Care Aesthetics: a talk by James Thompson (9 July 2024)

June 30, 2024


A talk by James Thompson (University of Manchester) with a response from Emily Tupper, and a conversation chaired by Fiona Johnstone. Online and in-person, Tuesday 9th July, 16.00 to 17.30.

James Thompson

James Thompson’s talk will focus on the concept of care aesthetics and its claim that the practice of care can be understood as embodied, sensory and craft like – that is for its aesthetics. His current research moves away from considering the arts in care settings, to attend to the aesthetic experience created within health care contexts through the work of health and social care practitioners. James will discuss the origins of his interest in care aesthetics and then examine its application to work in contexts of older people care. He will draw on existing empirical work focusing on care for people in secure dementia wards and on male grooming in care homes, examining practices, movements, and micro moments of care through a care aesthetic lens. The talk will introduce his current AHRC project, and the Care Lab based at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester.

James’ talk will be followed by a response from Emily Tupper, Assistant Professor in Medical Humanities, and a conversation and Q&A chaired by Fiona Johnstone.

About the speaker:

James Thompson is Professor of Applied Theatre at The University of Manchester. He was the co-founder of the TiPP Centre and founder of In Place of War and now runs a research project on Care Aesthetics and co-directs The Care Lab, at the Whitworth Art Gallery. He has run theatre projects internationally and has written widely on applied theatre and socially engaged arts. His new book Care Aesthetics: for Careful Art and Artful Care was published in 2022.

Emily Tupper is Assistant Professor in Medical Humanities, Department for Sport and Exercise Sciences at Durham University. Her current research explores the intersections between movement and care in ‘movement volunteering’ groups – groups that combine the movement of the body with caring activities such as improving community spaces and helping others to move. She is based in the Moving Bodies Lab in the newly established Discovery Research Platform for Medical Humanities.

Fiona Johnstone is an Associate Professor in Visual Medical Humanities at Durham University, where she leads the Visual and Material Lab as part of the newly established Discovery Research Platform for Medical Humanities.

This event is supported by the Discovery Research Platform for Medical Humanities, Durham University. It is a collaboration between the Moving Bodies Lab and the Visual and Material Lab.

This public talk will be followed by an in-person workshop on Moving Bodies and Care Aesthetics at Durham University on Wednesday 10th July. If you are interested in attending, please contact Emily Tupper ( with a few lines about your research interests and why you would like to join the workshop. The programme for both 9th and 10th can be downloaded here.

The Visual and Material Lab

The Visual and Material Lab

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