Skye Haggerty (University of Alberta).

“Reproduction and the Medical Image”: Jessica M. Dandona (Minneapolis College of Art and Design); Ashley Lazevnick (Converse University) [pre-recorded]; Isabel Davis (Natural History Museum, London) and Anna Burel (independent artist, UK); Rebecca Whiteley (Birmingham University); Arya Thampuram (Durham University). 

12:00 Break

12:20 Parallel sessions of ‘lightning’ presentations. 

“Visualities, Knowledge and Power”: Kathleen Pierce (Smith College, Northampton, MA); Keren Hammerschlag (Australia National University), Natasha Ruiz-Gómez (University of Essex) and Tania Cleaves (née Woloshyn) (independent); Christine Slobogin (University of Rochester), Katie Snow (University of Exeter), Laura Cowley (Birkbeck, University of London); Anna Jamieson (Birmingham University); Liisa-Rávná Finbog (Tampere University).

“Rethinking Art and Therapy”: Suzanne Hudson (University of Southern California); Leah Gipson (School of the Art Institute of Chicago), Shi Yunyuan (Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing) and Imogen Wiltshire (University of Lincoln); Kaira M. Cabañas (The Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.) [pre-recorded]; Rose Ruane (University of Glasgow). 

13:30 Lunch 

14:30 Parallel sessions of ‘lightning’ presentations. 

“Clinical Encounters and Caregivers”: Alison Syme (University of Toronto); Liz Orton (independent artist, UK) and Fiona Johnstone (Durham University); Jessica Womack (Princeton University) [pre-recorded]; Cera Smith (University of Oregon); Camilla Mørk Røstvik (University of Agder) and Lyndsay Mann (independent artist).

“Care and Repair” and “Horizontality”: Gemma Blackshaw (RCA) and Alice Butler (RCA); Maria Morata and Lorenzo Galgo (independent artists); Suzannah Biernoff (Birkbeck, University of London); Nora Heidorn (independent artist, Berlin); Monica Ankele Monika, Angela Alves, Céline Kaiser. 

15:40 Break

16:00 Keynote: Angela Woods and William Viney (Durham University), “Critical Medical Humanities: 10 years on”.

We want to use this keynote to look back and forward at the field of medical humanities. Ten years ago a group of us wondered if the field of medical humanities could become more critical – more urgent, sceptical, and experimental. In a series of publications we suggested that the field could learn from a wider set of participants and collaborators, develop practical and material approaches to collaborative practice, and reflect more rigorously, perhaps even ruthlessly, about the people and groups included and excluded from our work.

Our talk will take stock of the critical medical humanities a decade after the term was introduced, particularly focusing on how artists work within the field. We see a field invested in the following features: new networks, groups, and meeting places; greater recognition of enduring and emergent kinds of casualization and short-termism affecting medical humanities researchers; increased participation of public contributors, including but not limited to patients, and patient groups, and the critical importance of making research participation meaningful and sustainable; the use of facilitated and other non-specialist methods for facilitating collaboration and (more loosely defined) ‘creative methods’; and the coordination of research in multi-part, multi-year ‘projects’ as a technical genre of collaborative organisation. We are keen in our session to begin a conversation with you about your experiences of critical medical humanities projects.

17:00 to 18.00 Facilitated shared reflections on the day.

Friday 21 June, curated by Confabulations: art practice, art history, critical medical humanities and the Visual and Material Lab, Discovery Research Platform for Medical Humanities, Durham University

09:45 Welcome 

10:00 Facilitated Workshop: a collective consideration of the book’s Introduction, Afterword and key themes. 

12:00 Lunch 

13:00 Facilitated Workshop: Future Entanglements: where next for the Visual Medical Humanities?

14:30 Break (tea and coffee)

14:50 Final reflections and thanks

15:30 Close

The Visual and Material Lab

The Visual and Material Lab

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