Thinking Through Things: object encounters in the medical humanities
ECR training day: Wellcome Collection, London, Wednesday 12th February 2020, 11-5
This training day, hosted by Wellcome Collection in collaboration with the project Thinking Through Things, is designed to provide ECRs with the skills necessary for working with objects, images and artworks for research, teaching or engagement in the medical humanities.
Designed to maximise interactivity between participants and objects, the day will include a conservator-led session on object-handling; practical training in catalogue use; the opportunity to meet Wellcome archivists and to engage with a selection of archival materials from the Collection; and short presentations from ECR academics who have previously worked with the Collection.
In addition to developing practical skills, the day will also seek to address a number of theoretical and methodological questions in relation to the Collection and beyond. How can objects, images and artworks be used as ‘things to think with’ (Turkle, 2011), feel with, and imagine with, in order to address health-related topics in original and innovative ways? What is the affective potential of the archival encounter in health-related research? What is gained by handling archival objects directly, rather than reading about them or encountering them through facsimile? How does an archive (re)contextualise an object, image or artwork? What does it mean to categorise an object as ‘art’, and what are the consequences of assembling an art collection around subject matter rather than ‘aesthetic’ or ‘cultural’ value?
This training day is aimed at ECRs from all disciplines interested in learning more about working with the objects, images and artworks held by Wellcome Collection. We welcome ECRs with existing experience of object-based scholarship, and those with little or no experience who feel that their research could benefit from this approach. We define the category of ECR broadly, from first-year PhD students to researchers up to ten years post-PhD who do not yet have a permanent academic job.
A number of bursaries are available to cover reasonable travel and accommodation expenses.
This workshop is part of the event programme for Thinking Through Things, which is funded by a Wellcome Trust Discretionary Award.
How to apply:
Due to the interactive nature of this workshop, places are limited. Please send an expression of interest of up to 200 words outlining your work in the medical humanities to date, and your reasons for wanting to participate in the workshop. If you would like to be considered for a bursary, please mention this when submitting your expression of interest, and give an indication of costs.
Deadline for applications: Friday 20th December 2019.
We aim to respond to all expressions of interest by Friday 10th
About Thinking Through Things
Thinking Through Things has been developed by a team of ECRs from across the Northern Network for Medical Humanities Research: project PI, Dr Fiona Johnstone (Durham), and collaborators Dr Marie Allitt (Leeds), Dr Ashleigh Blackwood (Northumbria), Dr Bentley Crudgington (Manchester), Dr Ilaria Grando (York), Dr Katherine Rawling (Leeds), Olivia Turner (Newcastle), and Dr Jacqueline Waldock (Liverpool).
Asking what might be gained by ‘doing’ medical humanities through objects and images, the award will support an innovative programme of activities designed to stimulate interdisciplinary dialogue around the holdings of the Wellcome Collection. By bringing together ECRs and other professional participants, including creative practitioners and museums/archives staff, the Collection will be activated to appeal to a range of stakeholders beyond those who usually carry out archival work. By approaching selected objects in the Collection as ‘provocations to thought’ and ‘companions to our emotional lives’ (Turkle, 2011), the proposed activities will investigate how thinking and feeling ‘through things’ can generate new understandings of health.
Activities will centre around two workshops, the first at the Wellcome Collection in early 2020, and the second at a Northern Network institution in summer 2020. Outputs will include a series of linked podcasts, essays and interviews, showcasing the project’s findings; a Working Knowledge Project Short outlining best practice for ‘doing’ medical humanities with objects; and a sustainable network of collaborators for further projects. Additionally, the programme will support ECRs in acquiring the necessary skills for working with objects for research and engagement purposes, and will enable ECRs to form professional connections outside of the academy, laying the groundwork for future research, outreach, and engagement activities.
Thinking Through Things is funded by a Wellcome Trust Discretionary Award.