Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Work and Occupational Therapy (International Research Symposium, 26–27 June 2013, Oxford)

Therapy & empowermentHistorical and Contemporary Perspectives on Work and Occupational Therapy

International Research Symposium

26–27 June 2013

St Anne’s College, Oxford

Occupational Therapy is concerned with the promotion of health and well-being through activity and work. It has a long and chequered history. Its emergence as a health profession during the early twentieth century has been bound up not only with humanist and medical ideas of occupation as diversion from illness and as creative treatment and individual empowerment, but also with varied social and economic ideals about the role of work in industrial and agricultural societies, and ideologies such as eugenics.

The conference brings together scholars and practitioners working on varied aspects of work and occupation in the history of health and medicine broadly conceived. It provides a platform for critical engagement with the various medical, social and political factors implicated in the development of work and occupational therapy within specific national contexts and in relation to global developments.


Dr Monika Ankele, Germany: ‘The patient’s view on occupational therapy and its practical aspects during the Weimar Period’

Dr Teena Clouston, UK: ‘A comparative study of the working lives of occupational therapists in health and social services settings in the UK’

Dr Sally Denshire, Australia: ‘Re-inscribing Gendered, Racialised, Class Histories Into the Professionalising Project of Occupational Therapy in Australia’

Professor Waltraud Ernst, UK: ‘Work Therapy in British India, c. 1860-1947’

Leisle Ezekiel and Carol Mytton, UK: ‘Changing occupational therapy roles in working with older people over the last 30 years’

Professor John Hall, UK: ‘Psychiatric perspectives on occupation therapy in Englandin the inter-war period’

Professor Akira Hashimoto, Japan: ‘The Changing Context of Work and Activity in Mental Hospitals in Modern Japan’

Sonja Hinsch, Austria: ‘Work, Welfare and the Disputed Boundaries of Labour in Austria, c. 1880-1938’

Dr Jennifer Laws, Centre for Medical Humanities, UK: ‘A history of therapeutic work and occupation in Britain’

Catherine Lidbetter, UK: ‘The Dorset House Archive and the history of the first school of Occupational Therapy in the UK’

Kathryn McKay, Canada: ‘Patient labour at the Provincial Mental Hospitals in British Columbia, c. 1885-1920’

Dr Thomas Mueller, Germany: ‘Work therapy in comparative perspective, c. 1880-1945’

Professor Osamu Nakamura, Japan: ‘The problem of inoccupation and isolation of mentally ill patients in Japan’

Dr Leonard Smith, UK: ‘Work as Treatment in British West Indian Lunatic Asylums, 1860-1900’

Dr Valentin-Veron Toma, Romania: ‘Labour and occupation as therapeutic tools in Romanian psychiatry under communism, c. 1945-1989’

Dr Farzaneh Yazdani, UK: ‘Global, International and Local Factors in Establishing and Developing a Profession in Iran and Jordan’

Contact for booking inquiries:
Ms Emma Hallet emma.hallett.10@ucl.ac.uk or Professor Waltraud Ernst wernst@brookes.ac.uk

About Centre for Medical Humanities

Centre for Medical Humanities
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