Coming Up:

Ethics of Sensitive Visual Material in the Medical Humanities

An ECR Workshop

(Downloadable PDF here: Ethics and the Visual_2021 )

Wednesday 22nd September 2021
2-4pm BST, Online


The aim of this workshop is to address pressing concerns relating to the uses of visual material in medical humanities, with a particular focus on photography and medical histories. It will address multiple ethical concerns regarding the dissemination of sensitive materials in medical humanities research.

While individual universities require formal ethical approval for many aspects of research, especially when it involves living people, the medical humanities compel further questions and concerns about how we display, share, contextualise, and present details of real lives and sensitive subject matter.

In this workshop, we will identify problems and challenges which can arise when using sensitive visual sources, and seek to develop solutions in order to formulate usable research guidelines. Over the course of the session, we will also see how these issues relate to other sensitive material, which go beyond the visual.

In part, the workshop will address the following questions and concerns:

  • How might we define ‘sensitive material’?
  • What should we consider when using images and visual material in our research?
  • In what circumstances would we not share an image? How might we discuss an image without sharing it?
  • What context and additional information might we provide when sharing sensitive images pertaining to health and medicine, whether in publications, presentations, online posts, or on social media?

The workshop is facilitated by:
Dr Marie Allitt (University of Oxford/Durham University)
Dr Beatriz Pichel (De Montfort University)
Dr Katherine Rawling (University of Leeds)
Dr Jennifer Wallis (Imperial College London)
Dr Rebecca Wynter (University of Birmingham)

The workshop is open to all ECRs working in medical humanities.
(ECRs: early career researchers not in a permanent post).
The workshop is free to attend, but places are limited.

Eligibility and Application:

Any Early Career Researchers working in the field of medical, or health, humanities are welcome. You do not need to have previously or currently be working with visual material to attend.
We especially welcome those working in ethics.

You do not need to be a member of a Northern Network for Medical Humanities Research (NNMHR) institution.

To apply, please send a 100-word expression of interest statement setting out why you are interested in this topic, indicating your research interests, and identifying some of the ethical concerns associated with your research.

Please send a short biography and the expression of interest to Marie Allitt , by Friday 10th September, 2021


This event is organised by Dr Marie Allitt, Postdoctoral Research Assistant for the Northern Network for Medical Humanities Research, with the support of Durham’s Institute for Medical Humanities and the University of Leeds, and the Wellcome Trust.


Previous Events:

2021 – 21st-23rd April (online) 4th Congress of the Northern Network for Medical Humanities Research, Institute for Medical Humanities (IMH), Durham University

The fourth Northern Network for Medical Humanities Research (NNMHR) Congress will be held online on 21–23 April 2021, in collaboration with the Institute for Medical Humanities, Durham. The aim of the Congress is simple: it is an opportunity for people who are passionate or even simply curious about medical humanities research to present their work, share ideas, and meet potential future colleagues and collaborators. The Congress is not limited to members of the network.

The global and local health inequalities revealed and perpetuated by the Covid-19 pandemic require us to reflect upon how we do medical humanities research. We ask participants to consider the ways in which our work renders some aspects of health and illness visible, while leaving others out of sight. We hope to think more carefully about what sort of experiences the medical humanities has become adept at bringing to light, whilst reflecting on the ways in which theoretical methodologies, research priorities and funding structures have left other voices unheard. Contributors may also wish to consider how the medical humanities can become more visible in wider health funding structures and in relation to strategic health priorities.

Further details, the Programme, and Registration can be found here 

2020, 23rd-24th January, 3rd Annual Congress, University of Sheffield

2017 – 2018

2014 – 2017

The series of research workshop days aim to facilitate collaborative research within the NNMHR by strengthening understandings of the research interests and expertise within the network. They will create a forum for interdisciplinary discussions of work in progress and allow members to build connections with non-HEI partners (charities, arts organisations, clinicians) in each of the workshop venues. Priority is given to network members but all events are free. The timing of workshops will allow participants to travel to and from the workshops in one day. Lunch and coffee will be provided.

The network and these workshops are supported by the Wellcome Trust.