OxINMAHR Healthcare Humanities Group (OHHG)


Modern healthcare is changing rapidly. Advances in technology and pressures on the service risk becoming our daily focus and have the potential to separate us from the experiences of those we are working with and caring for.

Understanding the experiences, actions, personal and social realities of people in healthcare contexts enables us to better appreciate the meaning for the individual and, develop well-being in a more compassionate environment.

The OxINMAHR Healthcare Humanities Group (OHHG) provides a forum for clinical and education staff working in Oxfordshire and Swindon to explore together ways in which the arts and humanities can both inform and transform healthcare education and practice.

We are not humanities experts, but each month, we meet to discuss what, as clinicians and educators, we can learn from a selected piece of art, literature, music or film. Our meetings are intended to provide a forum to discuss, share or simply listen to the messages we can take from the arts and humanities in order to develop our own professional practice. It would be great if you could join us.

Who makes up the OHHG?

Members of the OHHG are clinicians, educators, students and researchers who have an interest in exploring how the arts and humanities can positively impact on their work.

When does OHHG meet?

We meet on the fourth Thursday of the month between 6pm - 8pm approximately.

Dates for the forthcoming semester are:

  • Thursday 28th Sept (our inaugural session)
  • Thursday 26th Oct
  • Thursday 30th Nov
  • Thursday 25th Jan

The venue is the OxNMAHR HQ, Level 2 Colonnades, OBU Headington Campus, Oxford (OX3 0BP).

We hope to run some lunchtime (OHHG lite) sessions starting in 2018 and occasionally meet at the Joel Joffe Building in Swindon.

What is the format of the meetings?

We seek to balance informality and productivity enabling people to contribute but also take something away from the meeting.

  • Each month will be lead by a member of the group who will send out details of the artefact we will be considering in the weeks before the meeting.
  • The first half of the meeting provides an opportunity for thought-provoking discussions as we seek to develop our insights into the image, text, narrative or performance.
  • The  second half is dedicated to finding ways to apply and use these insights in our own professional practice.
  • Any outcomes of our meetings will be added to the OHHG private website so members can access resources, insights, ideas and links as well as share details and make recommendations for future items to consider.

What will be our first material?

Robert Pope was a Canadian artist who died of Hodgkin's Disease in 1992 at the age of 36. In 1991 he published Illness and Healing: Images of Cancer. The book contains a number of paintings and sketches, accompanied by a commentary that provides a crucial insight into the life of someone living with cancer and can be found at the following link. Some of these images may be familiar and are held by the Robert Pope Foundation (www.robertpopefoundation.com) which states that ‘Through art, education and community health initiatives, we seek to promote wholeness at every stage of living.’

The images we shall consider at our inaugural meeting are:

  • Sparrow (1989)
  • Three Men (1990)
  • Progress (1991)

What about the future?

We have lots of ideas and hope you will join us in making some or all of these happen.

  • Initiate research under the OHHG banner to add to the existing activities
    • Liz Jestico’s exploration of the effects of a Nurse’s choir
    • Dan Butcher’s exploration of narratives to communicate professional knowledge
  • A return visit by Professor Philip Darbyshire who conducts workshops and is an advocate for the healthcare humanities in practice and education.
  • An annual colloquium with invited speakers.
  • A resource website where open source materials and guides produced by group members can be accessed.

If you would like more information or want to suggest a focus for later meetings, please contact Dan Butcher (dbutcher@brookes.ac.uk) or Tracy McAteer (t.mcateer@brookes.ac.uk).