Mission Statement

Consortium for Health Humanities, Arts, Reading and Medicine (CHARM)

Mission Statement

The CHARM-network consists of a selection of global partners working in the internationally thriving domain of medical and health humanities (MHH). In our post-Covid-times, the new field continues to gain in importance, serving worldwide as the interdisciplinary home of scholars in medicine and nursing, sociologists and psychologists of (mental) health, specialists in health communication, philosophers and historians of medicine and health, bioethicists, literary scholars, and those working in performance and film studies. Given its focus on questions of individual and public health, the field offers numerous opportunities of collaboration with non-academic social and cultural institutions and policymakers.  

The interdisciplinary consortium brings together specialists working on health-related topics. As a whole, the group has a specific focus on two interrelated topics that are central to the field of MHH: the use of artistic objects and practices as therapeutic adjuvants on the one hand and the applicability of socio-historical, philosophical and intercultural knowledge in the development and improvement of medical and other policies and practices of care on the other. The activities of the network are targeted towards the co-development of expertise in the topical subdomains, but also towards the deepening of the conceptual and methodological potential of the wider field of MHH. The aim of the network, like that of the field, is to challenge and complement the biomedical assessment of illness and health with the analysis of their social, historical, cultural and psychological determinants, in an attempt to promote more holistic and fully humane forms of care. 

The network’s general purpose is to foster international collaboration in the field of MHH and to disseminate, in tandem with non-academic partners, the results of its activities worldwide, so as to promote a fully humane culture of care and address issues of health and inequality. The network’s teaching and research activities are also targeted towards methodological conceptual innovation in the field of MHH. In order to reach its goals, the network will in the course of its initial five-year run (2024-2028): 


  1. Work towards larger applications for research projects. Part of the Network funding will be used for a series of online and on-site activities (including a final writing retreat) targeted towards these proposals. 
  1. Organize an Annual Season School and Conference on a topic that is central to the Network. The annual conference will allow colleagues to present ongoing research and engage in new ventures and provide space for specific outreach activities involving non-academic partners. One of the Network’s aims is to generate interest in the field of MHH and to train young scholars (see also under c). The Season School and Conference will be organized in one of the partner institutions, drawing its candidates and speakers from the network’s participating institutions, without limiting them to these. Both the Seasonal School and the Conference will involve societal organisations and policy makers.  
  1. Host an Annual Charm-chair in the field of MHH for a senior postdoctoral researcher or junior professor of one of the participating institutions, with specific attention to partners of the Global South. The Chair/Fellow (six-week-term visit in Ghent) will participate in teaching and outreach-activities, while creating opportunities for supervision and research collaboration. The Chair will also organize a workshop involving colleagues in Ghent on a topic that relates to one of the Network’s thematic axes and will be invited to give the annual CHARM Lecture (online, in the presence of the other international partners). 
  1. Develop a collaborative teaching program – in the initial phase we will explore possibilities of teaching and student exchange and draw a comparative analysis of the presence of MHH courses and modules in the respective partner universities. This will serve as the basis for further plans in the development of an international Health and Humanities master programme (e.g. Erasmus Mundus).  


A Note About Respect

We share a commitment to diversity, accessibility and inclusion. Underpinning that commitment is a firm belief in the value of freely exploring competing ideas and concepts – with a fundamental respect for the rights, dignity and value of all persons. We ask you to join us in ensuring that this workshop creates a dynamic, friendly, intellectually
enriching and harassment-free environment for everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, physical appearance, ethnicity, religion or other group identity. Interdisciplinary collaboration is not without its tensions and conflicts. We encourage you to reflect upon whether it is necessary or appropriate to share
identifying details of particular collaborations. We thank you for helping make this a welcoming, friendly experience for all. If you have any concerns, issues or queries please feel free to contact Prof. Dr. Gita Deneckere, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy at Ghent University.