Call for papers: CHCI Health and Medical Humanities Network Summer Institute 2020


CALL FOR PAPERS:  Summer Institute 2020

University of Southern Denmark
June 25-27, 2020

Space, Place and Design in the Medical and Health Humanities

The CHCI Health and Medical Humanities Network is a partnership of over 30 universities worldwide working in the medical and health humanities. In 2020, the annual Summer Institute of the CHCI HMHN will be hosted by University of Southern Denmark, with the theme, “Space, Place and Design in the Medical and Health Humanities.”

The Scandinavian region is globally exceptional for its free access to health care. Denmark is investing significant capital and resources to build new and innovative hospitals. In Odense, the site of the University of Southern Denmark, a new university hospital is being integrated for the first time into the larger university campus. The hospital will be a modern welfare institution based on the principles of Scandinavian Design, an offshoot of the Bauhaus school, which prized minimalism, simplicity and functionalism. While the university hospital in Odense will be completed in 2022, other innovative hospitals have already been built in the region. Most notable is the new psychiatric hospital in nearby Slagelse, where light, nature, and poetry have created a unique environment for treatment and recovery.

The objective of this CHCI Summer Institute is to investigate how space, place, and design might interplay with individualized and compassionate health care. Space, along with its less abstract and more social corollary, place, are critical terms in the formal study of literature; meanwhile, the architectural concept design has newly entered a broader disciplinary lexicon to simultaneously suggest method, process and form.  We want to consider the role that space, place and design play in health care and aesthetics. What can medical humanities learn from theories of space and place? How might the notion of a “poetics of space” transform how we think about the institutional settings of treatment and healing? How is a sense of space distinguished from the “actual” places in stories of illness, death and/or healing? What is the interplay between space and time in stories of illness, death, and/or healing?  How do the perception and experience of space and place change across historical time and cultural geography?  How does modern health care design take into account disabled or sick bodies and peoples? What is a “healing architecture”? And what are the more pragmatic effects of space, place and design on the delivery of health care? This conference will investigate these and other broad questions about the complex relationships between spatiality, illness, humanities and health care.

Preliminary Program
There will be two days of conference presentations at the University of Southern Denmark, with an optional journey on the third day to the Slagelse psychiatric hospital with a guided tour by the architect. A few artistic events will be included in the program as well as an optional dinner Friday evening.

Keynote Speakers
Rishi Goyal (MD, Director of the Medicine, Literature and Society program, Columbia University)
Kim Brixen (MD, Professor, Director of the University Hospital, Odense)
Sarah Curtis (Professor emerita of Health and Risk in Geography, Durham University)
Christian Karlsson (Architect of the new Psychiatric Hospital in Slagelse).

Call for Papers
We invite proposals for 15 minute papers (350-word abstracts), and for complete panels (350-word abstracts for each paper accompanied by a cover-letter describing the aims of the panel as a whole). All papers are subject to the vetting of the conference committee.

Deadline for paper proposals and complete panels: January 15, 2020.
Please send all proposals to Research Assistant Tine Riis Andersen ( All proposals must include your name, academic affiliation (if any), and preferred email address. Questions may be addressed to Associate Professor Anders Juhl Rasmussen (

Registration: $150 (student rate: $50). Conference dinner: $75.

The Human Health project at University of Southern Denmark is sponsoring the conference fee, hotel, and travel for a limited number of graduate students and junior researchers without a research budget. Participants will need their papers to be accepted to be eligible for sponsorship. Please make a note in your paper proposal if you would like to apply for sponsorship.

Graduate students of the University of Southern Denmark who wish to attend the conference without presenting a paper and have the conference fee waived should send a motivated proposal to Tine Riis Andersen (