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. This year’s conference will be held in Denmark. 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.

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.

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 (

Posted by Dr Claire Hooker, University of Sydney