Four New Critical Medical Humanities Networks awarded NNMHR Funding

NNMHR is excited to announce four new research networks awarded grants in our 2023 round of our New Networks in Critical Medical Humanities funding scheme.

The four successful networks will be launching their programmes and portfolios over the coming months. Each comprise compelling new programmes for research and activity in the critical medical humanities.

They represent a dynamic collective of researchers and practitioners based both in the regional north of the United Kingdom and from around the world.

The NNMHR, and our appointed New Networks deciding panel, would like to thank everyone who submitted their network proposals to this popular scheme. The standard of the many applications we received was exceptional. We will make further announcements about our expanding network and research opportunities soon.

These four research networks will join our existing network portfolio and expansive collective of affiliated network partners. Click here for details of them all.

We want to hear from you. It’s time to connect up with the critical medical humanities community. You can message NNMHR Networks Coordinator Dr James Rákóczi for further information or contact any of our network partners directly.

Pain and b/Black Identity: Race in Medicine

“This network will establish and maintain a space to think about ‘race’ as it is articulated in medical assessments of pain. It will be a ‘critical’ space in the sense that these medical assessments will be interrogated and contextualised as being part of a system that de-emphasises and sometimes erases b/Black people’s experiences of pain. By fostering connections in the broader conversations in the medical humanities around race, racism, medical science and clinical care practice, this network will focus and support work approaching race in medicine through the issue of pain and pain management.

To this end, we wish to explore the question of ‘physical’ pain as it is experienced by b/Black people in the Anglophone world and beyond. In the history of psychiatry, racial injustice has been predominantly approached through ideas of risk, violence and compulsion; much of the psychiatry-centred work in critical medical humanities has focussed on either (a) ideas of ‘intergenerational trauma’ (instead of the more quotidian ‘pain’) or (b) concepts of danger, violence and risk as opposed to subjective experiences of and structural responses to pain. As such, focussing on pain will not only explore and elucidate ‘metaphysical’ pain, but it will show how physical bodily pain is a phenomenon that represents very specific challenges for not only medicine and the medical humanities, but what we characterise as ‘iHPS’ (integrated history and philosophy of science and medicine).

We are interested in hearing from researchers and practitioners with a demonstrable interest in (a) pain in the context of medicine; (b) race in the context of medicine whose work would facilitate a specific focus on pain; (c) race and pain in medicine. Please contact the PI, Alexander Douglas, at .”

Stomach Ache: Curating with Guts in the Medical Humanities

“The brain-gut-microbiome axis is a pressing topic in emerging science and popular imaginaries. Major exhibitions at The Eden Project, UK (2015) Medical Museion, Copenhagen (2018) and Melbourne Museum, Australia (2019) have framed the microbiome and gut health as cutting-edge themes in curatorial practice. Yet epidemiological research suggests that complex, chronic and imprecisely diagnosed gut issues are rising exponentially around the globe, and that people’s experiences of seeking treatment are often unsupportive and ineffective. Acknowledging this failed connection between emerging science and people’s clinical experiences possesses a different kind of cultural urgency to the more traditional curatorial task of increasing people’s scientific understanding of the gut via artworks and cultural artefacts.  

From this point of complex entanglement, our network asks three questions:  

  • How do people living with complex gut issues think creatively and adaptively in response to their symptoms, when medicine is unable to offer a linear pathway toward treatment and cure?
  • What new definitions of medical and social equity arise in this disconnect between cutting-edge gut science and lived experience?
  • How might these formulations help us complicate representations of lived experience in curatorial and artistic practices, leading to new ways of curating with the medical humanities?   

A series of workshops will invite curators, artists and medical humanities researchers from across Australia, the Asia-Pacific, and Europe to consider digestive dysregulation as a provocation into new curatorial methods, with knowledge outcomes published in a summative working paper. Workshops will be bookended by two iterations of an exhibition at the Lethaby Gallery (Window Galleries), University of the Arts, London. Stomach Ache: Curating with Guts in the Medical Humanities consolidates an ongoing collaboration between network leads Dr Rachel Marsden at University of the Arts, London and Dr Vanessa Bartlett at University of Melbourne, and a wider network of artists, curators and medical humanities researchers. You can find the network leads on Twitter @rachmarsden and @vanessabartlett, and on IG @rachel_marsden and @vanessabartlett.”

