Medical Humanities PhD at University of Leeds

The School of English and the Faculty of Medicine and Health at University of Leeds have come together to offer a funded PhD studentship in Medical Humanities.

Research for the PhD will focus on one of two areas, either

a)      the representation of everyday Medicine and/or Health in 20th or 21st century cultural narratives, especially those in literature and/or film;

or

b)      A study of the role of literature (or literature and film) in an aspect of therapy.

Possible topics within these areas include mental health; clinical care and the relationship between doctor and patient in narrative, with research ideally investigating  aspects of working in health care/clincial settings, accessing health practitioners and patients.

For Home/EU students the fees are met by the School of English, with successful candidates receiving an annual grant of approximately £8,000.

Full details concerning the PhD can be found here.

University of Leeds offering a PhD that links humanities and literature with medicine indicates the growing trend of academics going beyond just researching the cultural impact of artistic and literary works. The Reader Organisation Trustee Professor Phil Davis has been bringing science and the arts together by studying the effects of Shakespeare on the human brain, analysing neurological responses to the great bard.

Hopefully research arising from the PhD at Leeds will provide even more support for the idea that reading fictional literature and classics can have a positive effect on wellbeing, and can be utilised in clinical settings to help people receiving treatment in areas of mental health, ageing and physical health.

Our ongoing evaluation of Get Into Reading has shown that humanities – in this case fiction – can have a positive effect on health and wellbeing. In these surveys readers have said that they felt more able to relax, cope with stress and gained more positive feelings about life following Get Into Reading participation.

As well as community groups we have Get Into Reading programmes based in dementia care homes and groups for people with mental health or addiction difficulties, all aiming to use reading as a positive force in these people’s lives. Any research investigating the relationship between humanities and wellbeing is welcomed by The Reader Organisation as the evidence base for our work expands.

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