IMH Colloquium: Dr. Jac Saorsa to present "The Argument of Images: Narrative Diversity in Cancer Care"

  • When:
    11/14/2013 10:30 AM
    11/14/2013 12:00 PM

You are cordially invited to attend the November IMH Colloquium which will be held on Thursday, November 14, 2013, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., in 2.268 Primary Care Pavilion (PCP). Dr. Jac Saorsa, Director, The Broadway Drawing School, Cardiff, UK and current IMH Visiting Scholar, will give a presentation titled, "The Argument of Images:  Narrative Diversity in Cancer Care."  You can read more about Dr. Saorsa’s background and research online,


This paper will discuss Drawing Women’s Cancer (, an ongoing interdisciplinary research project that is carried out through process-oriented creative practice and is fundamentally premised in the conceptual and methodological ethos of narrative medicine. Whilst not denying narrative itself as the powerful connective force, in exploring the ‘argument of images’, as promulgated by James W. Fernandez, I offer a challenge to the specific idea of narrative being confined to verbal or written text. This challenge is rooted in the inclusive nature of narrative itself, wherein writing and imagery are here understood as equal in terms of their capacity for generating dialogue between the humanities and bio-medical science.

The Drawing Women’s Cancer project derives from the idea that visual art, produced by an artist working with cancer patients and health professionals, creates novel representations of the sufferer’s experience that enable mutual understanding and meaningful conversations between patient and physician, between patients and their carers, and within the public arena in terms of awareness of the disease and its impact. Moreover, where gynaecological disease has almost a ‘taboo’ status in society due to the intimate and personal implications of the condition’s bodily location, such representations can serve to promote feelings of entitlement to discuss it more openly. Key here is that conventional language, in the form of personal narratives generated in unstructured conversations, or  ‘encounters’, between the artist and cancer patients, is understood as the initial vehicle for the articulation of the overall existential experience of ‘illness’ as distinct from the more objective clinical understanding of disease. These narratives, born of undeniably traumatic experience, are experienced in turn by the artist and reinterpreted through her visual response in a complex and creative drawing process that generates a form of interlanguage between speech and action, a language ‘in-between’ content and expression. The finished results therefore derive from a multi-layered process that can be defined as a methodological ‘visual extension’ of narrative medicine. Visual representation here becomes a form of ‘attentive’ creativity, manifest in an interlanguage that can ‘speak the unspeakable’.

Non-IMH guests will need to park in the G-lot.  Please print this message and put it in the front windshield of your car so that Campus Police can clearly see that you are a guest of the IMH. The PCP has opened the bottom floor now and parking in front of the building is for patients only.  You will enter the building through the glass doors at Entrance A.  Take the elevator up to the second floor. From the elevator, enter through the door marked "Family Medicine" located directly across from the elevator. 2.268 PCP will be about halfway down that long hallway on your left. Door numbers are at the very top of the doors. 

Please contact Donna Vickers,, if you have any questions.  Feel free to share this message with anyone you think may like to attend.  If you are interested in presenting a colloquium, please contact Dr. Jerome Crowder,  We hope to see you there.

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