UK Disability History and Heritage Hub

: Three multi-coloured speech/thought bubbles of varying shapes (from left to right: red rectangle, blue circle, and gold cloud) centred around a green oblong shape with the black text ‘UK Disability History and Heritage Hub’, in the centre. This is the logo of the UK Disability History and Heritage Hub. The colour scheme in the logo reflects the disability pride flag.

“The UK Disability History and Heritage Hub (UKDHHH) is a network focused on the histories of disabled, neurodivergent and Deaf people, spanning from the ancient world to the modern age. Created by a team of PhD students following a PGR-organised conference in March 2022, the network aims to widen the conversation about all types of disability history within and beyond the academy.

The current network is an international group of historians, early-career and professional researchers, heritage sector professionals, activists, and members of the public. The UKDHHH runs virtual monthly reading group sessions, and we have upcoming plans for many new types of events. We aim to use our platform and events to facilitate conversations about disability history, platform disabled, neurodivergent, and Deaf perspectives, and provide opportunities for individuals to connect. We are excited to receive funding from the NNMHR New Networks scheme to bridge these conversations into the wider field of medical humanities, to facilitate new intersections between these areas of study, and promote socially and politically conscious discussions about disability in the medical humanities. We look forward to continuing our work and expanding our group!  

To join our mailing list and reading group, you can sign up online at our website. We also are on Twitter at @UKDisHistHub.”

Warblers: Network of Reproductive Pain Studies from Southern India

“Warblers is an interdisciplinary research network of ECRs and academics working in the area of health humanities with a special focus on the issues of reproductive rights and birth trauma. The network – through critical academic discussions, collaborative and interdisciplinary research, and open forum discussion – will bring forth voices of the birthing person in order to understand the socio-cultural sentiments governing the notion of birth in the context of India. 

The network would like to delve deep into one of the key components of childbirth, i.e., the phenomenology of birth pain. Articulation of birth pain has always been considered taboo in the context of India. The imposed or learned silence has led to a series of mental health issues. Thus, the network through open forum discussion would like to revise the socio-cultural and gendered norms that shape the cultural memory of birth pain.  

In India, the failure to implement reproductive rights is rooted in the social structure in which we are embedded. India follows a collectivist and community-based social structure where we are cognitively tuned to be interdependent. The individual notion of autonomy and empowerment that shapes reproductive rights policy fails to make a significant change in the life of the birthing person. 

Hence, drawing on critical perspectives from social cognition, cultural memory, social neuroscience, gender studies, and law, the network aims to propose alternative ways to understand interdependent notions of autonomy and agency that will gear towards the emotional empowerment of the birthing person. 

Nursing home culture, although well embraced by Indian society, has also given birth to self-stigmatization for women who have experienced medical interventions such as c-sections, and assisted reproductive technologies. Many women conceive medical intervention during childbirth as a disabling component of their childbirth experience, resulting in a damaging impact on the mother-child relationship and holistic well-being. 

The Warblers network, through active engagement with academic and non-academic sectors, would like to reconsider birth as a fluid, complex, and diverse experience thereby aiming to break the myth of natural birth as idealized in Indian society.”

Posted on 14 Aug 2023, under News.

The 2023 round of the New Networks in Critical Medical Humanities Scheme is now open!


In 2022, The Northern Network for Medical Humanities Research (NNMHR) launched the first round of the New Networks in Critical Medical Humanities Funding Scheme. Four networks were awarded funds of up to £2500 each to support events, activities and the development of resources. 

The networks selected for funding in the 2022 round were:

The NNMHR has a strong national and international reputation as an interdisciplinary hub for researchers, practitioners and artists working in the critical medical humanities. Through a dynamic programme of events for early career researchers, and congresses held at Durham, Leeds, Sheffield and online in 2021, the NNMHR has been successful in engaging over two thousand researchers at all career stages and from all the disciplines contributing to the field. Collaboration and moving across disciplinary boundaries is increasingly important to generating new frameworks, scholarship and practices within critical medical humanities research. 

Shifting the focus from small research projects and individual fellowships, the New Networks in Critical Medical Humanities Funding Scheme enables the NNMHR to identify and support emerging networks of researchers committed to the innovative development, complication and expansion of the field. These networks will involve early career researchers in leading or coordinating roles, and will help catalyse new ideas, methodologies, collaborations and areas of further investigation within the critical medical humanities, nationally and internationally. We welcome proposals for new networks as well as applications from established networks seeking to support new activities or initiatives.

