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The University of Southampton
Medical Education

What a Performance!

Published: 20 July 2015
Dartington - The Great Hall

Linda Turner presented her ideas on ‘Performance as Pedagogy’ at the 2015 conference of the Association for Medical Humanities, which was held in the picturesque medieval courtyard of Dartington Hall in Devon.

The presentation explored the risks and rewards of including live performance in a medical curriculum. Linda used evaluations from performances that introduce the medical humanities Year 1 module and ideas from theatre to analyse how and why live performance might increase understanding of patients 'experiences of illness.

Her contention is that when actors and performance poets with diagnoses perform their illness experiences, students’ preconceived ideas about patients and healthcare practice are challenged through a change in the power dynamic. She also discussed the risks of using performance in the medical curriculum as it also has the potential to disturb and create adverse responses in students. However, Linda’s key message is that performance is extremely valuable for students as it facilitates critical and reflective thinking in a way that can inform future practice.


Notes for editors

  1. Linda organised the 2014 Association for Medical Humanities conference in Southampton.
  2. About Dartington plus link
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