'From the Cradle to the Grave': Reciprocity and Exchange in the Making of Medicine and the Modern Arts

14 April 2011

'From the Cradle to the Grave' is an interdisciplinary event designed to bring together postgraduate students and early career academics working throughout the humanities, including the fields of English, Modern Languages, Politics, Film Studies, Classics and Ancient History, Medical History, Drama and Theology and Religion The conference will focus on the impact of health and medicine in the 'making and unmaking' of all modern arts, from the nineteenth century onwards. Rather than simply examining finished texts, films, artworks or pieces of theatre and film, the central goal of this conference is to examine the processes by which medicine and the arts have influenced each other across time and place and explore the ways in which both fields continue to intersect.

We will be hosting an art and screen exhibition on the relationship between hospital art and health using artistic pieces from Devon and Cornwall, organised in conjunction with Arts and Health South West and Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. The conference will also incorporate a plenary discussion on the nature of 'Medical Humanities' and publishing within the field, as part of Deborah Kirklin's keynote address.

Keynote speakers

Professor Brian Hurwitz (King's College London)

Deborah Kirklin MD (University College London and Editor of Medical Humanities)

Conference themes

  • Representations of medicine in culture (eg music, visual cultures, film, literature) and the impact of culture on health and medicine
  • Ethical implications of combining medicine and the arts
  • Formulating and conceptualising the field of 'Medical Humanities'
  • Theoretical and empirical approaches to studying relationships between medicine/Medical History and the arts
  • The politics, processes and limitations of exchange between medicine and the arts
  • Practice-based applications of reciprocity, such as promoting health through the arts

Conference materials

Conference programme

Conference poster