The New Networks in Critical Medical Humanities Funding Scheme is made possible by a Discretionary Award from Wellcome Trust [UNS128916].

Prospective applicants for the 2023 round may be interested in the online event “What Makes a Good Research Network?” on 26th April 2023, 14.00 to 15.30.

Details of the 2023 round

For the 2023 round, the NNMHR invites applications for grants of up to £2500 to support networking activities for up to two years (2023-2025). All awarded funds must be claimed and spent by the end of August 2025. 

Costed networking activity may include, but is not limited to:

  • collaboration events and activities of core network members (including travel)
  • collaboration and scoping events with relevant stakeholders 
  • scholarly outreach and public engagement initiatives 
  • core resources for collaborative research activity (including technological resources)
  • costs associated with plenary speakers or keynote events
  • costs associated with any publications emerging from the network in the duration of the award
  • Staffing costs in the form of stipends or hourly payments for unwaged or precarious workers including but not necessarily limited to artists, activists, representatives from charities or similar organisations. If the ECR network leader named on the grant is not currently in full-time paid employment, funds may be requested to support their salary costs (on an hourly paid or fractional basis) for time spent coordinating network activities. Hourly paid staffing costs must be administered by the host institution in line with their own policies around casual employment. If the ECR network leader named on the grant is not currently in full-time paid employment, funds may be requested to support their salary costs (on an hourly paid or fractional basis) for time spent coordinating network activities. Salary costs must be administered by the host institution in line with their own policies around casual employment.

Costs that are not eligible for funding include:

  • teaching buy-outs, fellowships, or personal payments for individual or group research time
  • technology and computing resources for individual use 

Prospective applicants will be able to attend an online workshop to explore what makes a successful research network, to reflect upon the benefits and limitations of online working, to address barriers to access, and to share best practice. 

The NNMHR will support successful applicants by offering them mentoring, helping them to establish the public profile of their network, and inviting them to showcase the activities of their network at the annual NNMHR congresses and through regular contributions to The Polyphony. The NNMHR will provide regular informal opportunities for the individuals running critical medical humanities networks to share their experiences and ideas, reflect on what is working and what is not, and identify areas of synergy and potential collaboration. 

The NNMHR will agree with successful applicants an approach to evaluation prior to the commencement of funded activity. As they will engage and develop different constituencies and intellectual agendas, networks require space to experiment, as well as flexibility in the definition of what counts as ‘success’.

Administration of the Award

At least one applicant within the proposed network must be affiliated to an institution willing to administer the grant. Contact details for this applicant (if someone other than the lead author) and their institution, as well as a brief letter of support from their institution confirming that they are willing to administer the award as detailed below, must be provided.

The administering institution must be able to bear the cost associated with the grant in the first instance; requests for reimbursement of costs will be made to Durham University (representing the NNMHR) on a quarterly basis, with evidence of spend in arrears. Any unspent funds will remain with the NNMHR. Please note that the NNMHR are not in a position to dispense this grant as a lump sum upfront. 


Applicants can come from any discipline or sector engaged in critical medical humanities research, working anywhere in the world. Applications will only be considered from groups of two or more individuals working collaboratively. In order to ensure that the network supports the career development of its coordinators, at least one applicant in this group must regard themselves as being early career (broadly defined as not having yet taken up a permanent post). 

While a focus on critical medical humanities research is essential, the scheme recognises that research takes place in spaces beyond the academy and can be carried out within a wide range of professional, artistic and community contexts. Applications from researchers from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities and from people who identify as disabled or who have lived experience of illness will be strongly encouraged. 

Assessment Criteria

Applicants will be free to determine the nature and scope of network activity within the Wellcome Trust’s overall guidelines, and can use funds to cover the costs of network coordination. It will not be a requirement that networks generate discrete research outputs or applications for further funding; however, applicants must be able to identify some broader goals for the network beyond simply exchanging ideas, and to show how participation will benefit those involved in the network’s coordination and activity. 

