Malawian (Hi)Stories and the Medical Humanities:

A Digital Repository for Arts, Humanities and Health Resources

This archive seeks to support the development of the digital arts and humanities as they relate to medicine and the health sciences in Malawi. It officially launched on 26 August 2017 at the inaugural medical humanities conference, which was hosted by Chancellor College, University of Malawi.

Scope of the Collection

The resources indexed and housed on the Malawian (Hi)Stories and the Medical Humanities archive cover a broad spectrum of research of materials relating to health, wellbeing and the human experience. As we develop, we intend to expand our classifications to include specifics such as regional settings, geographical locations, healthcare identifiers in addition to genres, forms and aesthetics pertaining to the arts and humanities.

What are the medical humanities?

The critical health and medical humanities as a field of inquiry explore the intersections between the human condition through the arts, philosophies, literatures and histories and their engagement with a broad spectrum of the health and biological sciences and practices, including illness, medicine, treatment, recovery and death. It incorporates the analysis of critical theories (for example, feminist, disability, queer, postcolonial, etc.) to advocate a closer engagement with ‘notions of entanglement’—as opposed to being in service or in opposition—to the health/biomedical sciences and core social themes such as ethnicity, economic inequities, gender, and national identity. It includes representation that chronicles illness, art that showcases the diseased body, disability studies, music that can be used for therapy, all forms of art interventions and many more such intersections of health and humanities. The terminology and formalised studies of medical humanities may be recent but the core concepts are not.

Malawi’s own scholars–the late Professors Steve Chimombo and Chris Kamlongera–were pioneers in bringing the arts into conversation with health, community and development in local communities. Through this website, we seek to take this a step forward by bringing research methods developed by Malawian pioneers into a digital space. Each culture negotiates and defines its tenets of wellness, illness and treatment. This archive is open to both artistic and academic pursuits as we aspire to create a sustainable a hub for different practitioners to participate in knowledge exchange pertaining to the Malawian cultural experience of health and wellbeing. We were inspired at the conference by the depth and scope of research of medical humanities work in Malawi. We hope that this resource will strengthen support for medical humanities studies and encourage people around the world to contribute resources that are not easy to find.

Using the repository

The contents of this archive are directly available as free downloads and are accompanied by the relevant citations. At the moment, we are still developing our content database and uploading files at a measured pace. If you have any recommendations or requests, please contact us at 434-951-5719.

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Funded by the Wellcome Trust

Hosted by the University of Edinburgh

In partnership with Logos – Open Culture