“Going to the Dogs”?: A Workshop Series on Research at the Intersection of Disability and Animal Studies, Leeds

Date: 10am-4pm, Friday 13th April 2018

Location: Centre for Medical Humanities at the University of Leeds (School of English, 6­­–10 Cavendish Road)

Workshop No. 2

Following the success of the first “Going to the Dogs” event on 19 February 2018 (find out more here and discussion stemming from the event here), the Centre for Medical Humanities at the University of Leeds (School of English, 6­­–10 Cavendish Road) will be hosting a follow-up workshop on Friday 13 April 2018 from 10am to 4pm.

This second workshop will feature the following talks:

  • Rachael Gillibrand (Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds), TBC;
  • Ryan Sweet (School of English and Leeds Humanities Research Institute, University of Leeds), “Wooden-Limbed Livestock and Prostheticised Pets: Prostheses for Animals in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Press”;
  • Neil Pemberton (Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, University of Manchester), “Stroking with Words: Caress and the Making of Guide-Dog-Human Partnership in 1930s America”;
  • Andy Flack (Department of History, University of Bristol), “Why Look at Animals’ Eyes?: Historicising Understandings of Extra-Visual Perception among Nocturnal Animals”;
  • Justyna Włodarczyk (Department of American Literature, University of Warsaw), “Dogs at Work or Scam Alert? The Cultural and Social Context of the Controversy over Emotional Support Animals in the US”.

If you would like to register for FREE, please email the event organiser, Ryan Sweet (R.C.Sweet@leeds.ac.uk). When writing to Ryan, please inform him of any accessibility needs that you have so that he can ensure that the event is fully inclusive.

Tea, coffee, lunch, and other refreshments will be provided.

Also associated: 

Animals in Disability Art

An evening with Jenni-Juulia Wallinheimo-Heimonen

Related to the “Going to the Dogs” workshop series, from 7pm to 9pm on Thursday 12 April 2018 the Finnish conceptual and textile artist Jenni-Juulia Wallinheimo-Heimonen will be performing, presenting, and explaining her recent disability art that incorporates animals at TheTetley.
To find out more and to register (again for FREE), please visit the Eventbrite page.
If you have any questions, please write to Ryan Sweet (R.C.Sweet@leeds.ac.uk).

Trauma and Repair: A Medical Humanities Laboratory Workshop, Manchester

Location: Council Chambers, Whitworth Building, University of Manchester

Date: 1pm-4.45pm, Friday 9th March 2018

Organised by the Medical Humanities Laboratory at the University of Manchester, thanks to the sponsorship of the John Rylands Research Institute.


This workshop brings together speakers and practitioners from several different disciplines – anthropology, history of medicine, visual culture studies, cultural history, and art—to consider the bodily, medical, and cultural meanings of trauma and repair.  Together we will think about and discuss where the experience of injury, especially to the face, and the practices of surgery intersect and interact.


Our first session includes presentations by an anthropologist, an artist, and a historian of medicine who all work on faces, trauma, and medicine.  After a coffee break, our second session will feature keynote speaker Dr Suzannah Biernoff, Senior Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Visual Culture at Birkbeck and author of the recent Portraits of Violence: War and the Aesthetics of Disfigurement), followed by a broad collective discussion of the afternoon’s presentations and themes.


We particularly encourage postgrads and early career researchers to attend.  An archivist from the John Rylands University Library will be available to discuss recently catalogued holdings of interest to medical humanities scholars, teachers, and practitioners.


The event is free to all, but please register your attendance via Eventbrite, where a map and more detailed programme will be available.


Workshop schedule:

  • 1pm:  registration and arrival
  • 1:15pm: welcome and introductions, Dr Elizabeth Toon
  • 1:20pm: Trauma, repair, transgression and transformation: Living with facial ‘disfigurement’, Dr Anne-Marie Martindale
  • 1:50pm: Facing out: A portraiture project exploring facial cancer and the gaze, Lucy Burscough
  • 2:20pm: Between trauma and repair: The surgical operation in Dorothy Davison’s medical illustrations, Dr Harriet Palfreyman
  • 2:50pm: tea/coffee break
  • 3:15pm: Keynote: Facelessness in Georges Franju’s Les yeux sans visage, Dr Suzannah Biernoff (Birkbeck)
  • 4pm: general discussion, led by Prof Ana Carden-Coyne


Please register via the workshop Eventbrite page.

