Medicine and Comics merge for unusual conference

Ethics Under Cover

Ethics Under Cover is an interdisciplinary conference in July in Brighton, intended to appeal to a wide audience, including healthcare professionals, comics creators, students, academic scholars, comics enthusiasts and various stakeholder groups.

The meeting, organised by Brighton and Sussex Medical School in collaboration with Brighton and Sussex University Hospital Trust, the Wellcome Trust and Graphic Medicine will consist of a mix of peer reviewed academic papers, lectures and workshops. Guests include Paul Gravett and Nicola Streeten. There will also be an exhibition and stalls for participants’ work.

The organisers of the event are Muna Al-Jawad, Bobbie Farsides, Sue Eckstein, talented comic creator Ian Williams, Susan Squier, Michael Green, Shelley Wall, MK Czerwiec and Lydia Gregg.

Graphic Medicine is a web site created by Ian Williams, who coined the title as a handy term to denote the role that comics can play in the study and delivery of healthcare.
Ian writes papers and articles on comics and medicine, and has just started to run a medical student module at the Medical School in Manchester and also makescomics under the pseudonym Thom Ferrier. He’s currently working on a graphic novel, to be published by Myriad Editions in 2014.

“I did an MA in medical humanities (looking at the discourse of medicine using the conceptual tools of the arts and humanities),” Ian explains, “and am a member of the advisory board for the International Health Humanities Network.

“I wrote a dissertation on medical narrative in graphic novels – it’s my contention that comic/graphic fiction could be a useful resource for healthcare professionals, patients and carers. Soon after I set up the Graphic Medicine site, one of the first people to get in touch was Michael Green of Penn State University Medical School, who had started to teach a comics class to medical students around the time I was doing my MA.

“It seemed like a critical mass was starting to build, and it has gotten more exciting over the last few years, and will continue to gain momentum over the next few, as people realise that comics can articulate profound truths about the discourse of medicine, and healthcare in general.”

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