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From feeling to knowing – putting imagination and lived experience at the heart of understanding illness - 3 December 2020

Please note that this event has passed.

This virtual symposium, curated in collaboration with King’s SHAPER research programme will be held on Thursday, 3 December 2-4pm and is open to all, bringing together artists, patients, clinicians and researchers to look at new ways of researching arts and health.

The event will examine an alternative way of thinking about illness focusing on the ‘lived-experience’ of patients and how we can develop research tools that allow us to explore peoples’ ever changing experiences of the world and their illness, and how that impacts on their wellbeing.

Phenomenology is the study of lived experience i.e. it is concerned with the experience of being in the world. A phenomenological approach to illness asks how patients experience their disorder, rather than causal questions about the disorder or how to treat it, its primary focus is on the first-person (subjective) experience of those who are ill.

The arts enable us to transform and reflect on our experience of living with illness. For example, dance changes our perception of our body and performance enables us to reflect on and represent our lives on stage.

Thus, we will aim to examine:

  • why experience of illness is poorly understood
  • why giving existential meaning to patients has a therapeutic effect and allows them to regain control
  • how to capture the experience of living with chronic illness given that a patient’s experience is ever changing
  • how the arts play a role in imagining and transforming our lived experience
  • how we can develop phenomenology as a way of thinking about life after/during chronic illness and enabling people to live a fuller life through the arts
  • how we can help patients communicate their lived experience through the arts and how artists, scientists and clinicians can better understand its meaning


The symposium is chaired by Deborah Bull (Baroness Bull) – Vice President & Vice-Principal (London) and Senior Advisory Fellow for Culture


  • Professor Havi Carel (University of Bristol) – philosopher of medicine, who has developed a phenomenological approach to the study of the experience of illness
  • Lucinda Jarrett – Artistic Director Rosetta Life & Stroke Odysseys
  • Dr Isaac Sorinola – Senior Lecturer in Physiotherapy Education in the Department of Population Health Sciences, King’s College London
  • Pauline Boye – Stroke Ambassador
  • Jawad Mohammed – Stroke Ambassador

From feeling to knowing – putting imagination and lived experience at the heart of understanding illness

Virtual Symposium

Thursday, 3 December 2-4pm

To reserve a place, please email by Wednesday, 25th November

Link to the Microsoft Live Event will be sent out closer to the date.


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