Health, Illness and Disease



The project aims to create working ‘encounter’ groups – giving the opportunity to meet and open conversations with people from different disciplines, professions, organisations, etc. These are innovative, cutting-edge inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary research forums which focus on the impact of and implications for human beings of experiences of health, illness and disease.

Launched in 2002, this inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary project aims to explore the processes by which we attempt to create meaning in health, illness and disease. The project will also examine the models we use to understand our experiences of health and illness (looking particularly at perceptions of the body), and to evaluate the diversity of ways in which we creatively struggle to make sense of such experiences and express ourselves across a range of media.

The project will seek to explore the following themes;

  • the ‘significance’ of health, illness and disease for individuals and communities
  • the concept of the ‘well’ and ‘ill’ person; the preoccupation with health
  • perceptions of ‘impairment’ and disability;
  • the notion of being ‘cured’
  • chronic illness; terminal illness; attitudes to death
  • how we perceive of and conduct ourselves through the experiences of health and illness
  • ‘models’ of the body
  • the impact of health, illness and disease on biology, economics, government, medicine, politics, social sciences
  • the nature and role of ‘metaphors’ in expressing the experiences of health, illness and disease
  • the relationship between creative work and illness and disease

This is an indicative list of themes which indicates the scope and diversity of the research project.

In building a forum whereby people can meet and encounter perspectives from differing areas and contexts, insights and contributions are sought from those working in

  • art and art therapy, creative writing, English literature, history of medicine, media studies, the performing arts (dance, music, theatre), philosophy and ethics, psychology and social psychology, social sciences, sociology and socio-biology, theology and religious studies
  • anatomy, child care nursing, clinical psychology, counselling, gerontology, health education, health services, hospital administration, immunology, medical and surgical nursing, medicine and the medical sciences, pharmaceutical sciences, public health care
  • practitioners in health care fields – doctors, GP’s, surgeons, health care workers, care givers, hospice workers

This only an indicative list – all persons with an interest in and who wish to offer an insight into the themes of the project are welcome to become involved.