Life and Death: a creative workshop and panel discussion


    Wednesday 24th May 2023, Earlham Hall, UEA

    14:00 - 16:00 Creative Writing and Collaging Drop-in Workshop (Room 0.02, Earlham Hall, UEA)

    17:00 - 18.30 Readings and Panel Discussion (Library and Main Hall, Earlham Hall, UEA)

    Register for the Evening Event

    “Illness,” wrote Virginia Woolf in her classic essay On Being Ill in 1926, “makes us disinclined for the long campaigns that prose extracts.” If Woolf is right, without recourse to long prose, how are we to make sense of health and illness, of death and loss? Interdisciplinary researchers in the Medical and Health Humanities, in partnership with CreativeUEA, are proud and excited to invite you to explore the theme, Life and Death. We hope you will join us in looking at ideas of health, ill health and illness from a creative perspective.

    Using creative writing prompts and the medium of collage, we will explore the theme “Life and Death” through an artful, playful but also critical lens. Free writing and collage are playful ways of finding new forms of expression for profound, life-changing and life-limiting experiences that often leave people without words.

    This is an event for the whole UEA community and for our creative and academic partners and friends. You are welcome to drop in to the creative writing and collaging session and stay for as long or as short a time as you can. You can write, or collage or do both. Nobody has to read anything out or share work, but there will be opportunities to share your creativity with the wider community, if you would like to.

    We will bring writing prompts, extracts from excellent contemporary writing on our theme Life and Death and facilitate an informal, creative afternoon. If you’d like to write, please feel free to bring a pen and your favourite notebook. We will provide scissors, glue, magazines and other printed matter, as well as pens, paper and card for collaging and writing. Mixed media approaches are welcome.

    Also on 24 May, in the evening, we invite you to hear readings by UEA writers and join the discussion, chaired by Professor Sally Hardy. Dr Rebecca Goss, Dr Sabina Dosani and Dr Harriet Cooper will discuss a broad ranging topics including miscarriage, infant death, and the medical language of life and death. UEA writers Rebecca Goss and Sabina Dosani will read from recent creative writing research and offer new perspectives.

    Refreshments will be available following the evening discussion

    Please note, the evening event has an adult focus and is not suitable for children. Accompanied children over the age of 16 are welcome to join in the afternoon creative writing and collaging workshop, but no under 18s at the readings please.

    Death and the Industrious Wife

    Many UEA academics are involved in the development of the Medical and Health Humanities. A new research group at UEA has been exploring our health experiences from social, cultural, historical, political and ethical perspectives and we have just launched an MA in the Medical and Health Humanities2x £15,000 scholarships for the MA  have been announced, funded by NICHE (Norfolk Initiative for Coastal and rural Health Equalities). NICHE is looking for creative practitioners working in any medium who, if successful in obtaining scholarships, would become artists-in-residence attached to the NICHE programme for the duration of their time as students on the MA Medical and Health Humanities. 

    All prospective students who would pay UK fees are eligible to apply, whether they intend to study full-time or part-time. The scholarship is designed to cover the student's fees and to contribute towards their maintenance.

    Find out more about the NICHE scholarships.


    Dr Rebecca Goss is a poet, tutor and mentor living in Suffolk. Her first full-length collection, The Anatomy of Structures, was published by Flambard Press in 2010. Her

    second collection, Her Birth, (Carcanet, 2013) was shortlisted for the 2013 Forward Prize for Best Collection, won the Poetry category in the East Anglian Book Awards 2013, and in 2015 was shortlisted for the Warwick Prize for Writing and the Portico Prize for Literature. Rebecca’s third full-length collection, Girl, was published with Carcanet in 2019 and shortlisted for the East Anglian Book Awards 2019. Her fourth, Latch, is published with Carcanet in May 2023. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Cardiff University and a PhD by Publication from the University of East Anglia.

    Twitter/Instagram: @gosspoems



    Dr Sabina Dosani is a consultant psychiatrist, writer and academic working in the medical humanities. She read Medicine at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London and trained in psychiatry at the Maudsley Hospital. She has an MSc in Mental Health Studies and an MSc in Medical Humanities, both from King’s College, London, and an AHRC-funded PhD in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of East Anglia. Sabina will be reading from Flesh and Blood, her memoir, which takes the reader on journey through a medicalised pregnancy, unfolding under the bright glare of medical examinations, alongside a parallel, professional journey with three families eviscerated by illness, adversity and addictions. Tracking the conflicts, collisions and concerns of medical professionals, social workers and lawyers, Flesh and Blood asks readers to consider what it would mean if clinics and courts were places of greater compassion, or whether emotional bonds stall the difficult and often devastating interventions designed to keep children safe, often leaving mothers in the shadows. Sabina’s ability to express complex ideas clearly and incisively, and often with flair, led to her being named as a 2022 BBC New Generation Thinker.

    Twitter @DrSabinaDosani


    Dr Harriet Cooper is a Lecturer in Medical Education at Norwich Medical School, with responsibility for sociology and humanities teaching. She is also Course Director for MA Medical and Health Humanities (launching September 2023). Harriet works at the intersection of medical humanities, critical disability studies and medical sociology, with particular interests in: the figure of the disabled child, auto-ethnography and the uses of lived experience in contemporary culture, shame and stigma, and the material context of knowledge production. Before joining Norwich Medical School, Harriet worked as a Lecturer in Medical & Health Humanities at UEA, and as a Wellcome ISSF Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Medical Humanities at Birkbeck, University of London.

    Twitter: @harriet_cooper_


    Professor Sally Hardy is Director of NICHE Anchor Institute for Norfolk and Waveney ICS, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of East Anglia. Throughout her academic career, Sally has remained closely linked with the NHS, promoting practitioner led inquiry and transformational change through evidence based health care. Sally re-joined the University of East Anglia in September 2019 as Professor of Mental Health and Practice Innovation and Dean School of Health Sciences, and is now focusing on leading the Norfolk Initiative for Coastal and rural Health Equalities (NICHE), Anchor Institute for the Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care System. Sally’s research focuses on understanding what factors contribute to sustainable workplace cultures and effective health and social care systems. She has recently taken on the Leadership role of the NICHE Anchor Institute at UEA, and has become a Non-Executive Director with Norfolk and Suffolk Mental Health Trust. In collaboration with Norwich University of Arts, the Restoration Trust, and other local partners is a founding member of the Norfolk Arts and Health Collaborative.

    The Blue Devils

    All images from the Wellcome Collection Image Library:
    Death approaches a woman in a domestic setting. Aquatint.
    A man suffering from attack by blue devils; representing depression or mental illness. Coloured etching after R. Newton, 1795.