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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Health in Social Science : Counselling Studies

Postgraduate Course: Encountering Health Humanities and Arts (CNST11086)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Health in Social Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course is delivered at the cutting edge of rapid and somewhat contested developments in the field of health / medical humanities and the arts. It aims to enable students to consider what different insights into the human condition add to understandings of health, illness and disability and to engage critically and creatively with philosophical, ethical and cultural questions raised by such understandings and the policy, research and practice implications. The course also aims to support students to participate in and help shape debates about the field's future directions and applications as they continue to unfold.

The course incorporates critical social scientific approaches, drawing upon different understandings and traditions of 'critique'. Grounded in feminist theorising and its concerns with political and ethical questions related to difference and vulnerability, the course draws upon a range of contemporary and provocative perspectives including queer, critical disability, postcolonial and post-humanist theories to reveal and question liberal assumptions about what it is to be human and what this means for individual, community and global health.

The course also critically explores the healing potential of the arts and their contribution to health. Students discover whether and how the humanities and the arts offer both intellectually stimulating and creative ways of (re)conceptualising and (re)presenting health, illness and disability, and how they might enrich knowledge of individual and community experiences of health and illness while challenging structural issues in society. To this end, it uses innovative, experiential and collaborative approaches to encourage 'hands-on' learning; and acknowledges and encourages the expression of personal experiences in the co-construction of Health Humanities and Arts knowledge. Creativity and 'research as practice' are central throughout this process. As students explore theories and concepts, they enjoy opportunities to write, reflect, philosophise and critique applied Health Humanities and Arts perspectives and practices and their lived effects.
Course description Using active and participatory approaches to learning, this course considers the philosophical, social, spiritual, political and economic implications of individuals in relationship with human (and nonhuman) others and within wider systems against a backdrop of persistent local and global health inequalities and threats to sustainable development.

It consists of ten 2 hour immersive sessions which focus on the following indicative themes:

What is Health Humanities and the Arts, what are its origins and what are the key contemporary developments in the field?
What does it mean to be well and healthy? What does it mean to be human?
What are the (emergent) applications of the humanities and arts in addressing contemporary issues of individual, community and global health and illness?

Student learning is collaborative, creative and active. Students will be encouraged to be 'outward facing', thinking critically about the ways that knowledge developed in the course can be applied in a range of settings.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Students will be able to critically analyse and appraise understandings and applications of ┬┐health humanities and arts┬┐ as an evolving field of inquiry.
  2. Students will be able to reconceptualise health through critical and innovative applications of the humanities and the arts.
  3. Students will be able to contribute substantively to current debates about the nature and role of health humanities in health-related research and scholarship
  4. Students will show critical understanding of some of the practicalities, challenges and opportunities of applying health humanities and arts approaches to particular health-related issues, demonstrating appropriate reflexivity.
Reading List
Atkinson, S., Evans, B., Woods, A. and Kearns, R. (2015) 'The medical' and 'health' in a critical medical humanities, Journal of Medical Humanities 36(10): pp 71-81.

Bishop, J. Rejecting Medical Humanism: Medical Humanities and the Metaphysics of Medicine, Journal of Medical Humanities 29 (2008), pp. 15-25

Crawford, P., Brown, B., Tischler, V. and Baker, C. (2010) Health humanities: The future of medical humanities?. Mental Health Review Journal, 15(3), pp. 4-10.

Crawford, P. (2015) Health Humanities. Palgrave Macmillan UK.

Darbyshire, P. (1994), Understanding caring through arts and humanities: a medical/nursing humanities approach to promoting alternative experiences of thinking and learning. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 19: 856-863.

Foster, V. (2016). Collaborative Arts-based Research for Social Justice. London, Routledge.

Knowles, J. & Cole, A. (2008) Handbook of the Arts in Qualitative Research: Perspectives, Methodologies, Examples, and Issues. Sage.

Whitehead A and Woods A (2016) The Edinburgh Companion to the Critical Medical Humanities Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Ability to co-produce and contribute to key (re)conceptualizations and (re)presentations of Health Humanities and Arts as an emerging field and engage critically with points of contention.
Confidence in applying re-conceptualisations of Health Humanities and Arts in academic, professional and practical settings drawing from collaborative networks.
Challenging dominant paradigms in 'traditional' research and approaches to evidence and policy.
Networking with other stakeholders and sustaining a community of practice to enhance and provide or create opportunities for employment.
Ability to learn independently and to reflect on project learning.
Effective use of communication to exchange knowledge and ideas.
KeywordsHealth Humanities,medical humanities,critical medical humanities,arts,health,wellbeing,vitali
Course organiserDr Amy Chandler
Tel: (0131 6)50 3881
Course secretaryMiss Sue Larsen
Tel: (0131 6)51 6671
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