European Congress of Qualitative Inquiry 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference


Health Humanities and Arts as Qualitative Inquiry? The promise and challenge of arts-informed methods in Health Humanities Chair(s): Amy Chandler (University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom) This themed panel draws together four papers which speak in different ways to the emergent area of Health Humanities. Presenters are all working in diverse disciplinary traditions (design, documentary film, sociology, counselling and psychotherapy, photography and fine art), engaging with arts-based or arts-informed methodological approaches. Our aim with the panel is to generate a critical space for discussing the meanings and implications of qualitative methods which draw more – or less – on ‘Arts’ within Health Humanities. All contributors are based at the University of Edinburgh, where we seek to ensure our practice of Health Humanities explicitly incorporates ‘Arts’. The panel provides an opportunity to critically explore what the challenges and benefits of such expansion might be. The panel discussion contributes more broadly to ongoing attempts to articulate the form and content of the emergent field of Health Humanities. One understanding of Health Humanities is that it seeks to enroll diversity, inclusivity and social justice in drawing on humanities and arts to understand and enhance ‘health’. However, within this, the use of different arts-based methods may raise ethical, epistemological and methodological challenges when applied to the arena of health. Further, while Health Humanities may aim to escape the dominance of a politically contentious medical view of health, our papers will address the extent to which this is possible. Presenters: Amy Hardie, Beverley Hood, Agnese Sile & Fiona Murray, Ingrid Young. We began as part of the part of the body – creative practice in the lab Abstract: Beverley Hood University of Edinburgh The proposed paper will present the practice-based research methods involved in creating the sound artwork We began as part of the body. Developed during a creative research residency organised by ASCUS Art & Science, which placed the author for 1-2 days a week between Jan – June 2017, in the laboratory of Professor Sara Brown, an eczema genetic research facility, within the School of Medicine, University of Dundee, Scotland. The artwork is a spoken word sound piece, the script for which was written in response to a series of interviews with staff from the lab, leading the audience through the story of the lab’s artificial skin cell culture’s journey from operating theatre to research lab, and finally to disposal. The dialogue is based on scientifically detailed information, made curious, enlightening and poignant, because here the point of view is the personal perspective of the artificial skin cell cultures, recounting the journey of their short, precious, three weeks long ‘in-vitro’ life. The work reflects complex human and ethical questions about the relationship between the body, science and technology, in a rigorously informed, but poetic way. We began as part of the body uses digital storytelling as a creative research method that enables audiences to value and think critically about Sara’s complex genetic research around healthcare, which can be difficult to grasp and understand. It gives audiences understanding and insight into both the complexity and significance of the efforts invested in undertaking the practical activities of genetic health research and the philosophical questions it raises, including the vital importance of public donations of human tissue for clinical translational research.
Period14 Feb 2019
Event typeConference
LocationEdinburgh, United Kingdom
Degree of RecognitionInternational