March 28, 2023
CRITICAL: NNMHR Congress 2023

Registration is now open for the 2023 Congress of the Northern Network for Medical Humanities (NNMHR), a three-day online conference which promises to be an essential calendar event for medical humanities research.

Our theme is CRITICAL, and this is the fifth Congress of the NNMHR, jointly hosted by NNMHR and the Institute for Medical Humanities at Durham University. The previous Congress, held online in 2021, was attended by over 1,300 delegates, from Europe, the Americas, South Africa, the Middle East, and Australasia.

Why CRITICAL? The conference marks a decade since conversations at a symposium held in 2013 first began to articulate a ‘critical turn’ for medical humanities, a turn which continues to redefine the field to this day. Reframing the critical as ‘entangled’ rather than oppositional, and emphasising the benefits of cross-disciplinary collaboration, methodological experimentation, creative risk-taking, and reflective practice, ‘critical’ medical humanities was proposed as a way of moving beyond a servile or antagonistic relation to medicine and practices of healthcare (Viney et al 2015).

NNMHR Congress 2023 invites researchers and practitioners from across the globe to gather once more under the sign of the CRITICAL in order to assess the role of health research today and consider the futures of humanities/social science research in relation to healthcare and medicine. Together, we want to explore the extent to which the early promises of critical medical humanities were adequate, whether they have or have not been fulfilled, where the field is at now, and where it might be going.

Responses to our call for submissions earlier this year were stunning in their range, quality, and exhibition of new trends in the medical humanities. The papers and workshops of NNMHR Congress 2023 comprise an incisive yet methodologically diverse range of interventions, with over 40 panels and 150 speakers articulating a critical medical humanities which has moved into ever more politically ambitious spaces in ways that demonstrate clear lines of flight from the mid 2010s and before.