Five Questions for… Julie-Marie Strange

Julie-Marie Strange, next in our series introducing MedHumLab members, is Professor of British History and currently Head of History.

Julie-Marie Strange, Fatherhood and the British Working Class, 1865-1914, Cambridge University Press, 2015

Julie-Marie Strange, Fatherhood and the British Working Class, 1865-1914, Cambridge University Press, 2015

Your research and teaching interests are wide-ranging, including Victorian cultures of death and bereavement, fatherhood and attachment in late Victorian and Edwardian working-class culture, and historical representations of menstruation, puberty and the menopause. How do they fit into a medical humanities context?

The unifying theme of my research is the history of emotions which bear a close relationship with bodies, wellbeing and mental health, and of inter-personal relationships.

How would you describe the field of medical humanities from your disciplinary perspective as a historian?

As a dynamic field that invites us to historicize core questions about society, culture and individuals.

Julie-Marie Strange, Death, Grief and Poverty in Britain, 1870-1914, Cambridge University Press, 2006

Julie-Marie Strange, Death, Grief and Poverty in Britain, 1870-1914, Cambridge University Press, 2005

Where do you see the benefits of interdisciplinary research?

The fusion of ideas, methods and practices from different perspectives invites us to view things – often familiar things – through new lenses and to be surprised.

What are your expectations for MedHumLab for the future?

That a cross-fertilisation of ideas and practices will lead to fruitful but focused collaborations on research themes.

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

Outdoors, preferably with a horse and/or a hound.

Bodies, Technologies, Objects

Please mark your calendars for the Medical Humanities showcase

‘Bodies, Technologies, Objects’

organized by MedHumLab Manchester

Tuesday, 6 September 2016
10am – 4.30pm
Grand Hall, The Whitworth, Manchester

Plenary speaker: Dr Sam Alberti, Keeper of Science and Technology, National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh

Binaural stethoscopes, with two rubber tubes, substituted monaural ones in the early 1900s

Binaural stethoscope, Museum of Medicine and Health, Manchester

The workshop will also include an artist-led session, and  a session on ‘Teaching and Engagement’ featuring Dr Kostas Arvanitis (Centre for Museology) and Stephanie Seville (Museum of Medicine and Health).

More info to follow soon!

Five Questions for… Jane Brooks

Next in our series introducing MedHumLab members is Dr Jane Brooks, Lecturer in the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, Deputy Director of the UK Centre for the History of Nursing and Midwifery and Editor of the UK Association for the History of Nursing Bulletin. She talks about her research on the history of nursing during the Second World War and the value and challenges of oral history projects.


Sister Winifred Mountford, a nursing sister with the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service in a tented operating theatre in the desert in the Second World War

How does your research on the history of nursing play into the field of medical humanities?

My research into the work and practices of nurses in the 2nd World War identifies them as critical players in the 2WW medical services, both in the clinical work that they undertook and their presence as women, which appears to have supported the healing process and beliefs in a homeland to secure. Nursing in many ways is the human link in the medical / technology / patient triad. The history of nursing seeks to illuminate how the place of nurses in healthcare was developed out of this postion.

How would you describe the importance of humanities in medical education and patient care?

On the BNurs at Manchester, we begin the first year by introducing the students to critical aspects and events in the history of the nursing profession. The evaluations from the students demonstrate that this enables them to situate themselves in their chosen profession and develop a more political and critical eye on the health services and their place in it. By introducing students to the history of ethical and unethical practices, they are able to begin to formulate a moral compass through the safer gaze of historical enquiry.


Sister Emily Soper, also of the Q.A.s, outside the 66th General Hospital, Assam, just before night duty

One of your preferred research methods is oral history, alongside qualitative and quantitative historical research. Can you tell us about the value of oral history for your research? Are there any challenges?

Grassroots nurses have not always been a profession of writers. Although there are a number of leaders who wrote ideas about nursing, there is little from those nurses who engaged in patient care on a daily basis. Oral history allows us to develop an understanding of their work and their attitudes towards it. The challenges are the same as with oral history in general, but with some additional ones. In my oral history project with nurses who cared for older patients in the 20th century, the limited engagement with ethical practice, the frequent dehumanisation and the lack of resources and poverty of leadership caused distress to several participants. It is therefore vital, in oral history projects that deal with potentially sensitive data, for the interviewer to be alert to these difficulties.


Jane out riding on her mare, Elsie

What are your hopes and expectations for MedHumLab for the near future?

I hope that the Lab continues to develop cross-disciplinary work. I should like to see collaborations between students of all disciplines.

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

I ride my horse and run with my young and completely tireless border-collie.

Culture Shots Museums and Galleries Week 2016

Culture Shots 2016 is here!

Culture Shots is a week-long series of events based in hospital environments which are run by museums and galleries.

Culture Shots 2016 is running from Monday 18th July – Friday 22nd July. Click on the link below for the complete programme…

Culture Shots 2016 Programme


Culture Shots is designed to give you the opportunity to see how culture can enhance the health and well-being of health and social care professionals as well as their patients and families.

Here is a taster of one of the programmes on offer…

Culture Shots Printing Competition with Artist in residence Alan Birch

Alan has created a series of hand coloured prints depicting later-day saints; these first appeared at the John Rylands Library in Manchester in 2015.

Inspired by the medical saints found in the Welcome Collection, the 52 prints bring saints into the 21st century. Alan’s humorous saints reflect individuals’ obsession with contemporary technology, fashion and consumerism.

As part of our +Culture Shots 2016 programme Alan will be in residence in hospitals. Staff, patients and visitors to the hospital are invited to view the later-day saint prints and to meet Alan and chat about his work.


If you want to see more of Alan’s work, click here.

Create Your Own Saint

Packs of materials will also be available and you will be invited to create your own engraving of a saint. Alan will then make you two prints from your engraving. You can either use inspiration from personal or observed obsessions and behaviour or transform an image from an earlier time.

Drop by during any of our sessions:

Thursday 26 May 9am – 12pm @ Manchester Royal Eye Hospital (Atrium)
Tuesday 21 June 10am – 1pm @ Trafford General Hospital (Main Entrance)
Monday 18 July 9am – 3pm @ Manchester Royal Eye Hospital (Atrium)
Tuesday 19 July 9am – 3pm @ Manchester Royal Infirmary (Atrium)
Wednesday 20 July 9am – 3pm @ Trafford General Hospital
Thursday 21 July 9am – 5pm @ Trafford General Hospital
Friday 22 July 10am – 3pm @ Whitworth Art Gallery (Grand Hall)
Tuesday 2 August 1pm – 4pm @ Trafford General Hospital
Thursday 4 August 10am – 1pm @ Manchester Royal Infirmary (Atrium)

A partnership between Manchester Museum, The Whitworth, Manchester Art Gallery, and Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust


Dance for Parkinson’s – Taster Session


Dance for Parkinson’s – Taster Session

Friday 22 July, 2pm – 3pm at Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester

A unique opportunity for people with Parkinson’s, their carers, friends and family, to engage in a creative dance activity to live music led by professional artists from English National Ballet. The classes are fun and expressive and explore the themes, choreography and music of ballets.

Drop-in on the day, no booking required. Please wear comfortable clothing that you can easily move in. Following this taster session, join us for a cup of tea in the Whitworth Art Gallery café.

For further information, please contact: | 07920 595772

Learn More | Watch Video