The Centre for the Humanities and Health (CHH) is a UK leader in the Health Humanities, dedicated to researching the cultural meaning and lived experiences of wellbeing and illness, through humanities and creative arts scholarship and practices. CHH is interested in investigating the roles patient experiences play in cultural and medical discourses and how they are valued or disregarded as forms of evidence and expertise contributing to medical and scientific knowledge. CHH aims to
- raise academic and public awareness of the Health Humanities as a locus of research, reflection and teaching on health, wellbeing and illness
- revalorise subjectivity in healthcare practices and scholarship
- engage with healthcare services, researchers and patient organisations
- provide training at masters, PhD, and postdoctoral levels for humanities, medical, nursing and science students.
Personal and cultural meanings are fundamental to the sick and those who care for and nurse them. Yet the meaning of illness to individuals, families and society falls outside the purview of biomedicine, which means that biomedical science alone offers less than a full foundation for understanding human health and wellbeing, which it is the task of the Health Humanities to research.
King's is among the best-placed institutions to develop this field. Its Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine represents one of the largest and strongest concentrations of medical research and teaching in Europe and its Faculty of Arts & Humanities is renowned internationally for its scholarship and innovation. CHH builds on these strengths and on the growing cross disciplinary culture at King’s.
The King’s MSc in the Medical Humanities was one of the first of its kind to launch in the UK and has high visibility nationally and internationally. It served as a model for the University of North Carolina’s Master’s Program in Literature, Medicine and Culture, and a large number of the students on the King’s programme have been international students. The degree has attracted clinicians as well as humanities and science graduates, some of whom have gone on to medical schools in the UK and Canada. A large number of MSc graduates have undertaken doctoral research, published and become teachers in the field.
CHH is a member of the following International Health Humanities Networks:
We also have close links with King’s ERC-funded Ego Media Project examining the impact of new media on forms and practices of self-presentation.