Applications will be assessed against the extent to which they:

  • further a critical medical humanities approach to health-related research
  • have the potential to impact positively on the people engaged, whatever their background, role, profession, status or career level
  • involve early career researchers in coordinating or leading roles
  • take intellectual risks or propose experimental ways of working
  • are committed to inclusivity and have identified strategies to achieve this
  • embrace interdisciplinarity as part of their approach to their chosen theme/s
  • address the sustainability of the proposed collaboration and/or the topic at hand beyond the life of the grant (this could take a number of forms including ECR career development, or how the network might exist or evolve in the future)

Applications will be assessed by a panel made up of members of the NNMHR Steering group.

Please note:

  • While we will take into account matters like representation and diversity among the people and topics involved, the actual size of your network is not included in the assessment criteria. This is intentional. We want to see the best and most innovative ideas that the critical medical humanities have to offer. These might involve any number of people from any location/s in the world. Key questions addressed by these networks can impact local through to global settings and contexts, the most important thing is bringing the right people together to do that. Interdisciplinarity matters, but how you achieve this is up to you.
  • Networks can work to broad or narrow themes: what matters is the furthering of knowledge and practice around approaches to thinking about health.
  • The aims of individual networks might include the production of scholarly outputs but this is not essential. We are interested in bringing together new communities of thought and practice and how you seek to address issues within the field of critical medical humanities is up to you. We are happy to consider all types of activity that might positively impact the field.

Application Process

Applicants should send their completed application form and institutional letter of support by 5pm (UK time) on Friday 12th May 2023 to Dr James Rákóczi at 

The institutional letter of support is to confirm that the institution is willing and able to bear the cost associated with the grant in the first instance; requests for reimbursement of costs will be made to Durham University (representing the NNMHR) on a quarterly basis, with evidence of spend in arrears.

The NNHMR Steering Group will review the applications and aim to notify all applicants of the outcome by the end of June 2023. 

As described in Wellcome Trust’s Grant Conditions it is important to note that:

  • NNMHR requires that all funded networks comply with the legal, ethical and risk-based processes of the institution administrating the grant. NNMHR also reserves the right to refuse any expenditure or event that does not meet adequate health and safety or ethical compliance standards
  • Grant holders must inform NNMHR if planned activities and/or expenditure needs to change significantly within the duration of the award
  • Any unspent funding will remain with the NNMHR at the end of the grant period.


Frequently asked questions:

How much are the awards?

Each award is for up to £2500.

How many awards will be made? 

We are likely to make four or five awards in this round. 

Our network was awarded funding in the 2022 round. Can we apply again for more funding to develop our network further? 

No, we have decided to prioritise funding a wider selection of networks rather than give additional funds to networks that have already received support from the NNMHR.

We applied for an award in the last round, but were unsuccessful. Can we apply again? 


How will the award be made? 

At least one applicant within the proposed network must be affiliated to an institution willing to administer the grant. Contact details for this applicant (if someone other than the lead author) and their institution, as well as a brief letter of support from their institution confirming that they are willing to administer the award as detailed below, must be provided.

The administering institution must be able to bear the cost associated with the grant in the first instance; requests for reimbursement of costs will be made to Durham University (representing the NNMHR) on a quarterly basis, with evidence of spend in arrears. Any unspent funds will remain with the NNMHR. Please note that the NNMHR are not in a position to dispense this grant as a lump sum upfront. 

I’m not quite ready to apply for this funding yet. Will there be another opportunity to apply for new network funding in the future?

We are unlikely to be able to offer further rounds of funding after 2023. 

Further Information: For informal enquiries or advice about your eligibility for the scheme, please contact Dr James Rákóczi at .

Posted on 03 Mar 2023, under News.

What Makes a Good Research Network? NNMHR New Networks Grant, 26th April

Online Event hosted by the Northern Network for Medical Humanities Research (NNMHR)

Weds 26 April, 14:00pm (GMT)

Register here.

To coincide with the 2023/24 round of our NNMHR New Networks scheme, we invite you to this online discussion and advice event about the ins and outs of running a medical humanities research network. The event will offer advice on the application process and reflections for those applying for this grant, and will also be of general interest to all scholars and practitioners engaged in critical medical humanities research anywhere in the world.

We will be joined by three sets of speakers:

Camille Bellet (Manchester University)

Camille will discuss the recent launch of the Nonhuman Animals in the Medical Humanities Network ( Based at University of Manchester’s Centre for the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine and funded by NNMHR, the NAMHN brings together scholars from diverse disciplines, artists, writers, practitioners, and activists to rethink and revive the role of non-human animals within the medical humanities. She will outline the network’s planned use of an ‘exchange platform’ to support dialogue between scholars, artists, writers, practitioners and activists interested in post-humanist and multispecies approaches as well as how the project’s partners are coordinating their network’s objectives and rationales with its day-to-day practices.

Arya Thampuran (Durham University)

Arya will discuss her roles across a set of research network activities in the medical humanities: her leadership of the Black Health and Humanities network ( as it moves from one institution to another, the imminent launch of the Neurodivergent Humanities network, and the research seminars conducted through the Cultures of Madness project. She will focus particularly on how to build a sense of community beyond old models of ‘academic networking’, thinking through how networks can reframe the “research output” in ways that speak instead to collective interests, values, and learning needs from researchers who sit at the intersection of arts, academia, and activism/across different disciplines and fields. She will connect these discussions to the practicalities of care: how to maintain connections across hybrid work-spaces, how to develop non-extractive and collaborative methodologies in the medical humanities, how to engage with material that intersects with researchers’ lived experiences, and how to develop mentorship models for researchers.

Jemma Walton and Kate Errington (Birkbeck)

Jemma and Kate will discuss their ongoing project Broadly Conceived (, a growing research network project that began life as a reading group and continues to expand in exciting new directions and opportunities. They will outline how they set out to create a supportive, interdisciplinary space for postgraduate and early career researchers interested in reproductive health knowledge and activism. Their discussion will focus on the importance of social media and creating online presence, as well as how the Broadly Conceived project focuses on collaboration and networking to build insight and connections with academics, as well as activists and other kinds of practitioners.

The event will be chaired by James Rákóczi (Durham/Northumbria), project lead of the Ends of Knowledge network (, on behalf of the Northern Network for Medical Humanities Research.

The deadline for the second round of the NNMHR New Networks in Critical Medical Humanities Funding Scheme is Friday 12th May, by 17:00 (GMT). Apply now!

Posted on 02 Mar 2023, under News.

Medical Humanities and the Ethics of Editing: Event on 12th January 2023

Announcement of the first Northern Network for Medical Humanities Research (NNMHR) event of 2023!

Online only.

‘Medical Humanities and the Ethics of Editing’

Medical Humanities and the Ethics of Editing image

Thursday 12th January 2023, 5pm GMT.

Click here to sign up.

Editing is one of the great skills of academic careers. It is integral to how we engage with our own written work, and also in how we build communities of knowledge exchange and collaboration – through peer review, anthologies, outreach projects, editorial board membership, Wiki-thons, offering to look at a colleague’s grant application, etc. It is this central pillar of the academy, and yet at the same time it is seldom discussed and frequently underestimated as a metric of academic success. The practices, rules, and values of editing therefore are things we frequently develop only in private. Everyone must do it, but no one tells us how to – and consequently it is not often addressed how editing speaks to difficult ethical questions of power dynamics, representation, what gets “cut”, and what gets ordered.

This NNMH: Research Practice | Practice Research is an online only event that will foreground the practice and ethics of editing as a key skill of the medical and health humanities. In a workshop panel, four leading medical humanities researchers and practitioners will highlight the applied skills and challenges they face as editors. We will be joined by Arden Hegele (Columbia), co-founder of Synapsis journal, Chase Ledin (Edinburgh), Editor-in-Chief of The Polyphony, Adam Harangozó (NIHR), Wikipedian in Residence at NIHR, and Catherine Belling (Northwestern), former Editor-in-Chief of Literature and Medicine. This will then be followed by an open roundtable with our speakers, chaired by James Rákóczi (Durham and Northumbria).

Our aim is to consider together the relationship between editing, health-related knowledge, and academic careers – particularly as they relate to central issues of the medical humanities: the representation of lived experiences of illnesses; the relation of the field to chronic illness and critical disability studies as well as to mad and neurodivergent studies; the use of patient expression and testimony; the gaps between science and humanities cultures; the intersections of care and medical practice; and the global exchange and transfer of medical information. In addition, the event will act as a practical guide and inspiration for those wishing to consider how to develop and take their editing into new directions and projects.

Arden Hegele, ‘Editing and Building Communities in Health Humanities.’

