I will be presenting a paper next week at Glasgow University Medical Humanities Research Centre at the Attentive Writers: Healthcare, Authorship and Authority Conference.
I am sure some of you will be attending the conference and I would be very happy to make contact.
My paper is entitled, The Argument of Images: Narrative Diversity in Cancer Care and it is based on the ongoing Drawing Women’s Cancer project. The following is a short extract:
In order to address the idea of ‘attentiveness’ in terms of process-oriented creative practice this paper will discuss an interdisciplinary research project that is fundamentally premised in the conceptual and methodological ethos of narrative medicine, and in an exploration of the ‘argument of images’, as promulgated by James W. Fernandez, it could be understood to offer a challenge to the specific idea of ‘attentive writing’. If such a challenge does indeed exist however, it is not based in any denial of narrative itself as the powerful ‘magnet and a bridge, attracting and uniting diverse fields of learning’ that Charon describes; it is based rather in the promotion of the inclusive nature of narrative itself, wherein writing and imagery are understood as equal in terms of their capacity for generating dialogue between the humanities and bio-medical science.
For Linguist Einar Haugen, ‘many ideas do come in extra-linguistic form, as images’, however, he also acknowledges that because images representing experience are in themselves extra-linguistic, this is not to discount language per se. This paper proposes then that visual representation of the experience of illness, in drawings generated through an artist’s interpretation of personal narratives, which are themselves representations, is a multi-layered process that can be defined as a methodological ‘visual extension’ of narrative medicine. Visual representation here becomes a form of ‘attentive’ creativity, manifest in an interlanguage that can ‘speak the unspeakable’.
Three images I will be discussing in my paper: