Leeds Centre for Medical Humanities

An interdisciplinary collaboration between the Faculties of Arts and Medicine & Health at the University of Leeds


The Leeds Centre for Medical Humanities brings together researchers working in the areas of health and the arts across a number of disciplines. Collaboration between the Faculties of Arts and Medicine & Health has been ongoing in the University and the Centre involves scholars working in English, Film Studies, History, Philosophy, as well as Primary and Public Health. The Centre facilitates and promotes leading interdisciplinary research and aims to ensure that Leeds becomes recognised as a world-leading institution in the rapidly developing subject area of Medical Humanities. As such, the Centre acts as a point of focus both for academic research and knowledge transfer/impact activities. It is also involved in the development of teaching at Leeds, most notable the establishment of a new intercalated BSc in Medical Humanities within the MBChB degree.

In its various activities, the Centre seeks to establish how the logic and language of a critical arts methodology, specifically its historical, literary and cultural approaches, can be applied to research in medicine and in decision-making about healthcare provision; and to explore the degree to which research practices developed in health research, including standardised qualitative methods used in the analysis of interviews and texts, can illuminate work undertaken in medical humanities. Full collaboration between those working in Arts and Medicine/Health, both academics and clinical professionals, is at the core of the Centre’s, which also interact with the substantial range of health institutions and services in Leeds and beyond. The critical methods at the heart of an arts-based medical humanities approach have important roles to play in extending the knowledge of all those involved in healthcare and lead towards a greater appreciation of the nature and meaning of clinical practice. The Centre’s work stresses the central relevance of this approach in understanding how medicine is apprehended by its users. More specifically the attention to narrative, issues of representation, historical development, questions of critique, and to other cultural contexts, enables a greater awareness of the role of medicine in everyday situations, leading to new and innovative perspectives on the ways in which offer provision for human health.

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