Following the workshop we agreed that the academic participants might want to suggest topics of potential collaboration with the writers – where ‘collaboration’ could be interpreted/agreed between you. The following people have suggested topics close to their interests – get in touch with them if you’re interested in collaborating:

Erika Szymanski (erika.szymanski@ed.ac.uk):

Yeast and fungi, microbial life and microbiomes, people as multispecies assemblages, thinking about our interactions with living creatures at different units of analysis (e.g. is the “yeast” or the “human” the cell, the colony or community, the genetic material, the ancestry…), and nonlinear writing (e.g. hyphae-like writing that explores multiple directions simultaneously). And here are links to two resources:

  • Tarsh Bates’ work with Candida albicans, the human body as a queer ecology, and the “unsettling eros of contact zones” is collected online at tarshbates.com
  • The National Academy of Sciences’ report on “Ending the War Metaphor” about different ways of approaching human-microbe (mostly human-sometime-pathogen) relationships is online at https://www.nap.edu/read/11669/chapter/1

Sara Wasson (s.wasson@lancaster.ac.uk):

  • Transplantation: the experience of donor kin seeing a loved one classified as dead by neurological criteria, yet still breathing, and trying to say goodbye.
  • Chronic pain:  The experience of a chronic pain patient feeling invisible _in the moment of the medical encounter itself_
  • Genetics: the experience of receiving a genetic test result that indicates a heightened risk (yet not inevitablility) of a future illness.

Gill Haddow (Gill.Haddow@ed.ac.uk):

  • the effect implanted medical technologies has on the person and their significant others (say);
  • the economics and politics of 3-D bioprinting organs;
  • biohacking and the changes that people make to their own bodies (see Neil Harbisson);

and here is a link to some films etc. associated with the project Animal, Mechanical and Me: The Search for Replaceable Hearts  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WilTY5FF5w&t=3s  and a link to the short story that Pippa wrote for the project and her reflections: https://animalmechanicalandme.com/2016/07/22/reflections-from-pippa-on-writing-listen-to-our-hearts/

Fadhila Mazanderani (F.Mazanderani@ed.ac.uk):

Current research topics/ themes that I am working on that link to or could benefit from some uncanny thinking/writing listed below.

  • Different ways of articulating experiences of illness/disease. I am particularly interested in how science informs how people experience, talk and write about illness, and vice versa how literary and experiential accounts are drawn on in scientific writing and thinking (be this through narratives, social media, poetry etc.);
  • How personal experiences and understandings are used as a challenge to biomedical understandings, and in particular practices of self-experimentation – so when individuals or communities start experimenting on their own bodies/selves (I have just finished researching this in relation to a specific group of Multiple Sclerosis activists).
  • Anything related to autoimmunity and its articulations (this is a relatively new interests that has come out of the research I have been doing in relation to MS).
  • Digital technologies and health. A very big area! Most recently I have been working on ideas around public patienthood and ‘intimate publics’, so the public sharing of personal experiences through different media platforms to enact changes to medicine and healthcare. I am particular interested in exploring ideas around data sharing, ‘shadows’ and ‘orphans’ (so how we lose track of health data, how it can take on a life of its own, be used in unexpected ways, travel and so on…)

 

Sonja Erikainen (Sonja.Erikainen@ed.ac.uk):

If anyone would be interested in collaborating on a slightly different topic, myself and Sarah Chan have been doing some work on experimental stem cell therapies (i.e. therapies that have not undergone clinical trials and are consequently considered by many to be un-evidenced or unproven). We would love the opportunity to use creative writing and collaborate around this work.

There are myriad narratives circulating about and around experimental stem cell therapies in digital media: some say, for example, that the therapies offer hope for diseases for which no evidence-based treatments currently exist and this hope is worth investing in. Others say that the therapies are unsafe, probably ineffective, and should be unlawful. Sarah and I have done some work to map some of the different narratives that exist, and we are hoping to explore how the narrative format could be used creatively as a method to engage with patients and publics about stem cell therapies in new ways.

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