Modernism, Medicine and the Embodied Mind: Investigating Disorders of Self

Title of project:

Modernism, Medicine and the Embodied Mind: Investigating Disorders of Self


Name and institution of principle investigators:

Dr Ulrika Maude, University of Bristol


Names and institutions of co-investigators/ collaborators:

Dr Elizabeth Barry, University of Warwick

Dr Laura Salisbury, University of Exeter
Funding sources:



Summary of research:

‘Modernism, Medicine and the Embodied Mind’ is an interdisciplinary network that uses the radical insights of aesthetic modernism to develop dialogue with medical practice in psychiatry, psychoanalytic psychotherapy, neurology, and old age psychiatry. The project is dynamically interdisciplinary, fostering collaboration between researchers and clinicians working in Higher Education, the NHS, and international healthcare. It brings literary and arts scholars, philosophers, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, neuropsychologists, neurologists, and doctors in palliative care into dialogue with theatre practitioners, dancers and artists from across the UK, Europe and the USA, asking them to explore together the resources modernism offers for creatively understanding experiences of body and mind poorly served by realist models of the self.
The project explores the historical and discursive links between literary modernism, medical discoveries, and clinical practice. Underpinning the project is the significance of phenomenology and the first-person experience of medicine. The project considers modernism’s specific ability to speak to seemingly unruly mental and embodied states, and the conceptual ‘black hole’ of extreme old age, using performance-as-research strategies to consider how theatre and dance might help scholars and clinicians understand these states via experiential means. It also explores the role of the visual arts in communicating experiences that resist conceptual definition.

Project website/webpage:



Anticipated time frame of project:

March 2015 to July 2016


Anticipated audiences:

Humanities and arts scholars and students, clinicians, healthcare practitioners, medical students


Tagged as: 

Modernism, medicine, psychiatry, ageing, neurology


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Posted on 22 Jul 2015, under Projects.