dialogues on the threshold


Medicine and Metaphor Conference copy


Caustic Creativity_Powerpoint


Mangan Dartington Marvell




It seems much easier to critique existing metaphors than to think of new ones–ones that aren’t totalising or infantilising.

What are the conditions of possibility for ‘new’ metaphors to emerge?


There is the need for alternatives to master metaphors of war etc. Perhaps ones that incorporate stillness: sleeping with illness. There also needs to be more close analysis of what a metaphor is and the ways in which it differs to related terms, simile etc.


We really didn’t discuss the impulses towards power expressed in long-standing efforts to cleanse language of metaphor to create the illusion that language accesses the REAL truth. Instructions on how to write a scientific paper tell us how to go beyond language to focus on organisation, while instructions to medical students include mandates to cleanse themselves of their inner affect and like the scientific paper, to ‘organise’ themselves. We also discussed how unlike one `german philosopher who talks about metaphor as leading to greater and greater clarity until we are finally rid of it, metaphor actually can confuse, obscure an connect us with ambiguity.We noted that we actually talked less about langue and used visual images for a lot of our presentation, and that metaphors are very imagistic. I have to stop now, but we can talk more about Foucault’s description of the gaze and how these images work now. Basically, there is a constant tension between the power push towards transparent language and messy, problematic and ambiguous language. We also talked about the many ways in which people can be witnesses.


Listening for the original metaphors that people or patients use – as expressions of difference or uniqueness – some people choose their own metaphors for specific reasons. Unusual use of metaphor is significant, and use of redundant metaphors can be a deliberate expression of conformity.
Non-verbal metaphors – stimulated by Martin’s performance – are potentially communicative of deep and significant things that cannot be carried by words.
The limitations of verbal metaphors – vs visual culture or the body – are we becoming a post-literate society (as opposed to illiterate)? Words are not everybody’s communication ’tool’ of choice. This has implications for clinical practice, which is largely verbal and literate.


The question arose: how does what we are doing here – a group of twenty or so academics, practitioners, artists discussing in detail the issue of metaphors in medicine – fit in with some of the wider questions/problems/challenges/issues of medical education?


Sovereign power/ capillary power

Master metaphors

Heroic masculinity/ alternatives?

Thinking with Metaphors in Medicine – The State of the Art




(The schedule is open to negotiation amongst participants other than keynote slots for our guest speakers Tess Jones and Arno Kumagai who have ‘protected time’ – below)

Friday 24 June

15.30-16.30 Register and collect room keys from East Wing Lounge

16.30: Welcome drinks served in the West Wing Lounge

Introduction to Dartington from Rhodri Samuel CEO

17.00-18.30: Dukes room: Introductions (Alan Bleakley and symposium delegates) followed by Plenary 1 (Dr Tess Jones or Dr Arno Kumagai) and discussion

18.30-19.00: White Hart Bar

19.00-21.00: Dinner White Hart Dining Room

21.00-22.00: Dukes room – follow up to plenary 1

Saturday 25 June

8.00-9.30 am: Breakfast White Hart

9.30-11.00: Dukes room: Plenary 2 (Dr Tess Jones or Dr Arno Kumagai) and discussion

11.00: Coffee, tea, pastries

11.30-12.30: Dukes room: delegates’ presentations and discussion

13.00-14.00: Ploughman’s lunch White Hart

14.30-15.30: Dukes room: discussions/ activities

15.30: Tea, coffee and biscuits

16.00-17.30: Dukes room: discussions/ activities

18.30-19.00: White Hart Bar

19.00-21.00: Dinner White Hart

21.00-22.00: Dukes room: planning collaborations and outputs

Sunday 26 June

8.00-9.30: Breakfast White Hart

9.00-11.00: Dukes room: collaborations and outputs

11.00-11.30: Coffee, tea, pastries

11.30-12.30: Dukes room: collaborations and outputs/ sad & happy goodbyes

Delegates vacate rooms by 11.00

Download the ppt below for more details

Dartington Hall Symposium 2016

Welcome to Dartington Tess and Arno!

Tess Jones_2013 cropTherese Jones, PhD
Associate Director-Center for Bioethics and Humanities

Therese (Tess) Jones is Associate Director of the Center for Bioethics and Humanities and Director of the Arts and Humanities in Healthcare Program at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine. Tess is the editor of the Journal of Medical Humanities and lead editor for the Health Humanities Reader, Rutgers University Press (2014). She teaches health humanities and disability studies in the Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy and the Physical Therapy and Physician Assistants Programs and developed the undergraduate Health Humanities Minor for the University of Colorado Denver.

Bachelor of Arts: Pittsburg State University (Theatre Arts, English)

Master of Arts: Pittsburg State University (English)
Doctor of Philosophy: University of Colorado Boulder (English—American Drama and Gender Studies)
Post-Doctoral Fellowship: Northeast Ohio Medical University (Medical Humanities)


Humanities and Arts in Health Professions Education
Cultural Studies of Medicine
Disability Studies
Film and Literature

Dr Arno Kumagai

Arno1Arno Family


Incoming Vice Chair, Education – Department of Medicine, University of Toronto

Arno Kumagai, Vice Chair, Education — Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Kumagai received his B.A. in Comparative Literature from U.C. Berkeley and his M.D. from UCLA School of Medicine. He completed a residency in Internal Medicine and an Endocrine fellowship and postdoc at UCLA. Dr. Kumagai comes from the University of Michigan Medical School where he has been on faculty since 1996 and is Professor of Medicine and Medical Education. An endocrinologist with expertise in the intensive management of type 1 diabetes mellitus, Dr. Kumagai is an internationally recognized educational scholar. After a career in bench research, Dr. Kumagai remarkably shifted his research interests from looking into the molecular mechanisms of diabetic complications to medical education. His current interests include use of narratives in medical education, transformative learning, faculty development, critical pedagogy, and multicultural education.

Dr. Kumagai’s excellence in integration of humanism in medical education is internationally recognized. He is the recipient of numerous teaching awards, including the AAMC/Pfizer Award for Humanism in Medical Education, the Leonard Towe Award for Humanism in Medicine, the Kaiser Permanente Award for Teaching Excellence, and the University of Michigan’s Provost Innovative Teaching Prize and the University of Michigan’s Distinguished Leaders in Diversity Award. He also currently serves on the Editorial Board of Academic Medicine.

Dr. Kumagai will be accompanied by his wife, Dr. Eleni Dimaraki, a general endocrinologist with an interest in pituitary disorders, and their very energetic six-year-old son, Apollo Akira, who is perfectly fluent at saying, “No!” in both English and Greek. Both Dr. Kumagai and Dr. Dimaraki will be based at Women’s College Hospital in the Division of Endocrinology.

Here’s a nice cartoon I dug out from an old copy of Spring journal: