In recent decades, both medical humanities and medical history have emerged as rich and varied sub-disciplines. Medicine, Health and the Arts is a collection of specially commissioned essays designed to bring together different approaches to these complex fields. Written by a selection of established and emerging scholars, this volume embraces a breadth and range of methodological approaches to highlight not only developments in well-established areas of debate, but also newly emerging areas of investigation, new methodological approaches to the medical humanities and the value of the humanities in medical education.

Divided into five sections, this text begins by offering an overview and analysis of the British and North American context. It then addresses in-depth the historical and contemporary relationship between visual art, literature and writing, performance and music. There are three chapters on each art form, which consider how history can illuminate current challenges and potential future directions. Each section contains an introductory overview, addressing broad themes and methodological concerns; a case study of the impact of medicine, health and well-being on an art form; and a case study of the impact of that art form on medicine, health and wellbeing. The underlining theme of the book is that the relationship between medicine, health and the arts can only be understood by examining the reciprocal relationship and processes of exchange between them.

This volume promises to be a welcome and refreshing addition to the developing field of medical humanities. Both informative and thought provoking, it will be important reading for students, academics and practitioners in the medical humanities and arts in health, as well as health professionals, and all scholars and practitioners interested in the questions and debates surrounding medicine, health and the arts.

part |13 pages


chapter 1|11 pages

Critical conversations

Establishing dialogue in the medical humanities
ByVictoria Bates, Sam Goodman

part One|24 pages

The medical humanities

chapter 2|10 pages

Towards a 'critical medical humanities'

ByAlan Bleakley

chapter 3|12 pages

'Oh, the humanit(ies)!'

Dissent, democracy, and danger 1
ByTherese Jones

part Two|65 pages

Visual arts

chapter 4|23 pages

Medicine and the visual arts

ByLudmilla Jordanova

chapter 5|21 pages

Graphic medicine

The portrayal of illness in underground and autobiographical comics Case study
ByIan C. M. Williams

chapter 6|19 pages

Art in medical education

Practice and dialogue Case study
ByLouise Younie

part Three|58 pages

Literature and writing

chapter 7|21 pages

The medical humanities

A literary perspective Overview
ByAnne Whitehead

chapter 8|17 pages

Reinterpreting the wound of Philoctetes

Literature and medicine Case study
ByPatricia Novillo-Corvalán

chapter 9|18 pages

The heart of the matter

Creating meaning in health and medicine through writing Case study
ByFiona Hamilton

part Four|61 pages


chapter 10|21 pages

Performance anxiety

The relationship between social and aesthetic drama in medicine and health Overview
ByEmma Brodzinski

chapter 11|20 pages

Theatre, performance and 'the century of the brain'

Influences of cognitive neuroscience on professional theatre practice Case study
ByJessica M. Beck

chapter 12|18 pages

Medical humanities, drama, therapy, schools and evidence

Discourses and practices Case study
ByPhil Jones

part Five|56 pages


chapter 13|19 pages

Music, therapy and technology

An opinion piece Overview
ByPaul Robertson

chapter 14|18 pages

The impact of cochlear implants on musical experience

Case study
ByZack Moir, Katie Overy

chapter 15|17 pages

The development of clinical music therapy in adult mental health practice

Music, health and therapy Case study
ByHelen Odell-Miller