ANU Health Humanities Network

ANU Health Humanities Network
Original design by Abbie Holbrook, 2021.

The ANU Health Humanities Network (HHN) supports and explores the growing field of health and medical humanities research and practice.

The health humanities is a multidisciplinary field that explores how disciplines across the humanities understand and contribute to human health and wellbeing. Its approaches take many forms, from the history of medicine to literary explorations of illness or the role of arts in contemporary wellbeing. Our network takes a capacious, inclusive approach to the field of the health humanities, embracing diverse approaches and methods and extending beyond the boundary of the humanities to also encompass the arts and the social sciences.

Established in 2022, the HHN comprises a diverse range of researchers interested in the intersection between health, wellbeing, the humanities and/or social sciences. With members drawn from across the University – especially the College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS) and the College of Health and Medicine (CHM) – the Network fosters and supports interdisciplinary collaboration that advances our knowledge of health and medical humanities scholarship and education.

Our aims include:

  • To establish a thriving centre for cross-disciplinary collaborations in health humanities at the ANU and beyond;
  • To share knowledge across disciplines and approaches in order to develop our understanding of the health humanities;
  • To connect with organisations and individuals beyond the university through public events and partnerships with external stakeholders in order to innovate and explore the intersections between the humanities and issues of health and wellbeing;
  • To develop educational opportunities in the health and medical humanities landscape.

Current areas of interest across our members include:

  • the Visual Medical Humanities;
  • history taking in the context of GP clinical skills;
  • music, health and wellbeing;
  • the representation of the heart in literature and heart dynamics in popular culture and film;
  • intersections between medicine and ideas of gender and sexuality;
  • literature, phrenology and the neurological turn;
  • communication in health care including doctor/patient communication in clinical handover, diagnostic uncertainty and end of life communication;
  • how stress in utero and in early life stress relates to later life health and behaviour with a specific focus on how teeth can be used as a biomarker for this early life stress;
  • how historical and contemporary discourses around health and illness shape our relationships to disease, death and suffering;
  • bioethics, racial disparities in biomedical research and health promotion;
  • music production and wellbeing.

The HHN is a member of the Australasian Health & Medical Humanities Network and is affiliated with the Institute for Communication in Healthcare, Popsicule (ANU’s Science in Popular Culture and Entertainment Hub), the CHIME Project for Perinatal Mental Health, the Musical Care International Network, and the Heart of the Matter project. Internationally, we are also affiliated with Professor Anna Greenwood (Professor of Health History, Nottingham University)

Updated:  2 November 2023/Responsible Officer:  RSHA Director/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications