Upcoming Events


Doctoral Summer School in the Framework of the “Consortium for Health Humani,es, Arts, Reading & Medicine (CHARM)”

“Cross-cultural explorations into the role of fate, destiny, and predestination as agents for health and wellbeing”
16-18 September 2024


Ghent PhD students: Registration through the Doctoral Schools website: Seasonal School: Cross-cultural explorations into the role of fate, destiny, and predestination as agents for health and wellbeing — Doctoral School — Ghent University (ugent.be)

External participants: Please send an application to mieke.matthyssen@ugent.be.
Deadline for registration: 15 June 2024.

CfA_Summer School_FateWellbeing_Sept2024





Two-day workshop organised in collaboration between CHARM (Consortium for Health Humanities, Arts, Reading and Medicine) and the Ghent Network of Hospitals


May 30-31 2024

Venue: AZ Sint-Lucas. Groenebriel 1, 9000 Ghent



The aim of this two-day workshop is to introduce the audience – doctors, nursing and administrative staff of the Ghent Hospitals, but also other interested parties – to the practice and the concepts underlying that practice of what is called narrative medicine. Narrative medicine has multiple aspects: it is an ethical stance, an innovative form of medical education, and a way to engage in clinical practice. Our three speakers – international authorities in the field – will show in their workshop-based interventions how this narrative practice can be of interest to different actors in the hospital environment: not only patients, doctors and caregivers, but also relatives and loved ones of patients and administrators of hospitals. Our three speakers have collaborated previously, but they approach narrative medicine from different perspectives, including different countries. Their presentations will provide ample opportunity for dialogue among participants.




Thursday, May 30

Session 1: 10-12.30

Danielle Spencer: “Narrative Medicine: Close Reading in the Clinic and Beyond”

In her presentation, Danielle Spencer will introduce the Narrative Medicine approach as it was developed at Columbia University (New York), including its principles, workshop format, and clinical applications. She will also discuss further elaborations of the field, including her research on diagnosis.


Lunch: 12.30-14.00


Session 2: 14.00-16.30

John Launer, “Narrative Medicine and Narrative Practice: Partners in the Creation of Meaning”

In his presentation, John Launer will describe how ideas and skills drawn from narrative medicine have been taught for many years to health and social care professionals in the United Kingdom to apply in their everyday work, including encounters with patients.


Friday, May 31st


Session 3: 10.00-12.30

Arthur Frank: “Start From Where You Are: Narrative Medicine as Clinical Practice”

It’s easy for the objectives of narrative medicine to get lost in details and distinctions that are important for advanced practice, but risk forgetting what matters. Narrative medicine is about relationships based on dialogue, and behind dialogue is compassion. The presentation moves from general questions of what counts as dialogue to specific clinical practices that invite dialogue.


Lunch: 12.30-14.00


Session 4: 14.00-16.30

The final session will present specific ideas for implementing practices of narrative medicine in different clinical and medical education settings. Barriers to narrative medicine will also be considered. Speakers will be announced at the start of the workshop but will include patients, doctors, nursing staff, medical educators and senior management of Ghent hospitals to discuss the potential of the narrative approach from their respective positions in the hospital environment.



Danielle Spencer is a faculty member in the Columbia University Narrative Medicine Graduate Program. Her work addresses narrative medicine, diagnosis, and bioethics. She is the author of Metagnosis: Revelatory Narratives of Health and Identity (Oxford University Press, 2021) and co-author of Perkins-Prize-winning The Principles and Practice of Narrative Medicine (OUP, 2017). www.daniellespencer.com

John Launer is a medical educator with a background in family medicine and systemic family therapy. He is president of the Association of Narrative Practice (UK) and an honorary associate professor at University College London. His work is on the application of narrative ideas and skills to everyday healthcare encounters. His books include Narrative-Based Practice in Health and Social Care, 2018 and Reflective Practice in Medicine and Multiprofessional Healthcare, 2023.

Arthur Frank is professor emeritus at the University of Calgary. He approaches narrative medicine as a way of improving experiences in clinical relationships. His work is on illness experience (At the Will of the Body, 1991/2003; The Wounded Storyteller, 1995/2013), bioethics (The Renewal of Generosity, 2004), and narrative studies (Letting Stories Breathe, 2010). His most recent work (Shakespeare’s Dark Consolations, 2022) asks how people can use literature to tell better stories about illness and suffering.