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Medical Humanities

Medical Humanities Pedagogy is an example of our innovation within interdisciplinary teaching and learning; our most recent project was 'Modernism, Medicine and the Embodied Mind' (AHRC, 2015-16) in collaboration with the universities of Bristol and Exeter. IATL co-hosted an interdisciplinary event for this group in March 2016, 'Ageing, Embodiment and the Self', which featured both pedagogic and performance-based elements.

Since 2010 we have been collaborating with academic staff from both WMS and the Arts Faculty to explore the pedagogic implications of the Medical Humanities movement. This work is led by Jonathan Heron and draws upon previous collaborations between the CAPITAL Centre and the Centre for the History of Medicine. The IATL Student Ensemble contributed to the Open-space Learning project Psychiatry, Performance and Play (2011) with Dr Matthew Broome (IATL Senior Associate Fellow), which brought clinicians together with performers. Jonathan has also worked closely with Dr Elizabeth Barry on the AHRC-funded Beckett and Brain Science (2012; see below) and her IATL Academic Fellowship to develop an interdisciplinary module The Medical Mind in Literature and Culture (see below).

OSL: psychiatry case study
Case study: Psychiatry and Open-space Learning
Medical Mind module
IATL module: The Medical Mind in Literature and Culture
Research: Beckett and Brain Science
Research project: Beckett and Brain Science

Furthermore, the wider IATL team is actively involved in a range of interdisciplinary projects that explore new academic contexts for the human body, and the impact of this upon contemporary student experience (examples of this can be found through our Student Ensemble and Interdisciplinary Modules web pages). In addition to The Medical Mind in Literature module above (available to postgraduates), we offer Navigating Psychopathology (available to undergraduates), created by Matthew Broome and Viv Joseph. IATL has also supported a range of projects that enhance student engagement across the curriculum, including funded projects led by members of the Centre of the History of Medicine and of the departments of Health and Social Studies, Life Sciences and the Warwick Medical School.

The medical humanities are defined by the Wellcome Trust as follows: "a variety of disciplines that explore the social, historical and cultural dimensions of scientific knowledge, clinical practice and healthcare policy. They investigate and give meaning to the experiences, narratives and representations of health and illness that are often ignored by the biomedical sciences alone. By exploring experience, knowledge and practice in context, the medical humanities can enrich our understanding of health, medicine and disease". An example of this can be found in this recent publication by Heron et al. (BMJ, 2015).

Other examples of Medical Humanities education at the University of Warwick include the following activities: