RCPI Mindreading Conference brings together academics and University associated clinicians and writers to explain power of literature during illness

Literature will also be presented as point of therapeutic engagement in response to pandemics

(March 10th 2021) At an event hosted by the RCPI this evening titled ‘Exploring the impact of pandemics through history, clinician wellbeing and the role of humanities in medicine’ clinicians, humanities experts, experts by experience and authors from Irish and UK based universities will explore the patient experience through the prism of literature and personal narrative. The experts will purport that this informs self-care, patient-centred care and supports clinicians with regard to reflective and clinical practice while investigating interactions between literature and medicine.

Speaking in advance of the event, Dr Elizabeth Barrett, Consultant in Liaison Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Associate Professor at UCD and Lead Organiser of the Mindreading Conference said ‘We are delighted to present this unique online event which will explore how literature might play a role when we experience pain, trauma, and stress, as well as the ways in which literature might be employed as a tool to improve communication and foster understanding between medical learners, healthcare providers and service users."

Speakers the Mindreading event will include;

  • Dr Muireann O'Cinneide; Researcher and Lecturer in English, NUIG
  • Professor Jim Lucey; Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, TCD and Consultant Psychiatrist, St. Patrick's University Hospital Dublin
  • Dr Katherine Furman; Philosophy, Politics and Economics Lecturer, University of Liverpool
  • Professor Chris Fitzpatrick; Clinical Professor, UCD and Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Coombe Women’s and Infants University Hospital
  • Harriet Wheelock; Keeper of Collections, RCPI Heritage Centre


“Speakers at the event will also present arguments for weaving in humanities in teaching for clinicians to promote compassion in care and doctors' wellbeing. We can learn from literature and narrative to better frame our current world view and be more effective medical educators’ continued Dr Barrett.

The first Mindreading conference was developed by Dr Elizabeth Barrett and Dr Melissa Dickson in 2017 was hosted at the LexIcon Library in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin. In 2018, it was hosted at the University of Birmingham, and in 2019 at St Anne's College, Oxford. Although last year's event was unfortunately cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we are delighted to being you this, the fourth Mindreading event virtually in March 2021. 

The Mindreading collaboration has produced an online toolkit to support mental well-being at times of illness. It is aimed at clinicians and medical students keen to incorporate the use of literature in clinical and reflective practice Click here for more information.