Arden Hegele is Lecturer in English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, where she also teaches in Medical Humanities. She is founding editor, with physician Rishi Goyal, of the health humanities journal Synapsis. Her recent publications include Romantic Autopsy: Literary Form and Medical Reading (Oxford University Press, 2022) and the edited volume Culture and Medicine: Critical Readings in the Health and Medical Humanities (Bloomsbury, 2022). One of the stated missions of Synapsis is to develop conversation amongst those ‘thinking about medical and humanistic ways of knowing’. Arden will discuss the origins of Synapsis as a “Department Without Walls”, and her aim as editor to build community across biomedical science, humanistic study, and public engagement.

Adam Harangozó, ‘Making Medical Knowledge Accessible.’

Adam Harangozó is the first Wikipedia Editor in Residence at the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR). Adam has previously worked in a similar role for the Blinken Open Society Archives in Hungary and organises Wikipedia related events for vulnerable and less represented communities. He also writes articles regarding cultural and political issues, his latest publication being ‘Passenger Pigeon Manifesto’. His role at NIHR is to develop pathways for healthcare professionals and academics to make their research more visible and accessible through Wikipedia editing. Adam will discuss the opportunities and difficulties of this editorship role at NIHR and outline how researchers and patient representatives alike can become involved in open access healthcare communication projects.

Catherine Belling, ‘Challenges of Editing Peer-Reviewed Journals in Health Humanities Research.’

Catherine Belling is Associate Professor of Medical Education at the Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University. She was editor-in-chief of Literature and Medicine from 2013 to 2018 and has been Editorial Board Member of many further leading journals such as Journal for Medical Humanities and Perspectives in Biology and Medicine. Her publications include A Condition of Doubt: The Meanings of Hypochondria (Oxford University Press, 2012) and multiple editorials such as ‘Reading like an editor: a farewell note’ (Literature and Medicine, 2019). Catherine will discuss the unexpected challenges and under-acknowledged responsibilities of being editor-in-chief and participating on editorial boards.

Chase Ledin, ‘Cultural Translation and Editing as Leadership.’

Chase Ledin is an Interdisciplinary Research Fellow in the Centre for Biomedicine, Self, and Society at Edinburgh University. He is acting Editor-in-Chief of The Polyphony, a Durham University-based web platform that aims to stimulate conversations in the critical medical humanities. He has published numerous research articles about representations of chronic HIV, most recently ‘Stories of HIV activists during COVID-19 in the UK’ with Olujoke Fakoya and Jaime Garcia Iglesias (2022). Chase will discuss current and upcoming intiatives of The Polyphony, such as the Polyphony Meets China project between the Narrative Medicine Research Centre (NMRC) at Southern Medical University (SMU) and Durham’s Institute for Medical Humanities. He will consider how editors relate the day-to-day decision-making of editing whilst overseeing a team of editors and cultivating broader ambitions for a journal’s future.

For further information, contact ECR Development Lead James Rákóczi at or .

Posted on 07 Dec 2022, under News.

Four new NNMHR-funded Critical Medical Humanities Networks

The Northern Network for Medical Humanities Research is delighted to announce four new awards made under our first round of the New Networks in Critical Medical Humanities Funding Scheme.

This scheme attracted a high volume of quality applications: the originality, creativity and intellectual rigour demonstrated by all network proposals point towards an exciting future for critical medical humanities research. A call for a second round of proposals will be issued in early 2023.

The four successful networks will individually launch, or (as some of the networks are expansions of pre-existing projects) re-launch, over this month. Each represents innovative and incisive new directions for the critical medical humanities. All are led by non-hierarchical teams with members at differing stages of their academic careers.

If you are interested in getting involved in any of these networks, then do get in touch. You can do this by messaging NNMHR Network Coordinator Dr James Rákóczi who will happily forward you to the correct network. Or, of course, you can message the individual leads on each network project. Over to you NNMHR networks!

Broadly Conceived

  • Kate Errington
  • Jemma Walton

Broadly Conceived is a critical medical humanities network of postgraduate students and early career researchers interested in any aspect of reproduction. Established by PhD students Kate Errington (Birkbeck & London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) and Jemma Walton (Birkbeck) in October 2021, the network has a blog, Twitter account, and holds monthly online ‘book club’ meetings. Kate and Jemma have already organised a number of other initiatives under the Broadly Conceived banner, including interviewing author Laura Dockrill about her experiences of postpartum psychosis for Birkbeck Arts Week 2022, and hosting an online tour of the Birth Rites Collection with curator Helen Knowles. Broadly Conceived aims to establish a supportive community of repro-researchers as they embark on their scholarly careers, which will enable members to thrive both within and beyond the university.

