MedHumLab Lift Pitch Lunch, 8 December

The Medical Humanities Laboratory
invites you to our

LIFT PITCH LUNCH

Thursday, 8 December 2016
12:15 pm – 2:15 pm
Simon Building 2.57

L0006185 Marsilius Ficinus, Interior of a tavern. Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images images@wellcome.ac.uk http://wellcomeimages.org Interior of a tavern, villagers playing games and drinking. Causes of melancholy (?) Woodcut 16th Century Von dem gesunden und langen leben I Ficinus, Marsilius Published: 1505 Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Marsilius Ficinus, Interior of a tavern, villagers playing games and drinking, woodcut, 1505.
Courtesy Wellcome Library, London / Wellcome Images

Are you:

  • A medical, health, or life sciences researcher interested in how the arts and humanities can add dimension to your work?
  • A humanities or social sciences scholar whose work considers the meaning and experience of biomedicine, health care, or the life sciences?
  • An arts practitioner interested in collaborations around medicine, health, and the life sciences?
  • A teacher of healthcare professions or life sciences students, interested in using art, literature and the humanities to enrich learning?

If so, JOIN US FOR LUNCH!

At this networking event, you’ll meet like-minded people from across the university, learn more about the work others are doing, share your own work, and make connections that could lead to future collaborations.

We’ll supply the lunch, with a buffet available from 12:15 pm. Please drop by whenever convenient, and stay as little or as long as your schedule permits.

While you’re there, we invite you to give a ‘lift pitch’ – a 90 second summary of your work for a broad audience. You’re welcome to use a visual aid, or one slide on a memory stick.

*** Prize for the most creative visual aid! ***

Please RSVP here.

Five Questions for… Ana Carden-Coyne

For the latest contribution to our series introducing MedHumLab members, Dr Ana Carden-Coyne, Senior Lecturer in War and Conflict and Co-Director of the Centre for the Cultural History of War, talks about her understanding of medical humanities and her experience of curating the exhibitions The Sensory War at Manchester Art Gallery (2014/15) and Visions of the Front 1916-18 at Whitworth Art Gallery (until 20 November 2016).

Timothy Greenfield-Sanders Dawn Halfaker 2006 Digital archival pigment on paper matt cotton rag © Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, Dawn Halfaker, 2006, digital archival pigment on paper matt cotton rag © Timothy Greenfield-Sanders. This work was on view as part of the exhibition The Sensory War, Manchester Art Gallery, 11 October 2014-22 February 2015

How does your research relate to the field of medical humanities?

My recent research has been on experiences of pain among the wounded of the First World War, with a particular focus on patient and practitioner encounters. I am interested in how social relations (class and gender) bear out in those interactions of how treatments (both emergency acute and prolonged or chronic) were delivered and received.

When I give talks, a lot of people end up discussing their experience in the NHS, so this is very telling about how medical humanities can have an impact on understanding and communicating our feelings about the world we live in today. We can talk about emergency procedures and triage (ambulance services or A & E, which were significantly developed in the context of WW1). We can talk about experimental surgeries and drugs, and ethical issues and patient rights. We can discuss nursing and rehab quality and care; both patients’ expectations and practitioners’ expectations, and the pressures both are often under to rapidly cure or rehabilitate the patient. We can think about the impact on families of chronic pain, when the hospitalisation ends and the family takes over. And we can look at the continuities and changes in wider social attitudes to pain and disability, and how they impact on health and wellbeing, and on medical practice itself.

My latest interest is in chronic pain suffered by wounded servicemen and women. And I am working on two projects on occupational therapy in the asylum and in military hospitals, with a major focus on men’s embroidery. I also have a new project on visual art, war and humanitarian disaster, which engages with suffering and medical intervention.

How would you define the term ‘medical humanities’ in a few sentences?

Medical humanities is an umbrella term that brings together many different arts and humanities disciplines with the medical and social sciences. What appeals to me most, is the focus on humanising medicine and enabling the patient experience through dialogue and communication, and especially through engagement with arts practitioners.