Workshop: ‘Illness and Language’, Oxford

Location: Lecture Theatre, The Richard Doll Building, 11 Old Road Campus, Headington, Oxford, OX3 7LF

Date: 9am – 2pm, 21st March 2018

“Illness and Language”* is a knowledge exchange event funded by Wellcome Trust, designed to promote dialogue between multi-faith chaplains working at Oxford University Hospitals and academics interested in religious themes within medical humanities.


9-9:40 Professor Jane Macnaughton ‘Listening to what is not said: intersubjective relations in the clinical consultation’

9:50-10:30 Dr Neil Vickers ‘The Other as a metaphor for the self: stigma and illness’

10:40-11 Coffee

11-11:40 Dr Katherine Southwood ‘Job’s tortured body and the language of divine assault’

11:50-12:30 Dr Louise Lawrence ‘Blind Spots and Metaphors: Refiguring Sightless Characters in the Gospels’

12:30 Lunch

* CPD applied for. To secure your place on this event please email Katherine Southwood.

Film Screening and Workshop on Disability Studies, Edinburgh

Location: University of Edinburgh

Date: 10am-1pm, Thursday 22nd February 2018

Workshop: ‘Researching disability: Facilitating best practice in inclusive research’

Disabled people have historically been habitually excluded from academic research. Yet, in recent times there has been a shift towards participatory research, and inclusion and participation of ‘users’. However, new researchers to the field or students in the beginning of their research career might be hesitant to conduct research within this field. Researchers might be unsure how to approach individuals with disability, both as partners in research and as participants.  There may also be anxieties about barriers to gaining ethical approval. This workshop aims to help participants to consider these issues, learn from others’ experiences and develop research that is inclusive and empowers rather than focusing on the vulnerability of participants.

We particularly encourage research students and early career researchers to come along and discuss their ideas and get advice and support.

We will provide a panel discussion, workshops, prizes and refreshments.

Ticket are free, and available, along with further details, on our Eventbrite page.


Location: University of Edinburgh

Date: 2-5pm, Thursday 22 February 2018

Film Screening: ‘Defiant lives’

Defiant Lives (Sarah Barton, 2016) is a film, telling the story of the disability rights movement in the United States, Britain and Australia, using archival footage and interviews with activists.

The Disability Research Edinburgh network will host this opportunity to see this film , followed by a discussion and refreshments

Booking and further details available on our Eventbrite page.

For more information about the Festival of Creative learning, see http://www.festivalofcreativelearning.ed.ac.uk/.

Workshops: ‘“Going to the Dogs”? The intersections of Disability and Animal Studies’, Leeds

Date: 2-5pm, Monday 19th February 2018

Location: Leeds Centre for Medical Humanities, School of English, 6–10 Cavendish Road, Leeds

Responding to recent scholarship that has placed disability and animal studies in critical dialogue (see, for instance, Sunaura Taylor’s new book and the Canadian Journal of Disability Studies recent call for papers), this workshop will bring together three Leeds-based scholars, who will each approach the intersection of disability and animal studies from a different disciplinary and methodological perspective. The session will feature Karen Sayer, who is a Professor of Social and Cultural History at Leeds Trinity University; Sunny Harrison, who is a PhD candidate in the Institute for Medieval Studies at the University of Leeds; and Leah Burch, who is a PhD candidate in Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds. Respectively, their talks will cover the following topics:

  • Models of utility, disability, and occupational health in later medieval horse medicine.
  • The conceptualisation of disabled human labourers relative to conceptualisations of farm animals in nineteenth-century agriculture.
  • Instances of disability being animalised in contemporary hate speech.

Each talk will be followed by time for questions, and the workshop will end with a roundtable discussion about the ethical and methodological challenges of working on themes of disability and animals together. Tea and coffee will be provided.