Ends of Knowledge: Critical University Studies and the Medical Humanities

  • Dr Harriet Cooper
  • Dr James Rákóczi

Ends of Knowledge is a research network that brings working knowledges from the medical humanities into dialogue with critical university studies. What does it mean to be a practitioner of the critical medical humanities in an era of geopolitical instability, entrenched inequality, and impending climate breakdown? What forms of knowledge can the critical medical humanities produce within university-systems structured by crisis managerialisms and uncaring, unending metrics of evaluation? What kinds of relationship to power and to health are assumed through the invocation of critique and what kinds of social and political agency do academics invested in the critical medical humanities have? The Ends of Knowledge network brings together a community of practitioners loosely identified (or dis-identified) with the (critical) medical humanities. It seeks to think-with, to remain alive to the possibilities of, and to retain agency within, the junctures of the present academy and world. By re-describing medical humanities practices through the material conditions that structure the contemporary academy, it will be committed to addressing challenging questions about the meaning and location of critique, intervention, knowledge-production, and much more — especially as it relates to health-related research and activism. Check out our website, see our upcoming events, join our mailing list, and follow us on Twitter at @EndsKnowledge.

Neurodivergent Humanities

  • Dr Louise Creechan
  • Dr Louise Creechan
  • Dr Ria Cheyne
  • Dr Arya Thampuran
  • Dr Leni van Goidsenhoven
  • Sarinah O’Donoghue
  • Alice Hagopian

The Neurodivergent Humanities network will be a safe and generative space that accommodates the diverse, individual needs of scholars working in the humanities, while offering a shared sense of community and support. We will explore and pilot new modes of thinking, being, and doing research in ways that better support our needs, within and beyond institutional structures and practices. The research model we develop will reject the prevailing deficit model in neurodivergence discourse; we seek to reframe best practices as teaching, learning, and research methods that can best support the diverse needs and skills within our community in an academic environment. The network will develop an online hub to share resources, where we can consolidate our experiences of what has worked (and not worked!) in the academic spaces we have encountered, and ultimately create a more hospitable space for us to undertake our research. We will also run regular roundtable workshops to bring together scholars from different fields, to brainstorm collaboratively about better access and practices in academic spaces. Our learnings will eventually feed into a ‘manifesto on the move’, a living, co-produced document of best practices for engaging with research and supporting neurodivergence – both academically and pastorally. To sustain these connections, we will also develop a mentorship model to support one another, one that is aligned with our collaborative, non-hierarchical ethos.

Nonhuman Animals in the Medical Humanities Network (NAMHN)

  • Dr Vanessa Ashall
  • Dr Camille Bellet
  • Dr Bentley Crudgington
  • Dr Eva Haifa Giraud
  • Dr Renelle McGlacken

The Nonhuman Animals in the Medical Humanities Network (NAMHN) is a transdisciplinary research network that brings knowledges and practices from the medical humanities into conversation with animal studies. What would a science of the medical humanities in which the inclusion of nonhuman animals is no longer just a matter of multispecies care and medicine for humans, but also for nonhuman animals look like? What theoretical and methodological approaches would such a science require? Our goal is to bring together scholars from diverse disciplines, artists, writers, practitioners, and activists to rethink and revive the role of nonhuman animals in the medical humanities. We will create an exchange platform in which all interested members can participate freely and easily. Blogs, podcasts, vodcasts, or many other audio-visual creations stimulating dialogue and reflection will be regularly published there to promote new ways of thinking about and listening to nonhuman animals in the Medical Humanities. We will organise four creative workshops over the next two years, around key themes not yet defined, but chosen in collaboration with network leaders and academic and non-academic partners to give participants the opportunity to think outside the box and challenge both their knowledges and practices. A closing online exhibition inspired by these exchanges will be prepared and staged on the website at the end of 2024 to open the NAMH community to new horizons. We aim to make everyone here feel welcome, valued, supported to develop new scientific visions, innovative and ground-breaking academic networks, and find collaborative writing opportunities!

Posted on 05 Sep 2022, under News.