What, in your opinion, is the value of interdisciplinary research (and research networks such as MedHumLab)?

There is a great deal of inspiring work being done by creative practitioners, academics and artists who approach medicine and medical science in highly useful ways for society and for human benefit. As a historian, curator and heritage scholar, the people who work in this broad field inspire me every day.

You have curated the exhibition The Sensory War at Manchester Art Gallery (2014/15) and contributed to other exhibitions in the past. Can you tell us a bit more about your work with objects and visual material?

My research fundamentally responds to the cultural phenomena that medicine creates; whether it is diaries and memoirs, surgical technologies and devices such as prosthetics, or infections and rehabilitation treatments. For me, artists’ reactions to war medicine and surgery, and patients’ experiences of military medicine, have been one focus. But I am also interested in humanitarian medicine and its cultural field of representation. And how artists interact with the concerns of patients, cultural imagery, and big questions of human health, crisis and wellbeing.

Otto Dix Der Krieg: Sommeschlact (Fleeing wounded Man, Battle of the Somme, 1916) 1924 Etching 25.7 x 19 The British Museum

Otto Dix, Fliehender Verwundeter, Sommeschlacht, 1916 (Wounded Man Fleeing, Battle of the Somme, 1916), from Der Krieg (The War), 1924, etching, 25.7 x 19 cm © The British Museum

The Sensory War exhibition explored how artists have communicated the impact of modern war on the mind and body, the human sensory experience, and the environment. It considered these themes in relation to each other, or what we might call, synaesthetically. It was a huge show over two floors with 247 artworks, and it took over 3 years and 3 curators to bring it to fruition. One of the sections was called ‘Rupture and Rehabilitation’. We looked at so many inspiring artists, some of whom had acted as theatre orderlies in military casualty hospitals (such as Harold Sandys Williamson’s hauntingly clinical work, The Human Sacrifice of 1918), or were commissioned to document operations during the Second World War, such as a remarkable large scale painting by Alfred Reginald Thomson, Grafting a New Eyelid (1943). Or representations of saline baths used to treat burns patients.

Rosine Cahen, Hospital Rollin (October 1918) 1918 Black charcoal, pastel and white highlights on laid paper © Jean-Yves Martel

Rosine Cahen, Hospital Rollin (October 1918), 1918, black charcoal, pastel and white highlights on laid paper © Jean-Yves Martel

Then there were real discoveries, like the French woman artist Rosine Cahen who went around to the hospitals in France doing very intimate and immediate sketch-portraits of French soldiers recovering from severe wounds, in their beds and some wearing their medals. And we also had the extraordinary opportunity to bring to the UK for the first time The Cripples Portfolio (1919) – a set of lithographs by German artist Heinrich Hoerle – in which the daily experiences, losses and dreams of the war disabled are explored. We could compare this with Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’ large-scale glossy portraits of Iraq veterans and their prostheses, and discuss this significant twentieth-century symbol of medical modernity and the ideal of restoration from violence, yet the lingering experience of emotional pain.

I have a small exhibition that I co-curated with David Morris at the Whitworth Art Gallery at the moment, Visions of the Front 1916-18, for the Somme centenary. Medical interventions and representations are a major feature of this too, such as Henry Lamb’s painting Advanced Dressing Station on the Struma, 1916 (1921).

Henry Lamb Advanced Dressing Station on the Struma, 1916 Oil on canvas Manchester City Galleries © The estate of Henry Lamb (c) Mrs Henrietta Phipps; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Henry Lamb, Advanced Dressing Station on the Struma, 1916 (1921), oil on canvas, 183.6 x 212.3 cm, Manchester City Galleries © The estate of Henry Lamb

The scene of a dressing station focuses on the relationship between a wounded man and a stretcher-bearer, who attends him with a cup of water, a great relief that many soldiers wrote about as the comfort given between men. Thirst and cold were understood much later in the war as signs of hemorrhage and shock. The bearer’s hand gently touches the wounded man’s head, providing comfort symbolic of the pietà (Christian iconography of Mary cradling Jesus’ corpse). Indeed, the pietà was often used in war-time humanitarian images of nurses caring for wounded men. But Lamb transforms the theme into an effigy of masculine care and the intimate brotherhood of shared suffering. Placed on the ledge of a shallow trench, the stretcher resembles an altar. In the right hand corner is a Thomas splint used for compound fractures, from which soldiers could die. Pathos is also created by the figure on the left, head in hand, perhaps affected by malaria, a common disease of this front, or perhaps a reference to psychological suffering. The central figure stands over the patient, staring pensively into the distance. Made three years after the end of the war, the composition of this painting symbolises the pain and succour of the entire conflict.

