Health and wellbeing – physical and mental, human and animal, past and present – preoccupies societies. The
expanding discipline of medical humanities seeks to improve health by understanding human experience. In
the College of arts and humanities, an interdisciplinary group explores the social, economic, scientific, political
and geopolitical, environmental and cultural framings of health and wellbeing. We consider how states,
communities, and individuals promote, regulate, and conceptualise health, medicine and wellbeing, and the
intersections with categories such as gender, sexuality, race, religion, and ethnicity.

Our group examines varieties of cultural and linguistic representations of these matters and encourages critical engagement and reflection. Scholars consider research questions on diverse chronological and geographical scales, and in various cultural settings.

Theme Members


Projects, News and Events

Dr Claas Kirchhelle has been awarded a prestigious IRC/AHRC Digital Humanities Initiative award in partnership with Dr Samantha Vanderslott at the Oxford Vaccine Group.

An ambitious digital humanities project on the turbulent history of typhoid control in revolutionary Ireland. The project builds on the multi-award-winning Typhoidland exhibition.

Catherine Cox wins UCD 2020 Research Impact Award

Congratulations to Associate Professor Catherine Cox, winner of the UCD 2020 Research Impact Case Study Competition. Her case study, entitled ‘Out of sight, out of mind: changing public perceptions of the mental health crisis in Irish prisons,’ details the significant impact of her project exploring the history of prisoner health.

MindReading and RCPI present a unique online event

The seminar on Wednesday 10 March at 5.30pm will explore how literature can help when we experience illness and how literature has reflected the unfortunate recurrence of pandemics throughout human history - ultimately examining how literature can improve communication and foster understanding between medical learners, healthcare providers and service users.

Congratulations to UCD’s Centre for the History of Medicine in Ireland and Brokentalkers who have won 'Best Production' for ''The Examination' at the Irish Times Theatre Awards.

UCD’s Centre for the History of Medicine in Ireland in association with Brokentalkers Theatre Company staged 'The Examination' in 2019.

Congratulations to Dr Claas Kirchhelle

UCD School of History is delighted to announce that Dr Claas Kirchhelle has been awarded a prestigious Wellcome Trust University Award in Humanities and Social Sciences.

Living Inside Exhibition opens at Kilmainham Gaol

LIVING INSIDE exhibition runs in Kilmainham Gaol from 9 February to 19 May 2019.
A story of pain and protest, change and continuity. The exhibition explores the different perspectives of six people whose lives were entangled in the history of prison reform in Ireland.

UCD Centre for the History of Medicine In Ireland Seminar Series 2019-2020

Hosted by Assoc Prof. Catherine Cox and UCD Centre for the History of Medicine, School of History this vibrant seminar series features leading medical humanities academics from across the world.

MindReading - Mental Health and the Written word

The MindReading team consists of Dr Elizabeth Barrett, School of Medicine, UCD, Dr Melissa Dickson, University of Birmingham and Dr Clare Hayes-Brady, School of English Drama and Film, UCD, with Harriet Wheelock, Keeper of Collections, Royal College of Physicians Ireland.

Cultures of Intoxication: Contextualising Alcohol & Drug Use, Past & Present

This two-day conference was organised by Dr Alice Mauger, a UCD Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow at the UCD Centre for the History of Medicine in Ireland. Sponsored by the Wellcome Trust.

Worrying about the Field of the History of Emotions in Ireland

This seminar series and conference, funded by the Irish Research Council offers an accessible path through scholarly approaches, debates, and past and current trends in the history of emotions. (Convenor: Dr Sara Honarmand Ebrahimi)

Framing Ageing: A Clinical, Cultural and Social Dialogue

Framing Ageing: A Clinical, Cultural and Social Dialogue, funded by the Wellcome Trust, explores methodological cross-pollination through two collaborative UCD/TCD-led workshops. (PI and Convener: Professor Anne Fuchs).

In Extremis: The Limits of Life, Death and Consciousness in the Long Nineteenth Century

This two-day interdisciplinary conference seeks to explore the ways in which the fundamental understanding of embodied human life and consciousness was challenged by developments in science and medicine in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. (Convenor: Dr Lucy Cogan).

Prisoners, Medical Care and Entitlement to Health in England and Ireland, 1850-2000.

A Wellcome Trust Investigator Award (PI Associate Professor Catherine Cox), this research project examines the prison as a site of medical intervention and healthcare in England and Ireland, 1850-2001.

Enslaved Viruses: Bacteriophages, Infectious Disease and International Health, 1920–2006

Enslaved Viruses, funded by a Wellcome Trust University Award (Dr Claas Kirchhelle) studies the global history of infectious disease control and surveillance.

Contagion, Biopolitics and Cultural Memory

This Irish Research Council funded project (PI Professor Geraldine Meaney) seeks to illuminate culturally and historically specific understandings of disease that appear within a collection of 49,000 literary works that have been digitised by the British Library, published between the 1500s and the early 20th century.

Metaphoric Stammers and Embodied Speakers

Connecting Clinical, Cultural and Creative Practice in the area of Dysfluent Speech, this Wellcome Trust funded project (PI: Dr Maria Stuart) represents the first humanities-led network in the area of dysfluency, one in dynamic conversation with clinical/scientific voices.

Child Sexual Abuse in Contemporary Culture

This interdisciplinary Wellcome Trust-funded project (PI: Dr Ailise Bulfin) explores how child sexual abuse is represented in contemporary culture in works like novels, films and TV series, and seeks to understand how these representations affect both survivors and general audiences.

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