On one of the hottest days this year, around 25 postgraduate students met for the PGR Medical Humanities Networking Event. Just off the West Quadrangle of the Main Building and in earshot of the chinking glasses of graduating students and their families, we heard from a wide range of projects and ideas that intersect with the medical humanities, from Latin medical recipe books to neurodiverse theatre projects and everything in between.
The event was organised by three of us – Sarah Spence, Charlotte Orr and Joe Wood – who are all PhD candidates in the School of Critical Studies. In Spring 2018, we set up the Glasgow Medical Humanities Early Career Discussion Group which meets monthly to discuss medical humanities issues and texts. We realised that we were all approaching this slightly amorphous field of study (if it can even be called a field of study at all) from a literary perspective and so wanted to widen the demographic of our group.
Building a multidisciplinary network
Those working in the medical humanities come from all kinds of disciplines and, often bring with them very different ideas of what ‘doing’ medical humanities might be. We wanted to run an afternoon’s event that enabled those postgraduate and early career scholars from across the university who are working within the medical humanities to showcase their research and create fruitful connections with other interested scholars.
Our aim was to create a Glasgow peer network that allowed PGR students who already identify as medical humanists to come together, but we were also interested in welcoming those whose work engages more broadly with issues of health and wellbeing from a humanities perspective.
Modelled on Three Minute Thesis and Pecha Kucha talks (although a lot more relaxed!), we gave everyone the opportunity to take three minutes to explain their current research interests by talking to a maximum of three slides. Non-speakers were also welcome to attend.
In the end we had around 25 attendees, including 15 speakers, from across the College of Arts working in areas including literature, theology, creative writing, geography, history, modern foreign languages and theatre studies to name just a few. We also attracted attendees from other colleges including those from social sciences and medicine who were keen to make more connections within the College of Arts.