Henry Lamb was educated at Manchester Grammar School and studied medicine at the Manchester University Medical School. He left his studies for Paris, to attend the Académie de La Palette, where renowned modernists Jean Metzinger and Henri Le Fauconnier taught. The war compelled Lamb to finish his studies. He received a commission in the Royal Army Medical Corps and was with the Northumbrian Field Ambulance Unit in Salonika from August 1916 to March 1917.

And finally, how do you relax and unwind away from the office or seminar room?

Er… gosh… I have a toddler so it’s go go go…

Five Questions for… Sarah Collins

Dr Sarah Collins is Senior Lecturer in Communication, Lead for Clinical Communication, Co-Director of the MSc in Medical Humanities, and Lead for Year 3 Patient-Centred Consulting at Manchester Medical School. In today’s contribution to our Meet the MedHumLab Members series, Sarah shares with us her interactive and creative approach to teaching communication to medical students.

Sarah and Patrick

Patrick Birch, medical student, performs a one-man play about homelessness in the Consultation Skills Learning Centre, Manchester Medical School

You are the co-director, with Carsten Timmermann, of the MSc in Medical Humanities. How do you see the role of medical humanities in medical education?

The practice of medicine is founded on the relationship between the patient and doctor. This relationship is formed and played out through the consultation. Trust, a genuine interest in the person and their everyday concerns, and an understanding of the social and medical context of their illness and disease, are key in effective, patient-centred care. To be able to understand and engage with the patient requires scientific knowledge and artistic imagination. Every individual doctor or medical student carries their own unique capacity for entering into the worlds of their patients. These acts of understanding require creative thinking, self-expression, and all the senses. In these respects, medical humanities provides a sounding board for students to appreciate the lives of their patients, and to develop their own capacities for expressing and responding to emotion, acting intuitively and with sensitivity, and learning to look after their patients, their colleagues and themselves.

Dr Sarah Collins

Dr Sarah Collins at the opening of the Consultation Skills Learning Centre with Dame Nancy Rothwell and Professor Doug Corfield

You have designed, with a number of colleagues, the Consultation Skills Learning Centre in Stopford Building, which opened in 2012. Can you explain what makes this facility unique and how it helps students to gain confidence in communicating with patients and medical staff?

We designed the Consultation Skills Learning Centre on a principle of combining open, public areas with private spaces. This reflects the way in which health care is organized and delivered, and allows students to navigate themselves and their simulated or visiting patients through different areas of a clinic. Our design was inspired in part by my research on the geography of communication in head and neck cancer outpatients. This research has also found its way into our teaching.

We turn the Centre into ‘Stopford A&E’, for example: in which spontaneous, dramatic events as well as informal conversations happen in the corridor and waiting room; the students are suddenly called on to answer the phone; while the side rooms provide opportunities to gather clinical information, listen to patients’ stories and carry out physical examinations.

In delivering teaching, the open central areas and the more private consulting rooms allow tutors to share ideas and co-teach during a session while at the same time delivering their own teaching to students in a side room. We have ‘acoustic curtains’ to close off the private space – thick curtains which block out sound (and which are therefore more effective than hospital curtains) – but which can also be opened to provide for all the ‘patients’ and the teaching and learning activities to be open and seen.

Sarah

Sarah engaged in conversation with students

As the winner of a Teaching Excellence Award in 2012/13, can you tell us a bit more about your approach to teaching communication skills to medical students?

