Celebrating success in our Centre for Medical Humanities

As our academic year comes to an end, I hope blog readers will indulge the CMH Directors in advertising some wonderful successes for members of our team.

This has been a year in which we have seen the start of the Hearing the Voice project, supported by a £1m Wellcome Trust strategic award.  CMH is co-located with HtV and shares a number of staff, not least Dr Angela Woods as co-Director of HtV.  This is such an important project for our field as it extends interdisciplinary collaboration between scientists and humanities scholars into the investigation of a phenomenon that has a significance in the lives of many people and of patients with a psychiatric diagnosis.

We have led on the development of a Northern Network for Medical Humanities Research which formed in Durham in February with colleagues from eleven Universities geographically spread from Liverpool to Aberdeen.  We look forward to the next meeting in September hosted by colleagues in Leeds, and to using that network to develop the field and specifically to support the careers of early career researchers.

Most of all, we’d like to congratulate four individuals on recent fantastic successes:

Dr Will Viney, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in CMH, who is a co-editor of this blog, has been awarded an Early Career Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust for his project, ‘The Wonder of Twins’.  This is fantastic for Will, but also for us, as his presence in the Centre has not only enhanced the level of scholarly discussion, but his eclectic interests have extended the reach of our interdisciplinary engagements.

Dr Jennifer Laws, Postdoctoral Research Associate, has just heard she is to be the recipient of an ESRC Future Leader’s Award to work on her project, ‘The Active Patient: energy, desire and active recoveries’.  Again, Jenny’s continued presence in the CMH represents a significant step forward in our capacity to demonstrate interdisciplinary activity.  Jenny’s academic background combines geography, sociology, psychology and history, and all these interests will be brought to bear in this fascinating and timely research.

Ben Kasstan, whom we supported in his MSc in Medical Anthropology this year, has been awarded a prestigious doctoral studentship by the Wellcome Trust.  Ben will be working with the community of ultra-orthodox Jews in Gateshead investigating sources of health information and the role of migration in determining how the community responds to that information.  We are very excited by the prospect of having Ben associated with the Centre and also by the fact that this success links us more closely with Affiliates in the Department of Anthropology, who will be his primary supervisors.

And last but by no means least, we are celebrating the appointment of our colleague, Professor Sarah Atkinson, as Co-Director of the Wolfson Research Institute for the strand, ‘Belief, Understanding, Wellbeing’.   Fortunately, this role does not mean we lose her to CMH. On the contrary this new role and Sarah’s leadership enables CMH to take a key role in the development of this new strand within the Wolfson Research Institute.

These are all fantastic achievements and reflect the excellence of our colleagues as individuals, but they also represent considerable activity by all of us in the CMH team who played a part in supporting, mentoring and sponsoring our early career researchers.  More generally, these successes also signify how far the scholarly reputation of medical humanities has come both within our University and externally in the wider community of grant giving.

Jane Macnaughton, Martyn Evans, Sarah Atkinson, Corinne Saunders, Directors and Associate Directors of CMH

About Centre for Medical Humanities

Centre for Medical Humanities
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2 Responses to Celebrating success in our Centre for Medical Humanities

  1. Ann Hutchinson says:


    I am postgrad at the Hull York medical school (HYMS) and I would be very interested in joining the Northern network for medical humanities research. Please can you let me have any information you have on how I could get in touch with the people involved?

    Best wishes


  2. Centre for Medical Humanities says:

    Hi Ann, Many thanks for your interest in the North Network. It’s only just been set up and I am not sure exactly of the arrangements for membership. I suggest that you contact the Network leads Jane Macnaughton (Durham) and Stuart Murray (Leeds) who will be able to advise. All best!

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