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Ann Mcpherson Memorial Lecture 2013

'Illness Narratives: phenomenological and cross-cultural perspectives'

Download the poster in .pdf format

A lecture and reception to remember the late Dr Ann McPherson, former GTC Fellow and the driving force behind HEXI, described in her own words as a place "where the world of academia meets real life".

Speaker: Professor Trisha Greenhalgh, Professor of Primary Health Care and Co-Director, Global Health, Policy and Innovation Unit, Blizard Institute, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Ann McPherson was a GP, a university teacher, a writer and a passionate advocate of the patient voice. She helped establish the Health Experiences Research Group at the University of Oxford and campaigned tirelessly to raise funds for it. This lecture commemorated Ann's life and worked through an exploration of the academic basis of narrative medicine – an interdisicplinary field of study that draws on literature and drama, philosophy (particularly phenomenology), anthropology, sociology and (recently) technology studies. The last of these may appear incongruous, since technology is often placed in opposition to the subjective and deeply personal art of narrative. But this is a false dichotomy, since technologies can support communication, storytelling and living with illness. They can (potentially) augment the failing body and delay the shrinking of physical and cultural horizons that so often accompanies ageing and multi-morbidity. That they rarely do so in practice is, arguably, because they have been designed with insufficient attention to the lived body and the illness narrative.  Professor Greenhalgh drew particularly on the phenomenological work of Merleau-Ponty and Heidegger and illustrated her talk with empirical examples from new research on technology-assisted living.

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