Journal of Medical Humanities 41 (1):21-39 (2020)

This essay brings together critical perspectives from the discrete traditions of artists’ books and the medical humanities to examine artists’ books by three contemporary artists – Penny Alexander, Martha A. Hall and Amanda Watson-Will – that treat experiences of illness and wellbeing. Through its focus on a multimodal and multisensory art form that has allegiances with, but is not reduced to, narrative, the essay adds to recent calls to rethink key assumptions of illness narrative study and to challenge utilitarian approaches. In particular, it draws attention to the aesthetic and imaginative elements of illness communication by exploring how artists’ books represent lived experiences in a distinctively palpable way and offer an “intimate authority” that extends beyond narrative legitimacy or a form of struggle against the medical gaze. By interrogating narrative’s dominance in medical humanities research, the essay further expands awareness of illness experiences that resist conventional forms of representation, and of alternative reflective practices within healthcare education that encourage engagement with both mind and body.
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DOI 10.1007/s10912-019-09596-4
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Epistemic Injustice and Illness.Ian James Kidd & Havi Carel - 2017 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 34 (2):172-190.
Mindfulness, Mysticism, and Narrative Medicine.Bradley Lewis - 2016 - Journal of Medical Humanities 37 (4):401-417.

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