If you have any questions or would like to book a place at the workshop in February—for FREE — please email the organiser, Dr Ryan Sweet, including details of anything that can be done to ensure that the event is accessible for you. Ryan’s email address is R.C.Sweet@leeds.ac.uk.

Write the Future! Competition Winner

As part of the Being Human Festival 2017 Dr Hannah Tweed and Dr Anna McFarlane held a creative writing workshop, ‘Write the Future!’, to encourage young writers to think about science fiction, medicine, and disability. Those who participated were invited to submit their stories in a writing competition, and it gives us great pleasure to share the winning entry, ‘To the Bone’ by Jamie Graham. Jamie is a student at the University of Glasgow and his story considers some possible problems with the commodification of bodily implants.

We’d like to thank creative writers Elaine Gallagher and Russell Jones for leading the workshop and allowing our young writers to benefit from their experiences; thanks to our writers for their contribution to this fascinating event; and thank you to Jamie for his story, and for allowing us to publish it here.

To the Bone

By Jamie Graham

Let me ask you this question: before you laugh at me, I’m not spouting any kind of rhetoric when I say that I seriously want to know. Have you ever felt something in your bones?

They’re a sensitive lot, which is hard to believe when you watch our games. Most of the time though we do pull together, and we always pull through. It’s just sobering to me that most of the lads at the rugby club wouldn’t have a clue about what I’ve just asked.

On Friday, we made a breakthrough. A national championship! The first one under our belts in months! We had some injuries of course: players on both sides went over their ankles, but that’s not a problem. It’s not like the ankle vendors are shutting anytime soon. Besides, it’s the end of the season!

However, that still didn’t excuse the lads their shoddy performance. Credit where it’s due, right, they did listen to me about coordination, but they weren’t running nearly enough with the ball (when they got it that is!). The criticism stung a little, but luckily for them I had neither the time nor the lower body strength to give them a demonstration. I know I’m a fine one to talk. I know what the fans mean when they ask how I can possibly be expected to coach a line up when I should be coaching myself to walk upright. Honestly though, I’ve had worse said to my face during my tenure and I don’t chastise them for questioning. I’ve loved this club since I was a boy. Trust me, it’ll take more than a few weeks of scepticism to put me off. I wasn’t always this feeble after all, but time rubs off on us all.

That’s why most of the lads got them Slipskins. Y’know, as part of that Omni-joint malarkey? If the team knows me for anything, they know me best for my slagging of ‘the extra arsehole’. I am joking, but the second someone unzips their leg or arm in the locker rooms, I just about boak. I was reluctant to get them on my own legs at first, but you get used to it after a while. I admit, it’d be nice to have a set of bones to go along with it, but hey, we can’t have everything. At least I’ve got somewhere extra safe to keep my keys! The Hospital claims these omni-joints make people safer; as far as I’m concerned folk are clumsier than they were, and they take their bodies for granted much more often, so I don’t trust that so much.

Thomas, our team rep, caught up to me before I headed off. He was one of the few who knew where I was going that afternoon, and before I left he passed me something: a business card for some fella … I can’t recall his name … who he said could help me out. Thomas was always big into the old Omni-joint. He’d spent a lot of money getting both him and his wife matching knuckles for their anniversary. Engraved and everything. Surely that can’t be healthy?

At least that was my Doctor’s mindset. A stern one, that bloke. I guess you’d have to be if you choose of your own volition to work behind one of the Hospital’s clinically sterilised counters every day of your life. My problem is the calf bone, you see. They haven’t been broken or anything, they were stolen a few months back. Some lowlife grabbed me in the street, dragged me around a corner and…next minute I was on the ground with no bones to hold me up. It was an hour before anybody thought to come down the lane. I get by. They gave me some drugs a while back to convince my lower half it’s still around, otherwise the pain’d be unbearable. The Doctor shoved a big catalogue my way. Apparently, the synthetic stuff is now really damn durable and very cheap. Call me sentimental, I’ve got attached to the concept of a real bone somewhere in my body, but there’s lots of complex DNA donation stuff to get through if you want something exactly as it was. As much as they like you to believe, kindness ain’t cheap these days.

It was a long time before I got in the door. It always is when the lift is bunged up and I’m too tired to wheel my seat. I heaved my chair over the bump in the door and flailed my coat on the hangar. After it fell off a good few times I left it on the ground, and out fell Tom’s card from one of my pockets.

The fella was kind enough to meet with me. Amiable enough, but he did go a little overboard on the life story. I checked his credentials and he seems to be the real McCoy. We both aren’t keen on the Hospital, he certainly made that clear. Him and a bunch of pals walked out on them. They weren’t teaching them enough apparently. All the same, he promised he’d get me an Omni-joint at a reduced rate, claiming that it was the least he could do to help people get the real help they need. I tried emphasising there was only one thing I wanted, a human-ish Omni-joint that I could keep for sport. I wouldn’t have to walk or run, just keep it for special occasions. He told me I should do some market research.

Before the club’s weekly session, I wheeled my way through the medical district. I was aware how popular the Omni-joint was, but not that it was a fashion statement! There’s all sorts, some even I’d say were practical. Omni-joints that don’t crack or get stiff. Some with built in electric heaters! There were some cheap synthetic mock-ups knocking about for those looking to recycle old bottles and things. I saw proud parents signing their children up for prescriptions. I heard once that some woman in America spent thousands getting her Mother’s whole skeleton reconstructed in Omni-joints. She wears it in memorial. I passed a guy shouting in the street about being boneless: don’t ask. There are plenty novelties. Who’d want what is essentially a leg bone to double up as a dog chew toy? Or a funny bone that laughs when you poke it? What happened to bones that were just there for show? Apparently, I was a bit of an oddity. The unaltered skeletal structure is pricey, especially when there’s little left of it in most to begin with.

The training session helped me lighten up. It certainly did Tom. He’d been complaining most of the day about his hands aching. We laughed and told him it was growing pains. We laughed and told him to stop being an old man. We didn’t laugh the week after.

Skeletal Shredding, it was. A registered disorder now apparently. Something in the Omni-joint. A rancid chemical laced in the marrow. The body realises that the Omni-joint isn’t real, is an intrusion, and tries to get rid of it quickly. The body’s solution? To break it down and try pushing through the skin. Yeah, Slipskins were real useful then. Tom was screaming too much for us to touch them. I don’t blame the fella I spoke to, or any of his friends for all this. I cancelled my appointment.

Artist in Residence Workshop, RCPS Glasgow

Date: 6pm, Monday 20th November 2017

Location: Lister Room, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons Glasgow, 232-242 St. Vincent Street, Glasgow, G2 5RJ

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons Glasgow is pleased to announce an Artist in Residence workshop, on Monday 20th November, 6pm, in the Lister Room in the College building. This will be an informal creative writing workshop, lead by poet and performer Marianne MacRae. The focus of the Residency is Joseph Lister and Glasgow, and the workshop will make use of our Lister heritage collections and those relating to 19th century Glasgow more widely. You’ll get the chance to delve into our amazing Lister and heritage collections to find inspiration for your work, and Marianne will show how this unusual source material can inspire new writing!

The event is free, and refreshments will be provided. To book just email library@rcpsg.ac.uk or call 0141 221 6072.

Workshop: ‘Narrative Medicine’, Mainz, Germany

Date: 12th-14th January 2018

Location: Mainz, Germany

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany, will host a three-day workshop (January 12-14, 2018) on “Narrative Medicine” with faculty from the Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University. The workshop is based on Rita Charon’s concept of Narrative Medicine. Alternating between plenary lectures and small-group seminars, the faculty will engage participants with close reading, writing and interviewing exercises.

This intensive weekend workshop offers rigorous skill-building in narrative competence. Participants will learn effective techniques for attentive listening, adopting others’ perspectives, accurate representation and reflective reasoning. Small group seminars offer first-hand experience in close-reading, reflective writing, and autobiographical exercises. Participants will receive a packet of readings prior to the weekend that will include seminar articles in the field of narrative medicine by leading educators. The target audience is health care professionals and scholars interested in narrative medicine.

The preliminary programme and schedule can be found here. For more information and registration, visit the homepage of Mainz University.