ECR Development Opportunity: NNMHR / Wellcome Trust Discretionary Award

The NNMHR call for expressions of interest from ECRs to collaborate on the development of an exciting new project intended to support ECRs from across the Northern Network to engage creatively with the Wellcome Collection’s extensive holdings.

The chosen team will devise a programme of activities to facilitate interdisciplinary dialogue around the Collection and support innovative modes of exploration and use, with a focus on research and public engagement. This programme will form the basis of an application for a Wellcome Trust Discretionary Award, for which the NNMHR has been invited to apply. The project will be led by Fiona Johnstone (Durham/ The Polyphony), with support from the NNMHR steering group, and the administrative assistance of Durham Institute for Medical Humanities. 4-6 ECRs will collaborate with Dr Johnstone on developing and co-writing the grant application, due August 31, and on delivering the resulting programme of activities and events.

How might the Collection be activated to appeal to a range of stakeholders beyond those who usually engage in archival work? For example, how might the Collection be made useful to those who work on very contemporary material or future-facing projects? How might it animate a more visually engaged critical medical humanities, and how might it be made more accessible to artists, activists, local organisations, and other non-traditional researchers?

The opportunity to be a collaborator on this grant application, and on the programme of events it will support, is open to postdoctoral ECRs affiliated to a NNMHR institution, from any discipline, who have research and/or engagement experience in the medical humanities. Successful candidates will need to be able to commit to working collaboratively on the bid over July and early August 2019 (this is likely to include attending a working group in Durham on 15thJuly), and then supporting the project from 2019-2020, should funding be awarded. Limited funding will be available to support in-person meetings of the project team.

This is a career enrichment opportunity intended to allow postdoctoral researchers to gain valuable experience at collaborative grant writing within a well-supported environment, and to be named as co-collaborators on a Wellcome Trust Grant. If the bid is successful, the project will give you the chance to influence the way in which the Wellcome Collection thinks about its holdings, and to make your mark on research activities across the NNMHR. It will offer significant networking opportunities, and the experience of working as part of an interdisciplinary team, devising and delivering a meaningful programme of academic events on time and to budget.

Finally, the project will enhance your own engagement with the Wellcome Collection’s holdings, and provide occasion for you to consider how the Collection might enrich your own research (e.g. by providing a previously unthought of archival dimension to future or current projects, or by suggesting avenues for communicating and collaborating with non-academic audiences and stakeholders).

If the bid is successful, there will be additional opportunities for other researchers to engage with this project beyond the grant writing stage, by contributing to the workshops and other events.

The closing date for expressions of interest was midnight on Sunday 30thJune 2019.


Posted on 21 Jun 2019, under News, Projects.

CMH New Generations

Title of project:

Centre for Medical Humanities New Generations


Name and institution of principle investigators:

Professor Jane Macnaughton, Durham University


Names and institutions of co investigators/collaborators:

Northern Network Steering Group:

Dr Bethan Evans, University of Liverpool

Dr Alice Hall, University of York

Dr Gavin Miller, University of Glasgow

Professor Stuart Murray, University of Leeds

Professor Ian Sabroe, University of Sheffield

Dr Anne Whitehead, Newcastle University

Dr Angela Woods, Newcastle University

Kings College Centre for Humanities and Health

Colleagues at the Wellcome Trust

Funding sources:



Summary of research:

Durham University’s Centre for Medical Humanities, in collaboration with the Northern Network for Medical Humanities Research and the Wellcome Trust has set up the New Generations Programme to address an issue surfacing in the medical humanities. Emerging humanities researchers are increasingly engaging with interdisciplinary research but lack contexts in which to learn about and experience how it is done. Supported by a Collaborative Skills Development grant from the AHRC, this unique programme aims to deliver an exciting and innovative skills development package to a group of doctoral students and early career researchers in the medical humanities while facilitating the development of a supportive, interdisciplinary peer group. Additionally, the programme will create career development opportunities by enabling interaction between participants and staff in key centres of the medical humanities while engaging in discussions on the full range of medical humanities career options.

Project website/webpage:


Anticipated time frame of project:

August 2014 – September 2015


Anticipated audiences:

Medical humanities researchers, medical humanities academics


Tagged as: 

medical humanities, interdisciplinary research, skills development, career development, early career researchers, doctoral students


Interested in hearing from:

Medical humanities institutions and centres


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Posted on 22 Apr 2015, under Projects.