UQ event: Poetry & Philosophy in Health: ways of knowing, learning, being.

UQ Critical Thinking Project: A dynamic panel discussion interspersed with slam poetry, philosophical repartee, and how we bring it all back to high quality healthcare.

   Thursday 24 August 5:30pm-7:30pm
   Global Change Institute Building (building 20) The University of Queensland Saint Lucia, QLD 4067.

Delivering high quality healthcare is a complex business. Every year millions of dollars are spent on research to improve outcomes – to develop treatments that will result in statistically significant differences in the rate, prevalence or severity of various disease states. Doctors, nurses, and allied healthcare professionals are trained to critically appraise and apply scientific research to their patients; to perform procedures; to understand and manage the complications of therapy.

But it is humans that get sick. In most curricula there is very little time spent on learning how to understand and connect with the people who are sick. Serious illness raises questions of mortality, of our meaning and purpose in life. What does it mean to be human? Philosophers and poets have grappled with these questions for millennia. In the words of Victor Hugo, “Poetry contains philosophy as the soul contains reason”.

Consumers of healthcare yearn to be truly seen and heard. Healthcare professionals yearn to do the best for their patients. Science tells us that the therapeutic relationship is one of our most powerful tools, but in practice we often fall short of true connection. We need to understand all the ways that humans know, learn and be. And this requires turning toward the disciplines that teach us about humans.

Join us for a thought provoking discussion. A panel comprised of poets, philosophers, and healthcare professionals will explore these ideas & respond to audience questions. The panel will be facilitated by Dr Melanie Jansen, a poet, ethicist, and intensive care specialist. Join us to look outside the usual, to push toward new understanding.


Francis Nona is a PhD candidate at the University of Qld. He has a Masters in Public Health and is a registered nurse. Francis is a proud Indigenous Australian who has a passion for Indigenous health and want to play my part to help close the gap between non Indigenous and Indigenous Australians in a number of key areas.

Deborah Brown is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Queensland, Director of the University of Queensland Critical Thinking Project (UQCTP), and a fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities. She is a specialist in Early Modern Philosophy and Philosophy of Mind, and more recently has become interested in the intersection of Philosophy and Education, including in clinical training.

Evonne Miller is Professor of Design Psychology at Queensland University of Technology and Director of the QUT Design Lab, where we reimagine and redesign the future. Evonne’s research centres on design for health, drawing on participatory co-design, arts-based and knowledge translation approaches to understand, communicate, improve and re-design the experience of healthcare – especially for older people in residential aged care.

Mark Tredinnick is a poet and essayist. He was awarded an OAM in 2020 for services to literature and education. Much of Tredinnick’s work—in poetry, prose, advocacy, and teaching—has explored the syntax of places and the ecologies of speech. “Our future and our place in it,” he has written, “may depend on how well we care for the health of both—land and language.”

Marina Alefosio is a NZ born Samoan poet who writes and serves youth and community groups with spoken word; theatre and rap. She has performed for varied events including the Nuyorican Poets Café New York; Adelaide Fringe Festival and the Dawn Raids Apology Ceremony. She received two artist residencies with Banff Creative Arts Institute and TAUTAI, and is published in the Catalyst 11, IKA Journal 4, the Aotearoa New Zealand Spoken Word Anthology and Katūīvei. She currently resides in Australia to complete a Masters in Social Change focussed on spoken word poetry in Oceania.

If you would like to join online, please use the following link: https://uqz.zoom.us/j/82881221082


Location: Global Change Institute Building The University of Queensland Saint Lucia, QLD 4067 [link to map]
Start Date: 24/08/2023 [add to calendar]
Start Time: 5:30pm
End Date: 24/08/2023
End Time: 7.30pm
RSVP By: Tuesday 22nd of August 2023
Cost: Nil
Organiser: UQ Critical Thinking Project
Enquiries: UQ Critical Thinking Project

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