The Narrative Practices Lab

A platform in a story sea. In the centre of the platform is an outline of a head filled with different methods of storytelling. To the left of the head are rows of cinema seats and two people looking at an xray. On the right of the head is a TV and a person using a VR headset. Behind the scene is a wall with two arches, each with a single red curtain.
Narrative Practices Lab logo. The outline of two faces look at each other.

What do stories about health and illness do?
How do they impact us? How can we use them?
What do they mean to us?

Stories about health and illness are everywhere – in books and blogs and across social media, in the conversations we have with doctors, in the ways we think about ourselves and those we love. Storytelling is often celebrated as a way of challenging stigma or raising public awareness of health issues. But stories can also harm or hurt us. They can amplify some voices and silence others. They can transform lives but also reinforce deep inequalities in society.  


Led by Laura Mazzoli Smith and Veronica Heney, the Narrative Practices Lab in the Discovery Research Platform for Medical Humanities examines the way we tell stories about health and illness. Our researchers work with digital stories and explore how storytelling functions as evidence in health research and care. We foster developments in decolonial narrative practice and create space for new and diverse narratives of mental health by working with user-led groups and survivor activists.


Watch: An introduction to The Narrative Practices Lab

Doctor in blue scrubs talking about an x-ray to a woman in a silver hijab and dress.


Old-fashioned TV with smashed screen showing an advert for morphine.


Four red cinema chairs in two rows on a yellow floor.