This painting depicts Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), also known as Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD).

Sub themes

Bodies, Knowledge and Identities

Sub theme leaders: Prof Kate Fisher, Dr Rebecca Langlands, and Dr Jana Funke

This sub theme explores medicalised understanding of sexuality in the past and present, thinks critically about the way in which sexuality is classified in medicalised terms as normative or deviant, healthy or pathological.

They will develop more productive patient-orientated and individualised ways of authorising and communicating sexual experience.

This project aims to culminate in a number of major collaborative funding applications to the Wellcome Trust, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, European Research Council and the Engineering and Sciences Research Council.

Dr Sarah Toulalan (Centre for Medical History, University of Exeter) and Dr Lutz Sauerteig (University of Durham) have submitted an application for a joint Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award: A History of Puberty in Western Europe 1500 to present.

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Sub theme leaders: Prof Paul Dieppe, Prof Tamsin Ford, Dr Ginny Russell

Hip-hop culture was used to raise awareness of mental health issues when the Centre for Medical History hosted a two-day visit from Hip-hop Psych.

Co-founded by consultant psychiatrist Dr Akeem Sule and clinical neuroscientist Dr Becky Inksterr, Hip Hop Psych aims to raise awareness of mental health issues among young people through the creative medium of hip-hop, and to bring teaching innovation using a hip-hop framework to medical professionals.

The event was also used as a platform to help launch the student Grand Challenge theme 'No health without mental health?' led by Prof Mark Jackson and Dr Ali Haggett. The mental health themed Grand Challenges programme is designed to provide all first year students with the opportunity to work in interdisciplinary research groups to produce solutions and ideas to address some of the greatest challenges of the 21st century.

Spatial and Temporal Patterns of Health and Disease

Theme leader: Prof Jonathan Barry

Dr Natasha Lushetich is leading a pilot project titled Spaces of the Mind: Stigma, Tolerance, Acceptance which will explore how people's concept of health and disease change over time depending on how and where they are.

This relationship with time and spaces will be investigated in five different places – a prison, a mental hospital, a home for the elderly, a workplace and a university – all of which can be spaces where people are forced to be.

The pilot project focuses on Bethlehem Royal Hospital and uses observation and interviews with clinical psychiatrists, nurses, therapists and ex-patients to assess how these spaces perform and how they can be used differently to decrease pain (caused by disrespect, stigma and intolerance) and increase wellbeing.

The project includes collaboration with Prof Manuela Barreto.

Philosophy and Ethics of Life Sciences and Medicine

Theme leader: Dr Christine Hauskeller

Prof Giovanna Colombetti is leading a pilot study looking at the development of a better method for investigating emotion experience as it is lived in the present moment by healthy participants.

The project draws on the philosophical tradition of phenomenology to develop a method for the study of emotion experience that will enable a much more detailed examination of its nature. This method would lay the foundations for several other lines of investigation—from explorations of the nature of emotion experience in clinical populations (mood disorders, and illness more generally), to integration with neuroscientific, physiological and behavioural measurements.

This pilot study has the potential to develop into a number of more extensive and ambitious projects, and to significantly transform several domains of inquiry.

Art, Aesthetics and Creativity

Sub theme leaders: Dr Andy Brown and Dr Corinna Wagner

Dr Andy Brown and Dr Corinna Wagner are exploring the relationships between public health, social reform, the natural and built environment, and the arts.

The study looks at how the twenty-first century has inherited and adapted Victorian language about industrial filth, moral and aesthetic degeneration, infection and decay, and the malignancy of urban spaces and places. It is hoped a scholarly analysis of how contemporary novels, poetry and art mediate public awareness about the medical, social and cultural issues raised will shed light on how culture affects public understandings of unsettling environmental change and the complex (and at times equally unsettling) ways we deal with threats to our bodily, social and economic security.

An event on December 10 2013 will look at how medicine, science, and the arts have responded to the many issues surrounding water, waste and disease? Poet Dr Andy Brown and critic Dr Corinna Wagner (author of Pathological Bodies: Medicine and Political Culture) will raise this and other questions with special guests.