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Warwick academics shortlisted for AHRC Best Doctoral or Early Career Research medal

University of WarwickDr Anna Harpin and Dr Rachel Bennett from the University of Warwick have been shortlisted for the Health Humanities Medal, a new national award led by the Arts and Humanities Research Council in association with the Wellcome Trust.

Dr Harpin and Dr Bennett are two of five academics who have made the shortlist for the Best Doctoral or Early Career Research category, which recognises the best research undertaken by doctoral students and early career researchers in the past five years.

The Health Humanities Medal comprises five categories designed to celebrate the achievements of those who have helped to inform and transform the health and wellbeing of the nation through the use of arts and humanities research.

Commenting on the nomination Dr Bennett, of Warwick’s Department of History, said "It is an honour to be short-listed for the Health Humanities Medal. As an early career academic, working in the field of health and the humanities has offered me valuable opportunities to combine my historic research with several public engagement projects. Working as part of the Wellcome-funded project 'Prisoners, Medical Care and Entitlement to Health in England and Ireland, 1850-2000', I have been able to share the key findings to emerge from my research into health provision in women's prisons with a broad and diverse audience.

“In addition, working in the field of health and humanities has offered me valuable support to establish partnerships with arts and medical practitioners as well as engaging with policy makers."

Dr Anna Harpin, of Warwick’s Department of Theatre and Performance Studies, said: “I am absolutely delighted and flattered to be shortlisted for this innovative and important award. It is fantastic to be amongst such a diverse and rich array of other scholars who are all working to develop the field and have a direct impact on improving health and care for all. In terms of my own research, it is really exciting that the work is getting wider exposure given the historic marginalisation of discourses around madness, mental health, and non-normative psychological experiences.

“My work is aiming to change the types of conversations that take place academically, socially, and culturally around these urgent subjects and experiences in order to move beyond a predominantly biomedical model of understanding of what it means to be a person and have a meaningful life. Through my scholarship and artistic practice I aim to explode the false universal of wellness and instead make more room to hold, value, and creatively explore difficult feelings, unusual perceptual phenomena, and alternative ways of being in, and conceiving of, the world. It is fantastic that this award values that critical conversation. “

Nearly a hundred nominations were received for the first ever Health Humanities Medal covering a diverse range of subjects ranging from dementia to music and psychology. Professor Nicola Shaughnessy, School of Arts at the University of Kent, chaired the first panel and said: “It was great to be chairing something completely new and getting the opportunity to read through all the applications.

“The applications consistently showed evidence of high impact, demonstrating how research in health humanities is changing lives and influencing policymakers.”

Professor Edward Harcourt, Director of Research, Strategy and Innovation at the AHRC said: “We are delighted to be supporting these new awards. The AHRC has always seen the importance of backing the health humanities. We were struck by the exceptional quality of the applications, which express a more inclusive vision of health and wellbeing and how to achieve it in ways that are not driven by medical science alone.”

23 August 2018


Tom Frew, Senior Press and Media Relations Manager – University of Warwick:

E: a dot t dot frew at warwick dot ac dot uk
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