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Shortlist announced for Health Humanities Medal

Date: 09/08/2018

The Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC), in association with the Wellcome Trust, has today (9 August 2018) announced the shortlist for the new Health Humanities Medal.

For the first time, the people and projects that are helping to inform and transform the quality of life, health and wellbeing of the population using arts and humanities research are being recognised in the UK by a dedicated award. The Health Humanities Medal celebrates and showcases the important but unsung work being done in this area.

Across the UK, academics, health professionals, voluntary organisations and communities are using arts and humanities research and methodology to look at how we can improve the quality of life and wellbeing of the nation.

Professor Paul Crawford at the University of Nottingham has led the development of these new awards. He is the world’s first Professor of Health Humanities, spearheading research into the application of arts and humanities to enhance social capital, health and wellbeing. He leads both the AHRC-funded Madness and Literature Network and International Health Humanities Network and is principal Investigator on three other AHRC projects: Creative Practice as Mutual Recovery: Connecting Communities for Mental Health and Wellbeing, Dementia Arts and Wellbeing Network and Florence Nightingale Comes Home for 2020. 

Professor Crawford says: "The arts and humanities are major forces in keeping people well, connecting them socially and restoring them to good health.  Whether it’s music, visual arts, or dance, the arts and humanities are like a shadow health service that works quietly and powerfully to transform lives and aid recovery”.

The types of projects that have been shortlisted, all of which are grounded in arts and humanities research,  include schemes with older people at risk of social isolation; with people experiencing psychosis and mental distress; and schemes which use music and dance to break down social exclusion.

Professor Edward Harcourt, Director of Research, Strategy and Innovation at the AHRC said: “We are delighted to be supporting these new awards. The AHRC has always seen the importance of backing the health humanities. We were struck by the exceptional quality of the applications, which express a more inclusive vision of health and wellbeing and how to achieve it in ways that are not driven by medical science alone.”

Nominations have been considered under five different categories that cover the broad scope of research, impact and leadership within the field of health humanities. An overall winner will then be selected from these categories who will receive the Health Humanities Medal for 2018.

The categories and shortlisted nominations for 2018 are:

Best Research

  • Using design-led research  to address the global challenge of AMR (Professor Alastair Macdonald – Glasgow School of Art)
  • Life of Breath (Professor Jane Macnaughton – Durham University together with Professor Havi Carel – University of Bristol )
  • Essex Autonomy Project (Professor Wayne Martin -  University of Essex)
  • Museums on Prescription (Professor Helen Chatterjee - University College London)
  • Hearing the Voice (Professor Charles Fernyhough and Dr Angela Woods  – Durham University)

Read more about the nominees for the Best Research category.

Best Doctoral or Early Career Research

  • Dr Anna Harpin -  University of Warwick
  • Dr  Daisy Fancourt – University College London
  • Dr Deborah Thorpe – University of York / Trinity College Dublin
  • Dr Rachel Bennett – University of Warwick
  • Dr James Stark – University of Leeds

Read more about the nominees for the Best Doctoral or Early Career Research category.

Inspiration Award

  • Healthy Conservatoires (Professor Aaron Williamon  – Royal College of Music)
  • Life of Breath (Professor Havi Carel – University of Bristol together with Professor Jane Macnaughton – Durham University)
  • Stories2Connect (Dr Candice Satchwell – University of Central Lancashire)
  • TR14ers dance group (David Aynsley - TR14ers Community Dance Charity)
  • Hearing Aids for Music (Dr Alinka Greasley  – University of Leeds - together with Dr Harriet Crook)

Discover more about the projects shortlisted for the Inspiration Award.

Best International Research

  • Professor Nicki Hitchcott  – University of St Andrews
  • Professor Caroline Rooney  – University of Kent
  • Dr Ross White – University of Liverpool
  • Dr Felicity Thomas – University of Exeter

Read more about the individuals nominated for Best International Research.

Leadership Award

  • Professor Mark Jackson – University of Exeter
  • Professor Helen Chatterjee – University College London
  • Professor Julian Savulescu – University of Oxford
  • Professor Hilary Marland – University of Warwick
  • Professor Alan Bleakley – University of Plymouth

Learn more about the nominees for the Leadership Award.

The nominations have all been assessed by a panel of academics, health practitioners and industry professionals, some of which included:

  • Vivienne Parry, UK Research and Innovation Board member, and science and health writer
  •  Peter Hunt, former BBC correspondent and Director of Communications at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Susie Hall, Head of Arts at Great Ormond Street Hospital

The winners will be announced on 11 September during a special awards ceremony being held at the House of Commons.


About AHRC

The Arts and Humanities Research Council funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: archaeology, area studies, the creative and performing arts, design, digital content, heritage, history, languages, philosophy and much more. This financial year we will spend approximately £98 million on research and postgraduate training in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides economic, social and cultural benefits to the UK, but contributes to the culture and welfare of societies around the globe.

The AHRC is part of UK Research and Innovation, a new body that works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish. Operating across the whole of the UK with a combined budget of more than £6 billion, UK Research and Innovation brings together the seven Research Councils, Innovate UK and a new organisation, Research England.

About the Wellcome Trust

The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to improving health. We support bright minds in science, the humanities and the social sciences, as well as education, public engagement and the application of research to medicine. Our investment portfolio gives us the independence to support such transformative work as the sequencing and understanding of the human genome, research that established front-line drugs for malaria, and Wellcome Collection, our free venue for the incurably curious that explores medicine, life and art. www.wellcome.ac.uk

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