Therapeutic Culture and Development Workshop, Sheffield

Please join the Disability Research Forum for a workshop on therapeutic culture and international development on Friday March 17th, 11-5pm, at Sheffield Institute of International Development (SIID), University of Sheffield.

Minds, behaviour and psychologies are fast becoming key frontiers in contemporary development policy. While the links between development and psychology have a long (colonial) history, there has been, of late, a contemporary shift to the more explicit mobilization of therapeutic culture within development interventions. We can see this in multiple arenas, from the uptake of behavioural science in the World Development Report ‘Mind, Society and Behaviour’; the inclusion of mental health on the UN Sustainable Development Goals; to the focus on measures of subjective well-being inter/nationally. Furthermore, digital technology has been used to further integrate psy-expertise in development policy and practice: from the use of phones to deliver cognitive behavioural therapy and to nudge behavioural changes in populations, availability of mental health diagnostic tools on digital platforms, to income management regimes that control population spending.

Speakers so far include:

  • Dr Sally Brooks (University of York)
  • Dr Eva Hilberg (University of Sheffield)
  • Dr Elise Klein (University of Melbourne)
  • Dr China Mills (University of Sheffield)
  • Dr Vanessa Pupavac (University of Nottingham)
  • Professor Sarah White (University of Bath)

The workshop will be split into two parts:

11-1.30pm Speakers will give short (10 min) presentations of their current research relating to therapeutic culture and/or digital technology within international development. This session is open to anyone who would like to attend.

2.30-5pm A focused workshop to identify priority research areas and strengthen future collaborations. This session is limited to a small group of researchers.

To book a place please email: China Mills and Elise Klein  Please also indicate if you would like to give a 10 min presentation of your work in the morning, and/or attend the second half of the workshop, through submitting a short abstract within the email (by Feb 20th).

Registration: Northern Network for Medical Humanities Research Workshop, York

Northern Network for Medical Humanities Research Workshop – York, 22 September 2016

Registration is open for the final workshop in the current series organised by the Northern Network for Medical Humanities Research, at York Medical Society on 22 September 2016. Supported by the Wellcome Trust, the workshops are a showcase of work in progress designed to help build connections and foster collaborations among medical humanities researchers, health professionals, artists and advocates.

The workshop is free to attend but please email Marie Allitt (mca508@york.ac.uk) to reserve a place. Some bursaries are available to cover travel costs for graduate students so let Marie know if you would be interested in applying for one when you register. The day includes lunch and coffee breaks for all participants. A brief overview of the day is below; please contact alice.hall@york.ac.uk for more information.


Brief Overview

9.30am – Coffee

10am – 12.30pm. Panel One: Communities of Interest: Global Health Histories, Policy and the WHO

The first session will explore current research and public outreach work being done by members of the Centre for Global Health Histories at York, a World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre, and the links between academia and international health policy.

Chair: Dr Alice Hall (York)

Speakers to include:

  • Professor Sanjoy Bhattacharya (York)
  • Dr Monica Saavedra (York)
  • Dr Margaret Jones (York)
  • Dr Alexander Medcalf (York)

1.15pm – 3.15pm. Panel Two: Critical Medical Humanities: Impact and Engagement

The second session will include a number of short ‘provocation’ papers on the topic of impact and engagement in relation to medical humanities projects.

Chair: Dr Angela Woods (Durham)

Speakers to include:

  • Dr Anne Whitehead (Newcastle)
  • Dr Annamaria Carusi (Sheffield)
  • Professor Jane MacNaughton (Durham)
  • Dr Gavin Miller (Glasgow)
  • Professor Clark Lawlor (Northumbria)
  • Dr Angela Woods (Durham)
  • Dr Carsten Timmermann (Manchester)
  • Dr Bethan Evans (Liverpool)
  • Wellcome Trust representative

3.15pm – Coffee

3.30 – 4pm. Roundtable: the Future of the Northern Network

The workshop will conclude with a roundtable on the future of the Northern Network, including a discussion of the proposal for an annual conference.

Chair: Dr Bethan Evans (Liverpool)