News

Upcoming conference: ERC Conference on Broadcasting Health and Disease: Bodies, markets and television

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Details of a conference Wellcome Collection are hosting on behalf of the European Research Council project ‘BodyCapital’ on 19-21 February 2018, 6th floor 215 Euston Road, London, NW1 2BE, United Kingdom.

 

In the television age, health and the body have been transmitted in many ways; from short health education films, school television, professional training, TV ads, documentary and reality TV shows and news, as well as stand-alone videos distributed to specific audiences. The study of bodies and health created for television together with the history of the various TV formats has not been extensively researched, whether live broadcasting of ground-breaking surgical operations or accounts of medical scandals 1950s-1960s, keep-fit tele-magazine items or militant AIDS documentaries. Our view is that this audio-visual material was not conceived as a mirror of what is observed, but should be regarded as an example of the distinct, interactive, performative power of mass media societies.

This three-day conference aims to investigate how television programmes in their multiplicity approached issues like medical progress and its limits, healthy behaviour or new forms of exercise by adapting them to TV formats and programming. The conference seeks to analyse how television and its evolving formats expressed and staged bodies, health and fitness from local, regional, national and international perspectives: spectators were invited not only to be TV consuming audiences, but also how TV shows integrated and sometimes lured the viewer into considering themselves a participant of the show: TV programmes spread the conviction that subjects had the ability to shape their own body.

The conference seeks to better understand the role that TV, as a modern visual mass media, has played in the transition from national public health paradigms at the beginning of the twentieth century to societal forms of the late twentieth century when better and healthier lives are being shaped by market forces.

 

The conference is free but registration is essential. Please contact: tkoenig@unistra.fr in advance.

 

Guest Post

Topical Press Agency Medical Collection

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Historic England is the public body that looks after England’s historic environment. We champion and protect historic places, helping people understand, value and care for them.

 

The Historic England Archive has recently discovered a collection of over 4,000 photographs taken by the Topical Press Agency. Dating from 1938 to 1943, the photographs document medicine and health care in England shortly before and during the Second World War, and immediately prior to the foundation of the National Health Service. The photographs document medical procedures, equipment, wartime hospital wards, evacuated children, patients and staff.

 

We are currently undertaking a project to preserve, catalogue and digitise the collection. The resulting catalogue and digital images will be made available to users online through the Historic England Archive website. The completion of this project will coincide with this year’s 70th anniversary of the founding of the NHS.

 

Historic England would like to track down people who may have stories to tell about working in health before the founding of the NHS or during its formative years, with the aim of recording interviews about their experiences. If you think you could contribute, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact gary.winter@historicengland.org.uk.

 

A patient smoking and reading a newspaper in a saline bath, whilst staff and nurses work in the background at the Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead, 20 December 1940 [ref: MED01/01/1338]
The original caption on the reverse of the photograph reads:
The modern treatment of burns. Picture shows the patient comfortably resting in the saline bath after the dressings have been removed. He is allowed to smoke (through a holder to keep the smoke away from his eyes); can read the paper; and is given warm milk. The length of stay in the bath is from one hour upwards. On the left Sister is seen testing the salt content of the saline bath, while on the right an orderly watches the temperature control.
Copyright: Historic England

 

News

Archive-based funded PhD, University of Edinburgh

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The University of Edinburgh School of Divinity invite applications for a funded (home / EU fees and living allowance) PhD studentship based on the archive of German-Jewish neurologist Dr Ernst Levin (1887 – 1975), held by Lothian Health Services Archive (LHSA), Centre for Research Collections (CRC), University of Edinburgh. The PhD would be based between the School of Divinity and the CRC.

This is an exciting opportunity for a fluent German-speaker with archival research skills to delve into an uncatalogued archive of personal and medical papers reflecting an individual’s intersection with a turbulent decade in Europe’s political and cultural history. As well as tracing a significant medical career, Levin’s archive outlines time in the military as an Assistant Surgeon in the First World War, his close personal relationships and his family’s friendships with prominent individuals in German culture, including those inside the ‘New Objectivity’ art movement. After the Nazi rise to power in 1933, Levin’s archive shows a family uprooted, gradually building new lives and careers in Scotland.

The application deadline is 31 March 2018. For more details (including how to apply), please see:

http://bit.ly/2D88Ec0

News

Retreat hospital archive available online

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The Borthwick Institute are pleased to announce that The Retreat hospital archive has been digitised (with funding from the Wellcome Collection) and is now available online.
The Retreat Archive relates to the one of the most important institutions in the care and treatment of mental health patients. The Retreat in York was founded by the Society of Friends and opened in 1796. The archive itself is unusually complete and includes administrative, financial, staff, estate and patient records and consists of bound volumes, loose papers, maps, photographs, artefacts from the museum and a small number of paintings.
Over 650,000 digital images have been captured by the project team – amounting to about 80% of the catalogued archive (note that material relating to patients dating from 1920 to the present day was excluded from the digitisation project).
There is a wealth of material in the archive that can be used for research. To get a flavour of some of the interesting things that staff have encountered whilst working on the project read some of our blog posts:
Or dive into The Retreat catalogue and follow the links that are available to the digital content hosted by the Wellcome Collection.
News

New online resource: ‘Railway Work, Life & Death’

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Members may be interested to know of a new project, ‘Railway Work, Life & Death’, a joint initiative of the University of Portsmouth & the National Railway Museum: www.railwayaccidents.port.ac.uk

The website features the extensive database of railway worker accidents in the UK between 1911 and 1915. It provides insight into the working conditions on Britain’s railways around the time of the First World War, including addressing issues around the nature of railway work, what actually happened in practice, and changing understandings of occupational health and safety and relationships between employees, employers, unions and the state.

There are also a range of resources, including a regularly updated blog exploring cases from the database, all of which help contextualise work and life in what was one of the UK’s largest and most dangerous industries.
The Twitter feed is also part of the project and features regular content: @RWLDproject