EVENT: “Experiences of illness and death: learning from the discourses of realities and fictions”


BAAL Health & Science Communication SIG Workshop
28 November 2016
Hosted by the Faculty of Well-being, Education and Language Studies
The Open University, Milton Keynes

Read a summary and reflections on the workshop here: hsc-narrative-workshop-report

Programme: baal-hsc-sig-28-nov-programme_final

Abstracts: baal-hsc-sig-28-nov-book-of-abstracts

“Any serious illness is a medical event, but it is lived in narrative terms” wrote Andrew Solomon in a recent article for The Guardian. This workshop will focus on these ‘lived’ and ‘narrative’ aspects of the experience of illness and death from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.

Accounts of illness and dying by patients, carers and healthcare professionals have been at the heart the medical humanities for several decades. They have been called upon to better understand patients and to enable patient-centered care, to improve training and empathy in healthcare professionals and to begin to assist those who informally support and care for the ill. They have been investigated from the perspectives of history, sociology, literature, the visual arts and, more recently, linguistics. At the same time, these disparate approaches and applications, have tended to leave the field somewhat fragmented. The aim of this workshop is to bring together researchers of different backgrounds who examine and use experiences of illness and death to discuss and explore the methods and applications that allow us to get the most out of these rich and powerful sources of evidence.

Keynote speakers:
Dr Julie Ellis, University of Sheffield
Dr Jonathon Tomlinson, NHS The Lawson Practice (https://abetternhs.wordpress.com/about/)


WORKSHOP: Computer-mediated health communication: Perspectives from ethnography and discourse analysis


Hosted by the Language Centre School of Language, Linguistics, and Film, Queen Mary University of London


Event report: sigs_hsc_ 2016_meeting_report


Location and directions:

Room 3.40 Bancroft Building

This first SIG workshop will focus on the theme of computer mediated health communication taking a broad view of the diverse digital contexts in which health communication is developed through the medium of language. We are particularly interested in contributions that use the frameworks of ethnography and discourse analysis for the selection and analysis of linguistic features in order to understand relations between digital texts and their wider contexts of production and reception.

The new possibilities of using ICT technologies for practitioner-patient consultations as well as for peer-to-peer interaction in a synchronic or asynchronic manner have fascinated health researchers for over three decades. While there is a growing body of psychology literature focused on the quantitative analysis of isolated content features, the linguistic analyses of ICT-facilitated interactions in their discursive and social contexts have not yet received systematic attention.  In research on social media for example, the nature of synchronic or asynchronic platforms, and the fact that many forms of online communication are publicly available are likely to influence the way in which health and illness identities are constructed by professional and ‘lay’ actors.

The aims of this workshop are to bring together researchers who examine health communication from the theoretical and methodological traditions of linguistic ethnography and discourse analysis, to test the value of combining different research methods and to share solutions to the challenges of data analysis and interpretation posed by online environments. We are particularly interested in building theoretical and methodological bridges between applied linguistics, medical sociology, media studies and social psychology.

Invited speakers include:

  • Prof Elena Semino (University of Lancaster)
  • Dr Julia Bailey (University College London)

Full programme:  Computer_mediated_health_communication_9_Nov_preliminary_programme


  • Full fee – £21.99
  • BAAL members’ fee – £16.75
  • Student fee – £13.59

The fee includes: registration, tea/coffee and lunch. Registration details will be available in September.
For further information contact: Nelya Koteyko n.koteyko@qmul.ac.uk or Dimitrinka Atanasova da124@leicester.ac.uk

Follow the discussion on twitter #healthsci2015