My approach to teaching communication is student-centred, creative (drawing on different theories and concepts and applying these in imaginative and new ways) and multidisciplinary. Although ‘communication skills’ is the standard term used to describe what students need to be able to practise effective communication with their patients, there is of course more to this than ‘skills’ – it is also knowledge, attitude, intuition, reflection. We use the terms ‘consultation’ and ‘patient-centred consulting’ to reflect the broad array of influences and dimensions that all come into play in an interaction between an individual patient and the doctor or medical student.

I make a point of learning all the students’ names and remembering details about their lives. The relationship with students in teaching is essential in order to foster open discussion and critical thinking. I involve the students’ ideas and contributions in our curriculum – for example, students have written dramatic dialogues which we now perform on a regular basis for all students, e.g. ‘In the Waiting Room’ in our session ‘Mental Health Stories’. For ‘Stopford A&E’, I asked final year students to write the session, and they now teach this session each year to the second year students, with support from my clinician colleagues. And I draw on different media – spoken, written, visual, art, photography, music – to set the scene for an individual session or to create an interlude within it for everyone to share thoughts and ideas.

b8d86f77-0e5c-44d7-84b3-a741a44919d9

Music, Literature, Art and Medicine: an evening of performances by medical students at the Anthony Burgess Foundation, November 2015

How does your interdisciplinary background in languages and linguistics, communication, social science and education, and creative writing inform your teaching?

I use my interdisciplinary background to create the content and form for every session I design: the combination of disciplines allows us to represent the consultation and the doctor-patient relationship in its multiple and diverse forms. In terms of teaching and learning activities, we incorporate drawing, listening to music, creative writing of dialogue and narrative, ethnographic observation of clinical settings, and discussions about educational methods, into both tutor development and student learning.

Sarah

Creative approaches to teaching and learning communication: Sarah and colleagues at the International Conference for the European Association of Communication in Healthcare, Heidelberg, September 2016

And finally, how do you relax and unwind away from the office, CSLC, lecture theatre and seminar room?

I love cooking, gardening, writing poetry, wandering around art galleries, walking long distances, going to the cinema, and most of all spending time with my family.

MedHums Creative Portfolio: Amina Kreusch

Next in our Students Reflect on MedHums series, in which we showcase creative portfolios assembled by students on the MSc in Medical Humanities, is Amina Kreusch, whose journal contains a range of fascinating visual and textual material.

Amina Kreusch, Introduction, 2013/14

Amina Kreusch, Introduction, 2013/14

Amina explains in her introduction how the journal became a space for reflection, exploration, discovery and experimentation. It covers historical, cultural and sociological topics – some of a very personal nature. According to Amina, the illness and passing of her grandfather on the one hand and the experience of spending a year in Manchester as an international student on the other made her aware of the fleeting nature of time, and the cycle of life and death more generally – themes that pervade the journal both explicitly and on a more subtle level.

Amina describes the process of creating a journal in the following terms:

Coming from a science-focused degree, assembling a creative portfolio seemed a daunting task at first. But in the course of the first semester looking for scraps of interesting stories and everyday encounters that related to reflecting on medicine and, more broadly, on health and disease, life and death, became a habit I would not want to miss anymore.

My favourite part was putting different sources of material and text types to work. I collected photographs, digital media, and drawings of my own while also experimenting with poems, short prose, and documenting oral history.

The journal contains exhibition and film reviews, poems, reflections on public perceptions of diseases such as diabetes and cancer, photographs, drawings, and more:

Amina Kreusch, Bee and Flower Photograph, 2013/14

Amina Kreusch, Brains, 2013/14

Amina Kreusch, Diabetes

dscn6405

dscn6406

dscn6407

dscn6410

dscn6412

Amina Kreusch, Journal, 2013/14

Amina Kreusch, Journal, 2013/14

Amina reflects on the ways in which putting together a creative portfolio shaped her understanding of the Medical Humanities:

The journal played a significant part in how the MSc helped open up my perception of how thoroughly the medical humanities pervade our work as healthcare professionals as well as personal lives, all the while moving away from a purely medical gaze.

All artwork and images © Amina Kreusch.